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Mary Josephs Fowler collection

Identifier: MS 2794


This collection contains the writings and correspondence of Mary Josephs Fowler, a field nurse during World War I, and a prolific writer.


  • 1910-1954


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Sketch

Mary Josephs Fowler was born in New Orleans in 1883, the eldest child in a family of five. Her brothers included Devereux Josephs, a president of The Johns Hopkins Board of Trustees. Her youngest brother, Hugh, was a doctor who trained and then taught at The Johns Hopkins Medical School.. The Josephs family moved to Baltimore before the turn of the century, amd summered near Newport, Rhode Island. Mary Josephs went to the Bryn Mawr School, graduating in 1902. She made her debut in 1903 at the age of 19.

In 1917, she joined the American Red Cross, and was sent to France to serve as a canteen worker. She was soon promoted to assistant nurse, and worked at a field hospital near the front line at Soissons.

In 1926, Josephs married noted Baltimore architect Laurence Hall Fowler. He was in his early fifties, and she about 40 at the time of their marriage. They moved into a house at 10 West Highfield Road, in the Tuscany-Canterbury area of the city, in 1928. Her husband died in June, 1971. Mary Fowler moved to an apartment at 100 West University Parkway, where she lived until her death on January 1, 1981. The Fowlers had no children.


1.04 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into two series: Writings and Correspondence, the latter of which is arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Faith M. Holland, November 1988.

Related Materials

PP66, Mary Josephs Fowler photograph collection, 1870-1915

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into two series: writings and correspondence. The bulk of the material is draft copies of unpublished plays, short stories and poetry penned by Mary Josephs prior to her marriage to Lawrence Hall Fowler. Included in the writings are drafts of the diary she kept about her experiences during World War I as a nurse. It is not clear if it was written at the time, or composed later from her letters home to her parents.

The correspondence covers 1917-1920, and focuses largely on Fowler's war experiences. As she noted in her diary in 1939, she had a sense that "I was seeing things experienced by only a few people, and must record them for posterity." Used in conjunction with her war diary, the letters vividly depict the hardships faced not only by medical workers, but the men in the trenches as well.

Guide to the Mary Josephs Fowler collection
Under Revision
Margaret N. Burri
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-18: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States