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Jean Crosby Olsen collection

Identifier: 12.0008

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to Jean Crosby Olsen who served as an American Red Cross worker during and after World War II. This collection consists mostly of photographs taken by Olsen, personal artifacts from her deployments in France, Japan, and Guam (mainly pamphlets and booklets), as well as two nurses' caps, various Red Cross pins, and official I.D. card. This collection, in particular, reveals much about immediate post-war life in France and Japan, as well as an insight into China in the last year of Nationalist rule.


  • created: 1937-2007
  • Other: Date acquired: 06/19/2012


Conditions Governing Access

This 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

Jean Crosby Olsen (also known as Jeanine, Jeannice, and Jemima. Several women in her family who used variations on this name, and so Jean used them interchangeably in life) was born on November 18, 1917 in New York to a family recently immigrated from Scotland (Her grandmother was naturalized in 1885). Her interest in medicine appears to have predated her service. After she graduated from Northfield Seminary in 1937, she received a certificate of graduation from the Paine Hall School in New York in 1938, upon completion of a Laboratory Technician course. Olsen joined the American Red Cross Overseas League in 1945 and was sent first to France. She was temporarily stationed in Le Havre, which was then in ruins, and from there was reassigned southwards. For the rest of 1945 and most of 1946 she was stationed on the Côte d'Azur in the French Riviera, attached to American forces who had landed in the South of France, where she spent time in Cannes, Nice, and Marseille. It is unknown in which of these cities was the hospital or clinic where she worked. Olsen went to Paris in 1945 to see the Louvre's exhibition of "re-opening" and witnessed the first Bastille Day celebrations since the liberation of France. In November 1946, Olsen sailed back to the U.S, crossed the Pacific, and by December was stationed in Japan with the Army of Occupation. Like her time in France, it is unknown in particular where she worked as most photographs are of a tourist nature. By late 1947 she appears to have been re-deployed to the U.S. base in Guam. In January 1948, Olsen was granted a quick leave in Shanghai, notably just before the end of the Chinese Civil War and the installment of the Communist party. In February 1948, Olsen ended her tour of service, returning home on the U.S.S Mitchell. There are only two sources that suggest this, a letter of commendation from a USMC general stationed in Vietnam and a patch from the III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam are among her belongings, but it seems Olsen also served in Vietnam as a nurse in 1968, but this is unconfirmed and not mentioned anywhere else. Her post-war life is almost completely unknown, save that she died on April 20, 2007 (at almost 100 years old), and is buried in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Source: Find A Grave. "Jean Crosby Olsen." (accessed October 11, 2017).


5.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Source of Acquisition

Georgia O'Daniel

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Find a Grave record provided Olsen's birth and death/burial information.'>


Jean Crosby Olsen collection
Daniel Arenas
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