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Dora Cline Fechtmann Papers

Identifier: 2022-100


  • Creation: 1937-1944

Biographical / Historical

Dora Cline was born in 1913 on a farm near Broadway, Virginia. She graduated from high school in 1933. Family illnesses in her large family and the influence of two nurses in her childhood inspired her to pursue a career in nursing. She took her nurses training at Rockingham County Memorial Hospital Nurses training in 1934 and worked for two and a half years as a neuro-psychiatric nurse at a Veterans Hospital and later as a public health nurse for the state of Virginia. She joined the Navy Nurse Corps in 1942, just as the United States “was plunged into the Second World War.” After seven weeks of military training at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Maryland, she was stationed at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland in 1942 and then immediately sent to the South Seas in the Pacific. She served briefly as a nurse at the U. S. Navy Mobile Hospital No. 4 in New Zealand and for a longer period of time at Base Hospital No. 4 in Efate, New Hebrides. The soldiers under her care came from battles in the Solomon Islands; it appeared from her correspondence that she also wrote letters of consolation to the families of those soldiers who died in her ward. She saw places such as New Caledonia, New Zealand, New Hebrides, and Fiji. She met and married her husband, Fred Fechtmann, in Auckland, New Zealand in 1944. She returned to the United States in May of 1944. After the war she continued to practice in Harrisonburg, Virginia as a public health, private duty nurse, and a physical therapist. She retired in 1977 and lived in Ocala, Florida until her death in 2006.


.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



(b. 1913) U.S. Navy nurse in World War Two; saw service in the Pacific theater. Four scrapbooks of her military experiences. Diary concerning her nursing education in the mid–1930s.


Box 1 contains two CDs; one contains pictures of Fechtmann as a young nurse in the South Seas, the other is photographs taken from an article by Eleanor Roosevelt in the Feb. 1944 issue of the Ladies Home Journal. The photographs include a picture of Fechtmann and Roosevelt at the bedside of a wounded soldier.

This box has four scrapbooks that have been dismantled but kept in their original order. There are a comprehensive amount of photographs depicting Fechtmann’s professional life as a nurse and social life among the nurses, medical staff and military while engaged in active military service. Well represented are the scenic photographs of villages and natives in the South Seas Islands. This box holds the autobiographical narrative that Fechtmann compiled about her life and experiences as a World War II nurse. Also of importance in this box is Fechtmann’s diary that details her experiences as a student nurse in training at Rockingham County Memorial Hospital.

(At the front of Box 1 is a summary sheet of documents held in an Oversized Box F4 which include an article from Feb. 1944 Ladies Home Journal which features a picture of Fechtmann and Eleanor Roosevelt at the bedside of a wounded soldier and diplomas from high school, nurses training and her Registered Nurse degree from the state of Virginia, 1937 which contains a handwritten note by Fechtmann about what this degree meant to her).

(At the front of Box 1 is a summary sheet of garments being stored at UVA Health Sciences Library in the Archives which include: a wool nurses cloak, a Nary Nurse Corps wool two piece uniform, a white nurses dress which has been altered to use as a civilian nurse, and many accessories such a nurses’ caps, a beret, a scarf, shoelaces and shoulder pads. These garments are being stored at UVA Health Sciences Library in the archives).

Papers of Dora Cline Fechtmann
Maureen Spokes
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry Repository

University of Virginia School of Nursing
P.O. Box 800782
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0782 United States