The following resources provided useful information in my effort to research the history of Base Hospital 32 in Contrexeville. I encourage the reader to consult these sources, particularly the unit histories, which provide very interesting accounts of medical practices used in American military hospital in 1918 as well as some colorful information about the experiences of the AEF personnel in Contrexeville.
Hitz, Benjamin D. A history of Base Hospital 32 including Unit R. Indianapolis, 1922.
The hospital was organized in Indianapolis, Indiana and included many personnel from the city and other parts of Indiana. Its personnel was supplement by Unit R, organized in southeastern Iowa. This book is a very interesting account of the history and the activity of the unit, with rosters of officers, nurses, enlisted personnel and civilians who served. Descriptions of the medical cases served as well as the facilities used in Contrexeville. This book was written primarily for the members of the unit but is an excellent resource to consult for understanding the experience of the WWI medical service. Hard copies can be found in some libraries, but not all libraries are willing to let the book circulate outside their in-house collections. Because the book does not fall under U.S. copyright protection law (was published prior to the date when some restrictions apply), many entrepreneurs have reproduced the book and offer it for sale online. However, you can access a complete digital copy of the book online, at no cost, including the photos and the detailed map. Use this link to reach various online digital copies of the entire volume:
Kaletzki, Charles Hirsch. Official history USA Base Hospital No. 31 of Youngstown, Ohio: And Unit G of Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY, Craftsman Press, 1919.
As the title says, Base Hospital 31 included personnel from Youngstown, Ohio, and Syracuse New York (Unit G.) Like the unit history of Base Hospital 32, this volume provides detailed descriptions of the unit and its operations. It also includes a complete roster of personnel. The book provides a chronological account of the unit’s service as well as several chapters devoted to special topics, including one titled “Characters,” describing memorable persons among the Contrexeville citizens of 1918-1919. The book is available in libraries, for sale online (because it also does not fall under copyright protection) or can be accessed in a digital format at no cost by the New York Public Library. The link to the full-text digital version is provided on this page:
Report of the Surgeon General. War Department Annual Reports, 1919. Volume 1, Part 3. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1920.
Starting on p. 3471 and p. 3514 are sections relevant to the formation and operation of AEF base hospitals in Contrexeville and Vittel. This publication can be viewed online at this link:
Cecile, Marie and Chomel, Anslem. A Red Cross Chapter at Work. Hollenbeck Press, Indianapolis, 1920.
The American Red Cross was inextricably linked with the U.S. Army Medical Corps in WWI, and provided invaluable aid in funding and organizing hospitals. Many units which started as a Red Cross operation transitioned to Army administration. Nurses recruited by the Red Cross in many cases later became Army personnel and are sometimes referred to in the literature as a “Red Cross nurse.” The nurses who served in Contrexeville were Army nurses, but it is sometimes difficult to untangle this information in the newspaper accounts or other write-up. This account describes the work of an Indiana Red Cross Chapter and includes a full chapter on the “Lilly Base Hospital” (which became AEF Base Hospital 32 at Contrexeville.) The full 374-page volume can be accessed online at no cost at this link:
U.S. National Library of Medicine
(Search for "Base Hospital 32" or similar)
Youngstown State University’s Rose Melnick Medical Museum
Melnick Medical Museum blog about World War 1 medicine:
Letters, photos and memories of Agnes Swift, compiled by Sister Joan Bailey
Journal of Kathryn Olive Graber, Base Hospital 32 - Unit R nurse from Burlington, Iowa
Unpublished, Iowa State Historical Society, Iowa City.
Photos and personal items of Grace van Evera, Base Hospital 32 - Unit R nurse from Burlington, Iowa
Unpublished, Iowa State Historical Society, Iowa City, Iowa.
Postcard album of Simon Jeanjean – University of Limoges
Simon Jeanjean was a French soldier who served on the front from August 1914 to March 1919, and spent time in Contrexeville at a French military hospital after getting frozen feet and other injuries at Verdun. This online album presents digital images and transcriptions of messages sent to his family over his lifetime, including several images from scenes in or near Contrexeville. His words to his wife provide a poignant and personal account of his experience from soldier’s point of view. The site is presented and maintained by the University of Limoges and can be accessed at this link:
For an imperfect Google-translated version of the site contents to English, try this link:
Article about Maude Essig, nurse with Base Hospital 32
Wooley, Alma S. A Hoosier Nurse in France: The World War I Diary of Maude Frances Essig. Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 82, Issue 1, March 1986, pp. 37-68. Published by the Indiana University Department of History.
Link to full text article online at this link:
Journal of Maude Essig, nurse who served with Base Hospital 32
Illinois Wesleyan University Historical Collection – digital edition of the journal is available online at this link:
“Images of Indiana,” Traces of Indiana & Midwestern History. Summer 2012, Vol. 24 Issue 3, p. 56. Photo and brief sketch of Charlotte Cathcart. Viewable online at this link:
Cathcart, Charlotte. Indianapolis from Our Old Corner. Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, 1965.
This book contains the personal memoirs of Charlotte Cathcart, who served as a civilian with Base Hospital 32 in Contrexeville. She was a stenographer and provided clerical support for the military medical personnel, i.e., registering patients and maintaining records, as well as frequently writing letters for the patients. She began writing her memoirs late in life, including a description of her time in Contrexeville, but she died before the volume was completed (the chapter about Contrexeville is very brief.) The book was published by the Indiana Historical Society after her death in 1964. The book can be purchased online or found in libraries.
Unit R (Base Hospital 32 group from southeastern Iowa)
Carter, Merle Wright and Gabbert, Dean. “Unit R in WWI: Fairfield to France,” Palimpsest, Iowa State Historical Society, Sept-October 1986, Vol. 67, No. 5, pp. 142-161.
This article includes photos and several first-person accounts from the personnel of Unit R. I could not locate an online digital copy of this article but was able to purchase the complete issue of the Sept.-Oct. 1986 Palimpsest from a used-book seller. Contact the Iowa State Historical Society or your public library to inquire about obtaining a copy of the article.
Hotel-Club Cosmos and Spa (the same established which served as Hospital A of Base Hospital 32 nearly 100 years ago) http://www.hotelcontrexeville.com/en/
Contrexeville Tourist Office
Site officiel de la mairie de Contrexéville (official website of the Contrexeville City Hall)
Design and architecture of the Casino at Contrexeville (this article is in French but includes many interesting photos and illustrations):
Debout, Albert Emile. Thirty-five Years at Contrexéville. Health Resorts Bureau, London, 1903.
A description of the therapeutic benefits of the natural springs at Contrexeville.