Providence White Caps: The Memoir of a St. Joseph’s Nurse

As part of Women’s History Month, Clark County Historical Museum will hold a talk Thursday, March 7, with Judith Jacobs Litchfield, author of the 2017 memoir “Providence White Caps: The Diary of Bernice Lorang, RN.” Litchfield’s book recalls the story of her aunt, Bernice (Lorang) Bartel, who enrolled in the registered nurse program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, during World War II.

“Bernice Lorang’s diary and our one-on-one interviews provided the heart and soul of this historical time capsule,” said Litchfield. “Bernice’s vibrant voice afforded a stirring recall of her youthful family life and student nursing journey, bringing a slumbering seventy-year-old past back to life.”

During the early 1940s at the age of 19, Lorang became one of thousands of student nurses in the United States to join the Cadet Nurse Corps. This book and presentation chronicle the experiences she and fellow nurses had at that time.

“A recovered history links us to the past. It preserves our individual and collective culture for the future,” Litchfield said. “This book could not have been written without the historical archives that the various museums offered.”

This presentation, titled “Providence White Caps: The Memoir of a St. Joseph’s Nurse,” is part of the 2019 CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

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