Martha E. Donaldson Papers

Manuscript Collection #517
Donaldson, Martha Evelyn, 1900-
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, 276 items , consisting of correspondence, orders, service file, and miscellaneous material.
Preferred Citation
Martha E. Donaldson Papers (#517), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1942-1963) including correspondence, orders, service file, pamphlets, a poster, 2 sets of song sheets.

Biographical/historical information

Martha Evelyn Donaldson (b. 1900) was born and raised in Lima, Ohio and Jackson, Michigan. Her father, David Howie Donaldson, a naturalized immigrant from Scotland, served in the U. S. Army. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Martha attended Oberlin College in 1915-1917 and earned a degree in Kindergarten Training. She attended Columbia University from 1924-1927 and earned B.S. in 1926 and an M.A. in 1927. She later returned to Columbia, during 1946-1950 but did not earn a degree.

Prior to attending Columbia, Ms. Donaldson worked as a children's librarian and reference librarian through 1922. From 1922-1924, she taught English and History at St. Mary's School for Girls, in Peekskill, New York. After earning he degrees from Columbia, taught English and History at Miss Hewitt's Classes, in New York City, 1929-1930. She taught English at Todhunter School, in New York City from 1930-1935. During 1940 - July of 1942 she was also a Red Cross Volunteer Motor Corps driver. Meanwhile, she also was an English tutor and study supervisor at The Spence School, 1926-1942, when she left to join the Navy. During her vacations, she traveled extensively in Europe, including Italy, Holland, England, & Scotland. She never married.

Eager to assist the war effort during World War II, Donaldson enlisted in the Navy's newly created WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) on August 22, 1942 just prior to her 42nd birthday. She received a commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U. S. Naval Reserve. She trained with the first group of twenty-seven WAVES at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. During the war, Donaldson served on active duty with Naval Training School (NTS) at Indiana University from October 1942 to January 1943. The Navy transferred Donaldson to Glynco, Georgia, where she was Assistant Supply Officer, Assistant Ships Service Officer, and established a 3,000-volume library. From July 1943 through June 1945, Donaldson served at Headquarters, Third Naval District, in New York, NY where she was an assistant to the Commander for Operations and later worked in the Office of the Port Director. After World War II, the Navy released Donaldson from active duty with honor and she went on inactive duty status in January 1946.

From 1946 until 1962 Donaldson attended courses, worked to establish training programs for Inactive Volunteer Reservists, was commanding officer of a Volunteer Composite Unit 3-1(W), and from 1954 on was attached to various Mobilization Drill Teams, mainly in the Third Naval District. She earned promotion to first lieutenant in 1943, lieutenant commander in 1948, and commander in 1955.

In her later years Captain Enders P. Huey (USN ret.) became her guardian. After his death, his widow donated her papers to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection.

Scope and arrangement

The bulk of the collection consists of Donaldson's service file that documents Donaldson's naval reserve career. The collection also contains a biographical file, and correspondence with Virginia C. Gildersleeve, the author of an historical pamphlet entitled "The 'WAVES' of the Navy: How They Began" (1958). The pamphlet is located in a miscellaneous file. There is also a World War II poster, 'Quiet, Loose talk can cost lives;' two sets of song sheets, including U.S. Navy songs and parodies of WAAC (Women's Auxiliary Army Corps) songs; and several clippings related to retirement pay.

Administrative information
Custodial History

October 8, 1986, 198 items; Papers (1942-1962) of U.S. WAVE officer, including personnel files, orders, reports, correspondence, and miscellaneous material. Gift of Capt. Enders P. Huey, Orlando, Florida

Source of acquisition

Gift of Capt. Enders P. Huey

Processing information

Processed by M. Boccaccio, May 1987

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Donaldson, Martha E., 1900-
Gildersleeve, Virginia Crocheron, 1877-1965
Corporate Names
United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve
United States. Navy--Officers
World War, 1939-1945--Women

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Service files (1942-1948) as U. S. Naval Reserve Lieutenant (j.g. ) - First Lieutenant, including letters, orders, transfers, promotions, fitness reports, leave, release from active duty, affidavits, memoranda, personnel officer's routine - 1945, instructions, & notice of separation for the U. S. Naval Service, etc. received from Bureau of Naval Personnel; Headquarters, Seventh Naval District, Miami, Florida; U. S. Naval Training School, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts; Headquarters, Third Naval District, New York, NY; U. S. Naval Training School (Yeomen & Storekeeper), Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Headquarters, Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, Illinois; Headquarters, Sixth Naval District, Charleston, South Carolina; Headquarters of the Commander Inshore Patrol, Third Naval District, New York, NY; U. S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, NY; Submarine Chaser Training Center, Miami, Florida. 85 items. 92 p
Box 1 Folder b Service files (1950-1953) as U. S. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander - Commander, including letters, orders, questionnaires, requests for training, transfers, promotions, record of duties performed, drill attendance certificates, fitness reports, leave, release from active duty, affidavits, memoranda, Naval Reserve Inactive duty training orders (non-pay units), applications for training duty, mobilization affidavit, modification of promotion orders, received from , U. S. Naval Correspondence Course Center, Brooklyn, NY; Headquarters of the Commandant, Third Naval District, New York, NY; Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Intelligence, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California; U. S. Naval Reserve Officer Performance Recording Activity, Naval Personnel Center, Omaha, Nebraska, 70 items. 74 p
Box 1 Folder c Service files (1945-1963) as U. S. Naval Reserve Commander, including applications for training duty, waivers, retention in pay status requests, orders, instructions, temporary additional duty requests, security clearances, agreement to remain in the ready reserve, transfers, status of "Q" division information, inactive duty orders, certificates, received from , U. S. Naval Correspondence Course Center, Brooklyn, NY; Headquarters of the Commandant, Third Naval District, New York, NY; Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Intelligence, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California; Commandant, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, California; Naval Reserve Mobilization Team Division 3-7Q, New York, NY. 82 items. 86 p
Box 1 Folder d Virginia C. Gildersleeve, Navarre, Bedford Village, New York correspondence (1956) pertaining to an unofficial pamphlet on the WAVES. 4 items. 4 p
Box 1 Folder e Biographical information (1942-1963) 24 items. 29 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 1 The "Waves" of the Navy: How They Began, Reprinted from Many A Good Crusade, by Virginia C. Gildersleeve, Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Women's Reserve United States Navy, World War II. Foreword by Margaret Chase Smith, United State Senator from Maine. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1956; Typed letter of transmittal from Ms. Gildersleeve dated 11/1/1956, is pasted on the inside of the front cover. Pamphlet. 2 items. 17 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 2 Clippings & Notes (1952-1961, undated) on Naval Reserve Pay Rates & awards. 5 items. 7 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 3 WAAC Parodies From the Des Moines Song Sheet (ca. 1942-1944) Reproduced by: Second Service Command, Special Service Branch, 52 Broadway, New York, NY. Mimeograph. Lyrics. 1 item. 4 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 4 Song Sheet [of U S. Navy songs] (ca. 1942-1944) Mimeograph. 1 item. 2 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 5 Quiet! Loose Talk Can Cost Lives. Clipping of reproduction of poster by Holcomb (© 1942) Color. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder f Item 6 Save The Juice! Save the Juice! Turn Out Lights When Not In Use! / Lighting in this space is the direct responsibility of: __________________ / ALL OTHERS ARE EXPECTED TO ASSIST. [ca. 1942-1945) Advertising card. 1 item. 1 p
Box 1 Folder g Photograph (ca. 1942) Negative. 1 item. 1 p