Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 16

Day 16
Westray Battle Boyce
As I noted, Westray Battle Boyce is important for several reasons over to this project. She was an alumnae from the school (the Project was originally devoted to alumnae of Woman's College veterans), she is from North Carolina, and she achieved several notable firsts during her military career as well as becoming head of the Women's Army Corps after World War Two. This meant that it was possible that she was referenced in other collections such as already digitized copies of the Alumnae News.

Going through University of North Carolina Greensboro's digital collections I found several references. Her slightly odd name helped in this regard. I automatically ruled out publications that were related to the escaped slaves notices project and older publications. A few of the references referred to a Doctor Westray Battle of North Carolina from around the turn of the 20th century. Westray was the surname of one of the families that married into the prominent North Carolina Battle family and it became a recurring first name for the family. One of the biographies sent out to newspapers and the school for their own article mentioned that she was named after this well-respected doctor, but it appears that is not necessarily the case. Indeed, some of the other Westray results were of NC families with it as a last name. Almost half the results were duplicates of what we already had such as the Alumnae News clippings. One notable return was the transcript of another veteran's oral history who trained with Westray at Officer's Candidacy School for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. I printed copies of these materials, made a list of all of the links and described what was found at each. These will go into a separate file.

We set aside several photos of her in uniform to send to the digital laboratory. I then set out to further identify them in order to provide meta data. In my research I discovered two other collections devoted to her outside of UNCG. One is at the NC History Museum in Raleigh. Another is part of the Truman Library. A new question raised itself, of the ones that we selected, all but one have already been digitized as part of other collections. Several of them we decided to digitize anyway. One photo because it was a good portrait of her to use on the landing page, another was historically important as it showed her receiving the Legion of Merit award (she is the first woman to have received it), another showed her with another woman who was also an alumnae of Woman's College, she worked with her in Africa as part of Eisenhower's staff. The one photograph not already scanned is from the time that Westray came to the school to give a speech at an alumnae dinner. It was reproduced in the Alumnae News but had been cropped in to cut out a woman on one side. It also included Dean Walter Clinton Jackson, for whom UNCG's Jackson Library is named.

I still find it interesting in that in this job I am rewarded by actually paying attention to details and getting a general feel of what the pages of letters are about and for doing further research beyond what is in the collection itself. The significance of the name of the woman in the photo with her in Africa would not have occurred if I had not recognized the name from an article in the Alumnae News that mentioned she was working with Boyce. I would not have recognized her by face alone. Without that extra tidbit, we probably would have passed on digitizing it ourselves as it was already digitized by the Truman Library.

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