Manuscripts Division
William Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Bleecker Houston Papers, 1941-1990

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, 2003

Summary Information
Title: Bleecker Houston papers
Creator: Houston, Bleecker, b. 1917
Inclusive dates: 1941-1990
Bulk dates: 1941-1958
Extent: 90 items
Abstract:
The Bleecker Houston papers consist of papers and photographs which pertain to Houston's service in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated 2003. M-4265.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Bleecker Houston papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.


Arrangement

The collection arrived with each item mounted in a notebook, and the collection remains in that order.


Biography

Bleecker S. Houston was born on August 12, 1917, in Charlotte, North Carolina. On February 24, 1941, she was appointed (probationary) Senior Typist in the Office of the Quartermaster, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington D.C. Later, she was transferred to the Office of the Post Engineer, Richmond Quartermaster Depot, Richmond, Virginia. Here she served as secretary to the Post Engineer and as acting Chief Clerk. In January, 1942, she left Virginia to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Her training was based in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and she became a member of the 21st Officer Candidate Class. Her WAAC rank was equivalent to 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Army.

Her official entrance into military service was January 16, 1943, shortly before a bill was passed (on July 1, 1943) changing the WAACs from auxiliary soldiers serving alongside the Regular Army to serving with it. After this bill was passed, the members of the Women's Army Corps were assigned ranks identical to the ranks in the Regular Army.

From 1944 to 1945, Bleecker Houston served as Assistant Executive Officer G-1 section, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (under Chief of Staff Major General R. J. Marshall), and later G-1 section, U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific. On September 24, 1945, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritous achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in the Southwest Pacific area from May 16, 1944, to September 2, 1945. She left the service on the January 31, 1946, as Captain, and then continued to work in government secretarial work. Her later positions included: Assistant Fiscal Officer, Headquarters Virginia Military District (1951); Accounting Clerk at Headquarters, Virginia Military District (1953); and Assistant Office Manager, Office Services, Department of Welfare and Institutions (1974).


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bleecker Houston papers consist of 90 items all of which pertain to her service in the Women's Army (Auxiliary) Corps during World War II. The collection consists of 49 photographs, four photograph negatives, 32 military papers, and five miscellaneous items. The photographs include five of Bleecker Houston herself, four military photographs (including an encampment, a photo of a group of soldiers, red cross vehicle, and a prop plane), 12 photographs of Douglas MacArthur and several other officials, three photographs of the signing of the surrender of Japan, four scenic photos taken in London, and 18 photographs (of photographs) of the sinking of the Bismarck.

Houston's military papers contain 15 documents pertaining to her duties and five documents regarding her training and enlistment in the WAAC. Sergio Osmana and Douglas MacArthur authored 5 documents to the people of the Philippines to provide assurance and to induce a fighting spirit. In a General Order, MacArthur expresses his appreciation to his troops, staff, and the Philippine people. Two documents pertain to Houston's son, John Thomas Simmons Jr., and one pertains to John T. Simmons.

In addition, the collection includes a manuscript piece of sheet music "Women's Army Corps," a certificate of appreciation from St. Mary's County Commission for Women, and two V-mail political cartoons from John Simmons to Houston. The five miscellaneous items include three newspaper clippings related to Bleecker Houston, and two pieces of Japanese currency used by the military.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Women’s Army Corps.
    • Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.
    • World War, 1939-1945
    • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Philippines.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Women.
    Contributors:
    • Houston, Bleecker, b.1917.
    • MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964.
    Genre Terms:
    • Photographs.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Binder   1  
    Series 1: Photographs and Negatives [series]:

    Scope note: The subjects of the photographs include Bleecker Houston, Douglas MacArthur, the surrender of Japan, and several scenic photographs taken in London. In addition, 18 photographs are of the sinking of the Bismarck. The four negatives are for military photographs.

     
    Houston in military uniform (1 Photograph)
     
    Capt. Bleecker Simons Houston, stamped,  9 May 1945 (1 Photograph)
     
    Bleecker Simmons Houston,  undated (1 Photograph)
     
    Bleecker S. Houston standing alongside a man - both in military dress (1 Photograph)
     
    Bleecker S. Houston,  undated (1 Photograph)
     
    Prop Plane (1 Photograph)
     
    11 men in military uniform/gear (1 Photograph)
     
    De La Salle College (1 Photograph)
     
    [Military Encampment?] (1 Photograph)
     
    POW camp,  undated (1 Photograph)
     
    Pile of at least 35 corpses [Bataan Peninsula?] (1 Photograph)
     
    Group of officials (including Douglas MacArthur) ascending and descending a set of stairs,  undated (12 Photographs)
     
    The signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the Missouri (3 Photographs)
     
    A celebration (1 Photograph)
     
    [London?], incl. the House of Lords, and construction work photos (4 Photographs)
     
    Photographs related to naval matters, including the Bismark , the Gneisenau , the Prince of Wales , the Prinz Eugen , and several destroyers. (14 Photographs)
     
    3 scenic and 1 [?]. (4 Photographs)
     
    3 military photos, 1 scenic photo (4 film negatives)
     
    Series 2: Military Papers [series]:

    Scope note: The papers consist primarily of military documents and applications regarding the positions and tasks assigned to Houston during her enlistment in the WAACs and after the war. Also included are copies of proclamations given by Douglas MacArthur and a discharge certificate of her son by the Navy.

     
    Hose, Orion E. TLS to Bleecker Simmons Houston,  24 February 1941
    Regarding probationary period.
     
    Welch, John P. TL to Bleecker S. Houston,  7 January 1942
    Regarding work at the Richmond Quartermaster Depot.
     
    Hose, Orion E. "Report of Transfer,"   9 March 1942
    Report of transfer of Bleecker Houston from employment under the Quartermaster Corps.
     
    "WAAC Individual Clothing and Equipment Record,"  1943, for Bleecker S. Houston.
     
    1 Namecard: "Captain Bleecker Simmons Houston,"  undated
     
    1 War Department Identification Card marked Inactive,  14 October 1943
     
    "Special Orders No. 247...Extract,"  15 October 1943
    Regarding stations of specific WAC officers.
     
    "Special Orders No. 188...Extract,"  19 October 1943
    Regarding duties of Lt. Bleecker Houston.
     
    Engle, C.J. (Asst. Adj. Gen.) TDS Copy to various military units (WAC),  21 May 1944
     
    List of officers for duty as censors
     
    "General Order No. 1" TDS Copy by Douglas MacArthur,   31 October 1944
     
    Appreciation to American and Filipino ground, air, and naval troops
     
    "Proclamation to the people of the Philippines," TDS by Douglas MacArthur, for the purpose of raising morale and fighting spirit,  undated
     
    "Proclamation to the people of the Philippines," TDS by Douglas MacArthur, regarding the re-establishment of Commonwealth of the Philippines,  undated
     
    Osmena, Sergio TL Copy to "My Beloved People,"  undated
    Message to raise morale and encourage support among the Philippine people.
     
    Osmena, Sergio TL to "My Fellow Countrymen,"  undated
    Regarding freedom in the Philippines.
     
    MacArthur, Douglas TLS Copy to Count Terauchi,  undated
    Regarding the treatment prisoners of war following surrender of American and Filipino forces in the Philippines.
     
    "General Orders No. 191" TD by R.K. Sutherland, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, 24
     
    Awarding of the Bronze Star Medal to Bleecker S. Houston,   September 1945
     
    "Citation For Bronze Star Medal" to Captain Bleecker S. Houston,  undated
     
    1 Negative copy of Honorable Discharge from the United States Navy for John Thomas Simmons, Jr.,   22 December 1945
     
    Middleton, C.R. TL to Bleecker Mills Simmons,  26 December 1946
    Regarding the death of John T. Simmons.
     
    Thomas, W.C. TLS to Bleecker Simmons,  11 July 1947
    Award of Good Conduct Medal to Simmons' late son, John Thomas Simmons, Jr.
     
    "Application for Federal Employment," 20 July 1949
    Job application signed Bleecker H. Pollard for position as a Typist or Stenographer, Richmond, Virginia.
     
    "Special Orders No. 127...Extract,"  28 May 1951
    Includes appointment of Mrs. Bleecker H. Pollard Assistance Fiscal Officer.
     
    "Department of the Army Job Description,"  1 July 1952
    Job description of Accounting Clerk (supervisor), signed by Bleecker H. Pollard.
     
    "Lesson Plan...Basic Military Training...Service in the WAC-Part II," Revised,   October 1952
     
    "Department of the Army Job Description,"  January 1955
    Job description of Accounting Clerk, signed by Bleecker H. Pollard.
     
    1 "Notification of Transfer of Records" card for Bleecker Simmons Houston,  12 March 1958
     
    Copy of Service rating of Lelia Samuel, rated by Bleecker S. Harrison,   15 January 1974
     
    "Certificate of Appreciation...Bleecker Harrison," Maryland's Unsung,  1 March 1990
     
    Heroines, St. Mary's County Commission for Women
     
    Garcia, Aurora, Manuscript music "Women's Army Corps" to Lt. Catherine H. Foster and Lt. Bleecker Houston,  undated
     
    "Headquarters-USAFFE," pages 19 and 20, includes name of Capt. Houston, B. (WAC) as Assistant Executive Officer
     
    Simmons, John T. V-Mail to B[leecker] M. Simmons political cartoon,  undated
     
    Series 3: Miscellaneous Papers [series]:

    Scope note: Newspaper clippings pertaining to Bleecker Houston and Douglas MacArthur, and pieces of Japanese currency.

     
    1 Newspaper Clipping "WAAC Officer" picture of Bleecker Simmons Houston
     
    Stationed at Daytona Beach, Fla. (located on the second page of photographs)
     
    1 Newspaper Clipping "Skirt Trouble,"  undated
     
    1 Newspaper Clipping "3 Virginians Praise Gen. M'Arthur Highly," Area News,  6 April 1964
    Three Virginians: Willis E. Harrison, Lewis I. Held, and Marion B. Echols.
     
    1 note "The Japanese Government Fifty Centavos"
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Douglas MacArthur collection, 1885-1983, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.