Although my WordPress blog is called “Mademoiselle Miss Continued” it may be helpful to readers to explain why this title was chosen. Below is an extract from a book that was published in 1916 in America.
Letters from an American Girl Serving with the Rank of Lieutenant in a French Army Hospital at the Front
“MADEMOISELLE MISS,” as her soldiers call her, is the daughter of an ex-Medical Director of the United States Navy. At the outbreak of the war she was in France. Accepted as a helper in a small French hospital on the Riviera, she later served in an English hospital at Mentone. There she heard that an examination was to be held for a nurse’s diploma in the French Red Cross. She studied day and night, faced nine doctors in an oral examination of two and a half hours, and passed with credit. Her diploma was signed by the Minister of War; she was sent to the front as a member of the regular military organization. She serves, with the rank of lieutenant, at a French army hospital near the trenches of the Marne.
These letters, written in the heat of action, “for one and for one only,” have met with a warm response among many sympathetic hearers. Their publication now, without the knowledge of the writer, is justified only in the hope that they may reach a wider circle, and bring help to heroic France.
“Mademoiselle Miss” was published in 1916 as it states without the authors permission for the benefit of the American Fund for the French Wounded.
The letters she wrote from 1915 to 1916 in the book are available to read on the following link:
The front cover reviews of ‘Mademoiselle Miss’ published in 1916.
“Mademoiselle Miss continued
This site will publish more of her letters that were written from 1916 -1918 which have been discovered recently.
I hope her voice will be heard nearly 100 years after she recorded her experiences during the First World War. Her letters reflect her selfless desire to help the sick and wounded soldiers in France. I am grateful for the kind permission of her family to share these letters with a wider audience.
As noted above ‘Mademoiselle Miss’ was written anonymously however I want to share with the readers the identity of the women in this story.
Kate Norman Derr was born in New Brunswick, NJ, March 12, 1886. She was the daughter of Ezra Z. Derr, captain in the US Navy, and Julia Latham. Captain Derr was Medical Director of the Boston and Portsmouth Navy Yards, among other posts. She went to college at Bryn Mawr but left before graduation to follow painting courses at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where she became a proficient artist. With her aunt, Kate Crawford Latham she then went to Europe. ca,1910-1, to continue her studies, and either remained while Ms Latham returned to the US or went with her and came back alone.
She studied in Paris, Germany, Austria, Switzerland (spending a whole month at the St. Bernard). She eventually settled in Rome, had a studio via Margutta and studied with a number of well known painters, Mancini among them.
She was superbly read, wrote with beautiful ease and elegant style, spoke and wrote French, German, Italian, and Spanish fluently, was at home in the history of art, knew music, and played piano.
Although she was christened Kate Norman Derr she preferred to be called Norman Derr, the name she used throughout her adult life.
This is a photo of her wearing her French nurses uniform.