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Marie Bernadette Groves First World War correspondence

 Collection — Box: WWI 15, Folder: 1-14, Folder: 1-14
Identifier: 2017-383-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence, ephemera, newsletters, and photographs. The correspondence is mostly comprised of letters that soldiers sent to Marie Bernadette Groves, an army nurse at American Base Hospital No. 11 in Nantes, France. The correspondence includes a few letters to and from Pvt. Kenneth F. Troutman of the 110th Infantry (10th PA), a former patient who Groves married in 1920. A letter sent to Troutman from Becky Steward asks, "does Miss Groves still love you?" A few correspondents refer to Groves by her childhood nickname, "Bobby."

The correspondence also includes a discharge notice for Groves and letters from Congressmen John W. Rainey of Illinois and and L.W. Douglas of Arizona regarding medical treatment for Groves and Troutman's postwar health problems. There is also a 1918 letter sent to Groves in response to her effort to locate her brother, Private Charles J. Groves (1895 - 1918) of the 364th Infantry, who was mortally wounded during the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

Ephemera includes a handwritten menu and printed invitation to a dance organized by hospital nurses; blank postcards of France (Reim, Cap d'Antibes, and Nantes-Doulon) and Denning, New Mexico; dried flowers from Nantes; and handwritten poetry, some of which appears to have been composed and delivered by soldiers.

There is also Kenneth Troutman's application for membership in the Engineer Club of Cincinnati and a 1919 invitation to the Presentation of Colors by the 311th Engineers at Camp Grant in Illinois, where Groves's unit was demobilized.

Newsletters in this collection are comprised of 1929 and 1930 editions of Eleven News, a publication for nurses who served at Base Hospital No. 11; and isues 2-4 of The Buzzard, a newsletter for British Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Corps pilots stationed at Falcon Field in Arizona. Marie Bernadette (Groves) and Kenneth Troutman were active in the American Legion and hosted dinners for the pilots.

A highlight of the collection are 94 photographs. The photos are of soldiers who were treated at Hospital No. 11 in Nantes, Groves and her co-workers, and scenes from France. The latter include a portrait of three Senegalese soldiers in uniform and one of a group of French orphans. Some soldiers sent photos to Groves after they had recovered with messages written on the verso. Other portraits were taken at the hospital and depict soldiers with visible injuries.

There are also photographs of a captured German submarine being hauled into port and of a small iceberg observed from aboard the Matagama, the ship that transported Groves across the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, there is a photo of the grave of Pvt. Charles J. Groves. "Charley" J. Groves is buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery. Lastly, there is a class photo from 1942 of the 4th Co., 1st Reg., WAC Training Center in Des Moines, IO. Mary Ellen Troutman (1923 - 1987), daughter of Marie Bernadette and Kenneth, joined the Women's Army Corps that year.


  • 1917 - 1942

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Marie Bernadette Groves (1895 - 1987) was born Mary Amanda Groves in Callahan, Colorado. Her parents divorced when she was young. She lived with various relatives thereafter, and eventually attended a convent boarding school in Nebraska near where her father, Augustus Pizarro Groves, lived. She was renamed Marie Bernadette at the convent. Groves attended nursing school in Chicago before joining the Army Nursing Corps during World War I. She was stationed at Base Hospital No. 11 in Nantes, France. One of her patients was Private Kenneth Foster Troutman (1894 - 1968) of the 110th Infantry (10th PA), who she married in 1920. The couple had two children, Kenneth Jr. (1920 - 2006) and Mary Ellen Troutman (1923 - 1987). They lived in Chicago, Cinncinnati, and Pittsburgh before moving to New Mexico so Marie Bernadette could be treated for tuberculosis at Ft. Bayard. The family eventually settled in Phoenix, AZ.


.66 Linear Feet (14 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence to and from Marie Bernadette Groves, an army nurse stationed in France during the First World War. It also contains ephemera, newsletters, and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Rebecca E. Wardlaw on behalf of the family of Marie Bernadette Groves Troutman and Kenneth Foster Troutman

Finding Aid for the Marie Bernadette Groves First World War correspondence
Wendy Gonaver
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States