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About Anne Louise Goldthorpe

About the author: Anne Louise Goldthorpe, Canadian nurse. A profile on the author and her diary can be found in  The Washington Post, March 20, 1983:

Goldthorpe was born in Brockville, Ontario, where she finished her nursing training in 1919. She worked at hospitals and clinics in New York and Virginia before settling in Atlanta in the late 1920s. In 1931 Goldthorpe was given an opportunity to work in the Philippines under the aegis of the American Episcopal Church.

For 10 years she worked in hospitals throughout the Philippines and helped set up rural clinics.

The Living Church Annual (the Year Book of the Episcopal Church) for 1934 and the Living Church Annual (the Year Book of the Episcopal Church) for 1938 lists the author as a nurse in St. Luke’s Hospital, Manila. A list of Santo Tomas internees lists her as “British Canadian.”

An item in The Living Church, Vol. CIV No. 8 (February 25, 1942) mentions the author: “Others of the Zamboanga staff are Louise Goldthorpe, superintendent of nurses at Brent Hospital.” An update about a 1943 message received in 1944, can be found in The Living Church Vol. CX No. 6 (February 6, 1945): “From Santo Tomas camp, Manila (now in American hands) come messages from… Louise Goldthorpe… a nurse, writes, ‘I am enjoying my work in the camp hygeine department. Received lovely Red Cross boxes for Christmas’ (1943).” The Living Church Vol. CX No. 10 (March 11, 1945) lists her among those released from internment.

The blogger “Tony Edger” added this about Goldthorpe in an April 16, 2013 blog entry:

Goldthorpe made it back to the U.S. by freighter, arriving in Los Angeles on May 2, 1945 (the date of the last entry in her diary).  She returned to nursing in Washington, D.C., serving for many years as resident nurse at the St. Albans School and as a nurse in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

The Washington Post article noted that,

While in the camp she promised herself that she would devote an entire year to do whatever she wanted, if she were ever released. When she got out she took a course in oil painting at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and today her apartment is filled with her handsome reproductions of paintings by Rembrandt and Pissaro, as well as original still-lifes of flowers and landscape scenes of Rock Creek Park.

Which led the blogger to share the following:

Anne Goldthorpe was a close friend of my wife’s aunt and that’s how I came to meet her.  I enjoyed this delightful, gentle woman who lived alone in a dark apartment in Washington, D.C., and who was often visited by a stray tomcat which she fed.  Perhaps the most memorable aspect of her apartment were the many beautiful oil paintings and watercolors she’d painted that lined the walls, and, as I remember, were stacked on the floor against the walls.

I loved her artwork, but it isn’t until now, prompted by Mildred Dalton Manning’s obituary, that I have taken time to consider what they might have meant to the painter, how they might have helped her to cope with some of the consequences of that wartime imprisonment in the many years that followed.  Recently my wife’s aunt died and we inherited some of Anne Goldthorpe’s paintings that she’d owned.  The typewritten inventory of these art works described the paintings as part of Goldthorpe’s “rehabilitation.”  That makes so much sense to me.  Indeed, as I reflect on it, I realize it’s quite possibly the same subject I’ve written about before – finding relief from personal tragedy and trauma by total immersion in an activity that seems to take one out of time and self, into a phenomenon that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has called flow.

Goldthorpe had no minor fling with painting; this was, as her artistic output testifies, a full romance.  She spent days at the National Gallery of Art, creating wonderful copies of works by many of the masters.  And original works flowed from her brushes as well.

As I write this post, one of her oil paintings graces the wall behind me.  Her copy of J.M.W. Turner’s Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight (1835) captures (as my photograph below does not) the original’s brilliant juxtaposition of light and dark that draws in the viewer as if into tunnel.

I can only speculate that the person who painted this gained flow, and any lasting weight of the nightmare of her time imprisoned in the Philippines was diminished, if not lifted, for at least the hours it took to complete it….

Unfortunately, I don’t find any evidence that the several hundred page diary that Goldthorpe kept through her captivity has ever been published.  She did type it up and share portions with family and friends…

[Later edit:  A bit of a mystery.  I only knew her as Anne Goldthorpe.  My wife’s aunt, who also called her Anne, wrote that she was known as Louise or Aunt Lou to family.  According to Neil Henry’s 1983 Post article and the Episcopal Church’s Blue Book entry cited above, her full name was Anne Louise Goldthorpe.  The watercolors I’ve shown above are signed “LAG”.  Why?]

About the diary: Scan of a typescript, printed on stationery bearing the name, “Louise Goldthorpe.” The typescript is headed “The last December and Christmas in Internment Camp (from my diary).” The entries are from December 1, 1944 to February 3, 1945 inclusive. This suggests this document was one of the diary installments that the author prepared. The Philippine Diary Project is grateful to author James Scott for a copy.

In addition, there are excerpts of her entries from 1942-1944 quoted in the Washington Post article on the author; these have also been included in The Philippine Diary Project: June 21, 1942; August 20, 1942; August 15, 1944;

The original typescript is held by the library and archives of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church,

The Washington Post reported that,

For most of the last four decades the ragged piles of paper scraps that make up the extraordinary day-by-day journal of her three-year imprisonment were hidden away in Goldthorpe’s apartment, where she settled after the U.S. Army liberated Manila in 1945.

But then Goldthorpe–who retired from nursing 20 years ago after working for St. Albans School and St. Elizabeths Hospital here–began perusing the diary and decided to type it up in manuscript form. Each of the last three Christmases, she has sent copies of portions of the 300-page journal to friends and relatives as keepsakes.

“I put it the diary away for a long time, not knowing what to do with it,” said Goldthorpe, a spry and witty woman.

“Finally, I decided I ought to share it. It was a very significant part of my life . . . . I thought it might be interesting to others.”…

Retrieving an unused ledger from an abandoned Chinese grocery in the town of Zamboanga on the island of Mindanao, Goldthorpe began her diary the day the Americans surrendered. She hid the ledger and other scraps of paper from her captors throughout the confinement.