Nora Waln Research Papers, 1933-1990

(1 box; 0.25 linear ft.)

RG 5/169


©Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399  

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
The research papers of Olga B. Skeehan, compiled in the 1970s to aid Ann Waln Ody in writing a biographical memoir of her sister, the Quaker writer Nora Waln. Ann Waln Ody died before she could write the memoir, and Olga B. Skeehan donated her research papers to Friends Historical Library in 1989. Collection contains correspondence, notes, and some printed material relating to the lives of Nora Waln and her husband, George Edward Osland-Hill, whom she referred to as "Ted". Includes a bibliography of Nora Waln's writings. Nora Waln (1895-1964) was in the class of 1919 at Swarthmore College, but left before graduating to pursue relief work during World War I. In 1920 she sailed for China to visit the Lin family in Hopei Province and ended up living there for twelve years. While in China she met and married George Edward Osland-Hill. She and her husband lived in Germany from 1934-1938. Later, she traveled widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas, contributing articles to the Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines.

Background note:
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL
1895-1920 Nora Waln was born June 4, 1895, and died September 27, 1964, aged 70. She was born in Grampian Hills, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, daughter of Thomas Lincoln and Lillian (Quest) Waln, and granddaughter of Elijah and Ann Waln. She was a descendant of Nicholas Waln, who came to Pennsylvania on the ship Lamb in 1682, on the Settle certificate, from Yorkshire, England. Nora Waln was in the class of 1919 at Swarthmore College, but left before graduating to pursue relief work during World War I.
1920-1932 In 1920 she sailed for China to visit the Lin family in Hopei Province and ended up living there for twelve years. While in China she met and married George Edward Osland-Hill, an officer in the English Foreign Service, whom she called "Ted." Ted had one daughter by his first wife, Marie Osland-Hill Wade, Class of 1940 at Swarthmore College. Nora wrote House of Exile about her years in China.
1934-1939 She and her husband lived in Germany from 1934-1938 after he had retired from the Foreign Service and wanted to study music. Her book Reaching for the Stars was published in 1939 and dedicated to Charles F. Jenkins. In this book she expressed great faith in the German people and predicted that such an educated people would not permit the National Socialism of Hitler to last. By the time World War II was over she was not so sure, because so many of the people who had been against the Nazis were no longer living.
1940s-1950s She traveled widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas, contributing articles to the Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines. She was one of the few correspondents and journalists who reported from Communist China and Mongolia. From 1947-1951 she was Tokyo correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post and later was correspondent for Atlantic Monthly in Germany and Scandinavia. She was a freelance writer from 1951 on. Other books she wrote were The Street of Precious Pearls and Surrender the Heart.
1940-1964 In 1940 Swarthmore College conferred on Nora Waln the honorary degree of Master of Arts, which was accepted in absentia by her step-daughter, a member of the graduating class, as her representative. After the war she made a lecture tour of 90 speeches around the United States, including one at the College. All of the proceeds were to go to the war relief organizations. Her husband died in 1958, and for the last three years of her life, she lived near Malaga, in southern Spain. She had brothers Robert and James, and sisters Emma, Mabel Waln Smith, and Ann Waln Ody.
Scope and content
SCOPE AND CONTENT This collection consists of the accumulated correspondence and notes compiled by Olga B. Skeehan about Nora Waln (1895-1964), a Quaker writer. Nora Waln's sister, Ann Waln Ody, was gathering material for a biographical memoir of her sister and asked Olga B. Skeehan for assistance. Olga B. Skeehan did research and made notes of her personal recollections of Nora Waln, whom she first met in Vienna in the 1930s.


Added entries

Subjects
  • Quaker women
  • Quakers -- Fiction
Credits
Processed by: RKO
Date: 1995
Restrictions: Use Restrictions Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.


Inventory

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE RECORDS
Notes
Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below:

Ser. 1. Correspondence, 1937-1990
Letters from Olga B. Skeehan are carbon copies.


Nora Waln to Olga Skeehan 1937-63 & n.d. (7 ALsS, 1 TLS) Box 1

Olga Skeehan to Nora Waln 1963 (TL) Box 1

Nora Waln to Charles F. Jenkins
Original in PG7, Waln, Nora.
1933 (TL) Box 1: 2

Olga Skeehan to and from Marie Osland-Hill Wade, Nora Waln's stepdaughter 1964-71 (1 ALS, 4 TLs) Box 1: 3

Olga Skeehan to and from Ann Jenkins Lennox, Nora Waln's goddaughter, 1964-90 (3 ASLsS, 3 TLs) Box 1: 3

Olga Skeehan to and from Alice Waln (Mrs. Robert Waln), Nora Waln's sister-in-law, 1964-79 (6 ALsS, 4 TLs) Box 1: 3

Olga Skeehan to and from people unrelated to Nora Waln who knew her 1966-74 (7 ALsS, 4 TLsS, 12 TLs) Box 1: 4

Olga Skeehan to and from Friends Historical Library concerning the donation of this collection 1989-90 (1 ALS, 2 TLsS, 3 TLs) Box 1: 5

Ser. 2 Notes of Olga B. Skeehan
These are the categories established by Olga B. Skeehan.


Genealogical notes and addresses Box 1: 6

Nora Waln Box 1: 7

George Edward Osland-Hill Box 1: 8

China and Chinese History Box 1: 9

Larson, Duke of Mongolia, thought to be Nora Waln's first literary pursuit Box 1: 10

Bibliography of Nora Waln's writings Box 1: 11