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Elizabeth Richardson Papers

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Elizabeth Richardson Papers, 1918-2007 | Lawrence University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Elizabeth Richardson Papers, 1918-2007View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1936-1945

ID: MDC-MS/063

Primary Creator: Richardson, Elizabeth (1918-1945)

Extent: 1.9 Linear Feet. More info below.

Subjects: Milwaukee-Downer College -- Alumnae, Women college students, World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- Red Cross

Forms of Material: cartoons (humorous images), correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, sketchbooks

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of the papers of Elizabeth Richardson, Milwaukee-Downer College graduate of 1940, dating from 1918 to 2007. The collection documents her childhood, years in college and afterward in Milwaukee, service in England and France with the American Red Cross, and memorialization following her death in 1945. Materials include primarily correspondence, journals, photographs, scrapbooks, sketch books, and artifacts.

Collection Historical Note

Elizabeth Ann 'Liz' Richardson graduated from Milwaukee-Downer College in 1940. In July 1945, at the age of 27, Liz was killed in an airplane crash while on a Red Cross flight to Paris. The Piper Cub went down in heavy fog near Rouen, France. She had enlisted in the Red Cross in May 1944, served in the Clubmobile Unit both in England and France, and was due to be transferred to Germany when she lost her life. She was originally buried in a military cemetery, St. Andre del Euve, near Evreux, France. In 1948, the United States moved her remains and others to the American Cemetery at Normandy.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Liz grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana. She entered Milwaukee-Downer College in the autumn of 1936, majoring in art and English. Active in crew and field hockey, she also wrote for the quarterly Kodak, was business manager for Cumtux, the college annual, and was involved in hall government. During her freshman year, Liz created Beulah, a Downer co-ed in cartoon form who adorned activity announcements and satirized life at the College. Beulah wore a cardigan, skirt, and saddle shoes - the "uniform" of all Downer women during those years, had a boyfriend - George, and through her antics had much to say about Downer's students and faculty.

Liz was both a visual and creative artist. She won the Joseph E. Davies prize for the best work by a student enrolled in a Wisconsin art school at the 1939 Wisconsin Salon of Art, in Madison. She also spent countless hours writing short stories and poems, some of which were published in 1950 in Undergraduate Verse, a Milwaukee-Downer bulletin. Upon her death, fellow students and family members established the Elizabeth Richardson Prize, given to a woman student excelling in studio art.

After college graduation, Liz worked for the Boston Store and Gimbels in Milwaukee, ultimately landing a position in the advertising department at Schuster's Department Store. Her advertising career ended the day she entered Red Cross service.

Subject/Index Terms

Milwaukee-Downer College -- Alumnae
Women college students
World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- Red Cross

Administrative Information

Repository: Lawrence University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 6 boxes

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Materials created by Elizabeth Richardson are in the public domain. For permissions to reproduce or to publish other materials in this collection, please contact the University Archivist.

Acquisition Method: Accession 2008-06 (including scrapbooks, sketchbooks, paper dolls, jacket patches) donated to the Archives by Charles Richardson, 2008-05-27. Accession 2015-03 (including correspondence, additional sketches, Red Cross papers, photographs, and other materials) donated to the Archives by the Charles Richardson Trust in 2014-2015.

Related Materials: A body of artwork by Elizabeth Richardson is held by the Wriston Art Center Galleries.

Related Publications: Many of the letters from Elizabeth to her parents were transcribed and published in James Madison's Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007).

Preferred Citation: Elizabeth Richardson Papers. MDC-MS-063. Lawrence University Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Processing Information: Processed by Erin Dix, 2015.


Box and Folder Listing


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Box 6
Folder 1: Scrapbook, 1936-1938
Folder 2: Scrapbook, 1939-1940
Folder 3: Sketches from Schuster's advertising, 1942-1944
Item 1: Length of black cloth, undated

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