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Suzanne Macpherson Papers

Identifier: D-Mss-0029

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Suzanne Macpherson Papers includes correspondence, photographs, periodicals, journals, notebooks, manuscripts, artifacts, books, and documentation regarding the Papers. Although the collection spans the years 1915-1970, the bulk of the material is from 1941-1945, during Macpherson's service in World War II in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. While serving as an American Red Cross Clubmobile girl during World War II, Macpherson kept the letters she received. In addition to correspondence, she also took photographs of the front, maintained journals and notebooks, and collected mementos specific to World War II, like newsletters and postal instructions. The collection includes letters sent by Macpherson to her family members, friends, soldiers, and fellow Clubmobile girls. Of the correspondents, the letters that Macpherson received during her time abroad is the most heavily represented, contained in 4 document boxes.

In addition to her wartime correspondence and documentation, the collection also contains Macpherson's post-war correspondence, certificates, travel mementos, manuscripts, and book collection. After the war, Macpherson pursued her interest in writing, apparent in her letters with Curtis Brown Ltd. and drafts of her poems, plays, and short stories. While she left the front in 1945, she remained tied to Europe by writing about her experience and through later travels to North Africa, Italy, and Greece, which is evident in her photographs and journals.

The collection also contains a research paper, "The Letters of Suzanne Macpherson" (1975), written by Scripps College student Melanie Rawn, who synthesized Macpherson's letters into a story. Documentation related to Macpherson's estate is also held in the collection.


  • 1915-1975 and undated

Language of Material

Languages represented in the collection: English.


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

Please contact Ella Strong Denison Library staff for all requests for permission to reproduce or to publish.

Biographical / Administrative History

Suzanne Rust Macpherson was born in 1917 or 1918 (there are conflicting birthdates) in Saginaw, Michigan, where she spent much of her adolescence. She graduated from Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, California in 1939, where she majored in English and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. After college, she sought work, and became involved in the World War II effort as an American Red Cross Clubmobile girl beginning in North Africa in February of 1943. Around October or November of 1943, she was transferred to Italy. After almost two years abroad, Macpherson was permitted to return to the United States for a brief stint in December of 1944, but she returned to Italy soon thereafter. In December 1945, Macpherson returned home to Saginaw. While abroad, Macpherson befriended fellow Clubmobile girl Lydia Sherwood, who she maintained relations with throughout her life.

Upon her return to the United States, Macpherson pursued her interest in writing by documenting her time during the war in poems, short stories, and plays that are held in the collection. She also returned to North Africa and Europe throughout her life, and to aid in archaeological excavations in Italy and Greece. Suzanne Rust Macpherson died at age 55 on August 17, 1973, in Washington D.C.

Of note, Ida Rust Macpherson, donor of the Ida Rust Macpherson Collection by and About Women and honorary Scripps College alumnae, was Suzanne's grandmother.


11.08 Linear Feet (12 document boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 half-size document box)


The Suzanne Macpherson Papers include correspondence, photographs, periodicals, journals, notebooks, manuscripts, and artifacts documenting Macpherson's experience as an American Red Cross Clubmobile girl during World War II from 1941-1945, and her subsequent travels and career as an author.

Organization and Arrangement

The Papers are organized into ten series:

1. Correspondence 2. Photographs 3. American Red Cross 4. Newspapers and Newsletters 5. Journals 6. Notebooks 7. Manuscripts 8. Artifacts 9. Books 10. Collection History

The first series, Correspondence (1927-1970), contains the bulk of the collection, and captures Suzanne Macpherson's World War II experience. The series is arranged into two sub-series: Suzanne Macpherson and Others. The Suzanne Macpherson sub-series is further organized to identify items sent to Suzanne Macpherson and those sent from her. The Other sub-series contains correspondence that does not involve Suzanne as a sender or receiver. The authors include her friend and fellow Clubmobile girl, Lydia Sherwood, her fater, Charles Rust Macpherson, and military and American Red Cross officials. Of note are the numerous v-mail, short for "Victory Mail," documents that arose during World War II as a secure method to correspond with soldiers and service workers abroad. Within each sub-series, the letters are organized alphabetically by last name of the sender and arranged chronologically by date.

The Photographs series (1943-1967), contains images of World War II, and of Suzanne's travels in Europe and North Africa after the war. The series is arranged by content, including images of European landscapes with and without subjects, photographs of soldiers, and clubmobile girls. The series also contains one photo album with photos from a trip to North Africa in January 1961. There is also a sub-series arranged into two files of dated and undated photos of Suzanne Macpherson.

The third series, American Red Cross (1941-1945), contains material regarding Suzanne Macpherson's World War II service, including her immunization records and general information about the American Red Cross organization, and pamphlets and artifacts Suzanne Macpherson collected as an American Red Cross Clubmobile Girl.

The Periodicals series (1915-1965) includes publications from G.I. Divisions, the American Red Cross, and established newsoutlets, like "The New York Times," that document World War II. Of note is the file, "Clippings," which contains newspaper clippings about Suzanne Macpherson and other donut girls. It is organized by publisher, with the bulk of the material in the military newspaper, "The Stars and Stripes: Mediterranean."

The fifth series contains the journals (1935-1944) Suzanne Macpherson kept throughout her life. Three journals capture her time traveling in Germany prior to the war in 1935 and her time with the American Red Cross. One journal is from 1943, and it documents her activities in North Africa, while the other spans 1942-1944 and contains entries concerning her day-to-day Clubmobile experience.

The sixth series, Notebooks (1936-1967), contain 14 notebooks that are organized into three chronological sub-series: 1940s, 1960s, and undated. The 1940s documents Suzanne Macpherson's day-to-day activities during her time at war, including what she did that day, names, and addresses of people she met. The notebooks from the 1960s contain similar information, but are from after the war. The series also includes fellow Clubmobile girl, Lydia Sherwood's notebook in the 1940s series, and notes of Suzanne Macpherson's about the Clubmobile Girl position prior to going abroad.

Manuscripts (1937-1971) are organized into four sub-series, arranged alphabetically: Education, Plays, Poems, and Short Stories. The Education sub-series is arranged chronologically, and contains documents that Suzanne Macpherson wrote about the state of education. On Education also includes students' graded papers. Plays written by Suzanne Macpherson are arranged alphabetically in three files, and one sub-series, Script, is organized chronologically. Poems written by Suzanne Macpherson are arranged chronologically, and there is also a sub-series of Non-Original Work. Short Stories are organized alphabetically with two files and one sub-series, arranged chronologically. Many of the short stories are written about the war experience.

The Artifacts series contain items in the collection that Suzanne Macpherson accumulated through her travels after World War II. It includes three spoons from Venice and Rome, and currency from Yugoslavia and other various countries, and illustrations and maps and itineraries from a trip to North Africa.

The ninth series consists of nine books that were gifted to or collected by Suzanne Macpherson. The books are arranged alphabetically by title.

Collection History includes information about Suzanne Macpherson, her estate, and an independent study written about the collection. It contains her diplomas from Pierce College and Stanford University, and a Yale Honor Award. Suzanne Macpherson's estate files contain documentation regarding the donation of her papers to Scripps College. There is also an independent study report written by Scripps College alumna Melanie Rawn about Macpherson's correspondence when Rawn was a student of the college in 1975.

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Macpherson Family.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

Processed by Helen Anderson, Spring 2022.

Suzanne Macpherson Papers
Helen Anderson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the 02 - Ella Strong Denison Library Repository

1030 Columbia Ave
Claremont 91711 United States US