Papers (1942-1963) including correspondence, orders, service file, pamphlets, a poster, 2 sets of song sheets.
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.
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.
Gift of Capt. Enders P. Huey
Processed by M. Boccaccio, May 1987
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.