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About Elizabeth Vaughan

About the author: Elizabeth Head Vaughan (1905 – September 29, 1957) journalist and Sociologist; taught English and Sociology in the University of the Philippines, Manila. In 1938, married Milton James Vaughan whom she had met in Manila; they were assigned by her husband’s company, the Pacific Commercial Company, to Iloilo. In 1940, they moved to Bacolod. The outbreak of the war found her husband in Manila on business, where he joined the Quartermaster Corps served in Bataan, and perished in the P.O.W. Camp in Cabanatuan in July, 1942. She herself was interned in the Bacolod Internment Camp established on June 5, 1942 in Bacolod North Elementary School, in Bacolod City, Negros, which she later wrote about in a sociological study, Community Under Stress (1949). Thereafter, she was transferred to Santo Tomas internment camp in Manila and was there until Liberation in February, 1945. Repatriated to the U.S.A. with her children after the war, she obtained her PhD. in Sociology, and taught, until retiring in 1957 for medical reasons, passing away in that year.

About the diary: Published as The ordeal of Elizabeth Vaughan : a wartime diary of the Philippines edited by Carol M. Petillo. Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, [1985]. The editor, Carol M. Petillo, wrote,

The diary which follows began as an extended letter meant by Elizabeth Head Vaughan (EHV) to be shared with her husband when they were reunited at war’s end. It eventually became a record of her experiences to be saved for her children, as well as a safe receptacle for the strong emotions which she could not afford to vent elsewhere during the long months and years of her internment. As she herself suggested in one part of the diary, the idea of publication was always a possibility. Clearly, the diary served as an important source for her more scholarly sociological work Community Under Stress, published in 1949. In addition, however, internal evidence suggests that at some point she attempted a revision of the first entries—accounting for the obvious difference in style and tone of the first few pages, especially of the December 8 entry. Apparently giving up the idea, she stored the diary with her other personal papers where it remained for more than twenty years after her death in 1957. In the late 1970s her sister, Ernestine Jernigan, began a painstaking transcription of the diary, which in its original form resembled, in the words of one family member, little more than a “pile of rubbish.” From the disparate pieces (including some typed and pencil-edited pages, thirteen previously used blue examination books, several pieces of torn brown wrapping paper, and many scraps garnered from various notebooks), atypescript emerged which has been edited and published here.