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Bernice Couzynse Collection



Biographical Note

Detailed Description

[General Materials]



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Bernice Couzynse Collection, 1937-1997 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Bernice Couzynse Collection, 1937-1997

ID: COLL/459

Primary Creator: Couzynse, Bernice (1919-1997)

Extent: 2.99 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description


Calvin alumna and United States army nurse. The collection includes military orders, correspondence, programs, certificates, photograph slide cartridges, plus postcards and photograph albums.

Biographical Note

Lieutenant Colonel Bernice Ruth Couzynse was born October 11, 1919 in Michigan. In the fall of 1942 Couzynse completed her nursing education from Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids. With the outbreak of World War II and being raised in a military family, she naturally enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. She departed from the United States with a large medical convoy to North Africa. Once Couzynse and her team arrived, they were to set up a station hospital for the area.  She was trained to become a nurse anesthetist. Their next assignment was in Naples, Italy, and then moved on to a French evacuation hospital north of Florence. The hospital became a P.O.W. hospital for German soldiers. Her next assignment she was on the pacific coast, but once the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Courzynse finally got the opportunity to return to the United States.

Once back in America, she took on several assignments at different hospitals throughout the country. Ironically in 1953 Courzynse got the opportunity to go to Japan to work in a general hospital during the Korean War.  She eventually got promoted to head nurse on the women's ward for one year. She once again returned the States working at several hospitals.

By 1960 she was sent to Germany, working in the out-patient clinic and emergency room. She was temporally stationed in back in America before returning to Germany in 1965. Three days before her retirement, the army asked for her retention. She eventually accepted the army's request, and became the head nurse at William Beaumont Hospital in El Paso, Texas. Courzynse finally retired in 1971. Although retired, she continued to be active as a member of the American Legion, Grand Rapids Army and Navy Club, and Women Oversea Service League. Bernice Ruth Couzynse passed on October 20, 1997.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: [General Materials]],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Medals],

Series 1: [General Materials]
Box 1
Folder 1: Commencement programs --- 1937, 1939
Folder 2: Military orders --- 1955-1957
Folder 3: Certificates of Achievement --- 1958, 1962, 1965, 1968
Folder 4: Letters and cards received --- 1944
Folder 5: Letters and cards received --- 1944
Folder 6: Letters and cards received --- 1945
Folder 7: Letters and cards received --- 1945
Folder 8: Letters and cards received --- 1946
Folder 9: Letters and cards received --- 1948, 1949
Folder 10: News clippings and memorial service program --- 1997
Folder 11: Photographs, Bernice, nurses --- 1959, undated
Box 2
Item 1: Card album #1
Box 3
Item 1: Card album #2
Item 2: Photograph album #1
Item 3: Photograph album #2
Box 4
Item 1: Card album #3
Item 2: Card album #4
Item 3: Card album #5
Box 5
Item 1: Photograph album #3
Item 2: Prism; HS diploma --- 1940
Box 6: Photograph slide cartridges (11)
Box 7: Photograph slide cartridges (4)
Box Vault: Army uniform (Major insignia)
Series 2: Photographs
Box 1
Folder 11: Photographs, Bernice, nurses --- 1959, undated
Box 3
Item 1: Photograph album #1: family, nurses

Washington, DC

Atlantic City, NJ

Valley Forge, PA

Cincinnati, OH

San Francisco, CA

California coastal cities

California redwoods

Caverns of Luray, VA

Shenandoah National Park

Item 2: Photograph album #2: Bernice’s father with American Expeditionary Force, photos in TX, [World War I]
Box 5: Photograph album #3: Japan: scenic photos, nurses, doctors
Box 6: Slides
Item 1: Hong Kong
Item 2: Japan: Tokyo, 1953-1954; Kyoto; various cities, Camp Drew --- 1954
Box 7: Slides
Item 1: Smokies, Biltmore estate
Item 2: President Eisenhower in Georgia
Item 3: Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, St.ine, FL --- August
Item 4: San Antonio, TX: zoo, Brackenridge Park, sunken gardens
Series 3: Medals
Box 7
Item 1: USA World War II Campaign, Service, Victory medal and ribbon (Four Freedoms)
Item 2: USA American Campaign medal and ribbon
Item 3: USA Korea Service ribbon
Item 4: United Nations Korea Service medal and ribbon

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: [General Materials]],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Medals],

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