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
Donated by D. N. Diedrich, 2003. M-4265.
The collection is open to research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Bleecker Houston Papers, Duane Norman Diedrich Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.
The collection arrived with each item mounted in a notebook, and the collection remains in that order.
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.
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.
Houston, Bleecker, b.1917.
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964.
Container / Location
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
Capt. Bleecker Simons Houston, stamped, 9 May 1945
Bleecker Simmons Houston, undated
Bleecker S. Houston standing alongside a man - both in military dress
Bleecker S. Houston, undated
11 men in military uniform/gear
De La Salle College
POW camp, undated
Pile of at least 35 corpses [Bataan Peninsula?]
Group of officials (including General MacArthur) ascending and descending a set of stairs, undated
The signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the Missouri
[London?], incl. the House of Lords, and construction work photos
Photographs related to naval matters, including the Bismark , the Gneisenau , the Prince of Wales , the Prinz Eugen , and several destroyers.
3 scenic and 1 [?].
3 military photos, 1 scenic photo
(4 film negatives)
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.