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Compiled Research on Nora Waln

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-169

Scope and Contents

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.

Dates

  • 1933-1990

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-RUU/1.0/.

Biographical / Historical

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. 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.

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.

Nora Waln 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."

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 Swarthmore 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. Her brothers were Robert and James Waln, and sisters Emma Waln, Mabel Waln Smith, and Ann Waln Ody.

Extent

0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language

English

Overview

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.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession information

Donor: Olga B. Skeehan, 1989

The papers were compiled by Olga B. Skeehan 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, with the hope that someone else would write a biography of Nora Waln. The material has been retained in its entirety, except for some duplicate photocopies, and the general organization is that of Olga B. Skeehan.

Processing Information

The material has been retained in its entirety, except for some duplicate photocopies, and the general organization is that of Olga B. Skeehan.

Creator

Title
Nora Waln Research Papers, 1933-1990
Author
RKO
Date
1995
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

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