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Betty Wood McNabb Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2001-02

Scope and Contents

This collection of memorabilia of Betty Wood McNabb's career and life consists of scrapbooks, appointment books, articles, and 2 framed, boxed collections of objects such as medals, pins, charms, and other items. Scrapbooks, dated from 1950-1989 with photos of family, friends, cats, dogs, airplanes, and boats; correspondence from friends and family, including letters, postcards, Christmas, birthday, anniversary, get well, and thank you cards; newspaper articles written by her; and certificates of recognition and awards she received.

Newspapers McNabb contributed to included: Albany Herald 1951-61; Albany Journal 1958-70; Atlanta Constitution 1962; Boston Globe 1990; Chicago Examiner 1950; Florida Times Union Jacksonville 1962; Gulf Defender 1986; Mobile Press 1936; Panama City News Herald 1967-76; The Oregonian 1963; and Wichita Eagle and Beacon 1971


  • Created: 1950-1989

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Betty Wood McNabb was born August 5, 1909 in Spring Lake, Michigan to Frank and Florence Lucia Baker Wood. Her family moved often. She graduated from high school in Albany, Georgia and then moved to Panama City, Florida. She attended college at the Florida State College for Women and received her BA in History in 1930. She went on to receive an MA in History from the University of California, and began to pursue doctoral studies in North Carolina, but withdrew because of illness. She returned to Panama City, eventually moving back to Albany to teach High School. There she met Harold E. McNabb, a coach at the school. Teaching did not suit her so she and her brother traveled for a while. Missing Harold McNabb, she returned and they married on June 9, 1934.

Both McNabbs served in World War II efforts, volunteering for the Albany Civilian Defense Corps and the Red Cross Motor Corps. At the conclusion of the war, they moved to New York for Harold's position with the United States Coast Guard Training. McNabb tried teaching again in 1942, but left when she obtained a position at St. Vincent Hospital. She enlisted in the military on October 12, 1944; her basic training was at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She graduated December 4, 1944, as a WAC Private and received her assignment to Camp Butner, North Carolina. In January the small hospital where she worked turned into the largest hospital in the United States. McNabb was a Sergeant in 1945 and wanted to go overseas, but WAC married members were not permitted to travel.

The McNabbs returned to Albany, Georgia and she went to work at Albany Putney Hospital, progressing in her career as a Medical Records Specialist. The state of Georgia hired her as a consultant to set up statewide Medical Record System. The job required McNabb to drive from hospital to hospital and she enjoy driving. She had always dreamed of learning to fly so she began lessons in 1951 at the age of 42. After three weeks of lessons, she bought a plane. She began flying from hospital to hospital instead of driving. McNabb joined the Ninety-Nines, an International Organization of Women Pilots. Around this time, she also began writing for various newspapers. She had also published a book, Medical Record Procedures in Small Hospitals, Chicago: Physicians' Record Co., 1954. She joined the Civil Air Patrol and by 1958 she became a Major. She attended the Air War College, becoming the first female officer to receive a diploma in 1964. In 1969, the McNabbs moved back to Panama City, Florida. She was a pilot for the Coast Guard Auxiliary from 1969 to 1991. Deteriorating vision finally caused her to hang up her wings at the age of 82. McNabb died on December 20 1996.


66.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Betty Wood McNabb Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US