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Guide to the Hilda Bell Roberts Papers ALBA.197

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Wendy Scheir

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 10, 2017
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Roberts, Hilda Bell
Title: Hilda Bell Roberts Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1937; 1952
Abstract: Hilda Bell Roberts was born Hilda Bell in Philadelphia in 1915. A trained nurse, Bell went to Spain in 1937 where she worked in several hospitals and a mobile unit. She returned to the States in December 1938. The collection consists of (a portion of?) a scrapbook compiled in a Murcia hospital and a short story based on an incident from her experience in Spain.
Quantity: 0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)
Call Phrase: ALBA.197

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Historical/Biographical Note

Hilda Bell Roberts was born Hilda Bell in Philadelphia in 1915, graduating from the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in 1937. She went to Spain in May of 1937 as a volunteer nurse with the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy, sailing on the S.S. Normandie. In Spain she worked as a staff nurse in the operating room at the Universidad Hospital and the Cruz Roja Hospital in Murcia before transferring to the Aragon front. There she traveled with the autochir, a mobile hospital that set up surgical units in a variety of temporary locations, including an unused railway tunnel, a nut factory, and a mansion. Bell was evacuated from Spain in December 1938 along with other International Brigade volunteers.

Bell served in World War II as a U.S. Army nurse in Australia and New Guinea. A nurse throughout her life, Bell also taught psychiatric nursing in San Francisco. She remained active in a range of social causes, including the anti-nuclear and ecology movements. She traveled to Nicaragua in 1986 with the Elders for Survival and participated in a weekly vigil to oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Bell returned to Spain with other International Brigades veterans in 1996.

Bell married in 1945, changing her name to Hilda Bell Kirk, and remarried in 1965, becoming Hilda Bell Roberts. She had one son by her first marriage, and two stepsons.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of two items:the short story, which Bell wrote for an English class in 1952, is a work of fiction based upon an incident that she witnessed in a Murcia hospital; the scrapbook, containing a child's drawing, handwritten tributes and pages of a printed brochure, was compiled in a Murcia hospital on a ward where Bell was floor nurse.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Roberts, Hilda Bell

Document Type

  • Short stories.
  • Scrapbooks.

Subject Organizations

  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Abraham Lincoln Battalion
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Brigada Internacional, XV
  • Spain. Ejército Popular de la República. Brigada Internacional, XV--Biography
  • Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy

Subject Topics

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939.

Subject Places

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Hospitals.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Participation, American.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Medical care.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Personal narratives.
  • Murcia (Spain)
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Women.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The Hilda Bell Roberts Papers were donated to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives by Hilda Roberts in 1989. This collection came to New York University in January 2001 as part of the original acquisition of ALBA collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University.

Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives for more information and to schedule an appointment, tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), were transferred to New York University in November 2000 by the ALBA Board of Governors. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. For more information, contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library. (ALBA #1)

Fredericka Martin Papers

Processing Information

Processing decisions made prior to 2017 have not been recorded.

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Container List

Series I: Spanish Civil War Materials

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 "Brightest Room" (photocopy of a typescript of a Spanish Civil War short story, headed "Hilda Bell Kirk, English 111, August 16, 1952)
1952
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Scrapbook: "Cada Activista un Heroes; Cada Soldado un Activista"
[1937]

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