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Carolyn Davidson Hill Diary and Family Papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 2122

Scope and Contents

The Carolyn Davidson Hill diary and family papers consist of the diary Hill kept during the Battle of Shanghai in 1949. The diary, photographs, and related material document the experiences of Hill, her husband Horace "Hod" Hill, and other workers at the Caltex Oil Terminal outside of Shanghai as the Nationalist and Communist forces engaged in intense fighting. The diary also discusses the Nationalist bombing of the Anchises, a British freighter in the Huangpu (Whangpoo) River on June 21, 1949. Carolyn subsequently compiled and edited the diary and wrote an introduction to it, which is part of this collection.

The collection also includes correspondence about the Hill's family, friends, and travel. A letter from a family friend, Paul Bordwell, discusses his experience in Singapore during an anti-colonial riot in December 1950. Other materials in the collection include notes written by the family, genealogical research conducted by Horace's children, and family photographs.

Dates

  • Circa 1914-2021

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to materials authored or otherwise created by Carolyn Davidson Hill is retained by Ann Elizabeth Hill until January 1, 2050 or until her death, whichever occurs first. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Tracy Hill Leddy and Ann Elizabeth Hill, 2021

Arrangement

The papers are arranged in two series: I. Battle for Shanghai diary and related materials, 1948-1951, 2019. II. Hill family papers, 1914-2021.

Extent

3.0 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Chinese

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.2122

Overview

The Carolyn Davidson Hill diary and family papers consist of the diary Hill kept during the Battle of Shanghai in 1949 as well as photographs and related material on the experiences of Hill, her husband Horace "Hod" Hill, and other workers at the Caltex Oil Terminal. Additional materials in the collection document the Hill's family history, their friends, work, and travel. A letter from a family friend, Paul Bordwell, discusses his experience in Singapore during an anti-colonial riot in December 1950.

Biographical / Historical

Carolyn Davidson Hill (née Carolyn Davidson Allen) was born in Dallas, Texas on October 10, 1911. She attended Southern Methodist University, completing a BA in History and French in 1931 and an MA in Political Science the following year. Initially working as a secretary for several companies and individuals in the Dallas, Texas area, she moved to Washington, D.C., in 1941 and was employed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Division of Research and Statistics.

During the Second World War, Carolyn Davidson Hill worked as a clerk for the United States State Department at several posts in Africa and Asia. In 1943, she was stationed at the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations in Algiers, Algeria. There she served as a secretary and interpreter for the Chief of Mission. From 1943 to 1945, she was posted in Tehran, Iran with the American Financial Mission. She acted as the secretary for a series of conferences held in Tehran among United States, British, and Iranian officials throughout the war. After the war, Hill was posted to Chongqing, China, where she served from 1945-1946, followed by a posting in Beijing. Her final State Department assignment was in Shanghai, where she worked for the American Consulate General from 1946-1949. In Shanghai, she prepared reports on various financial and political matters. She resigned from the State Department in April 1949.

While in Shanghai, Carolyn Davidson met Horace "Hod" Hill, the superintendent of the Caltex Oil Terminal. Horace Hill was born in 1911 in East Orange, New Jersey and traveled extensively in his youth with his military family. Prior to 1936, Horace was married to Phyllis Abell Hill. From 1939 to 1948, Horace was married to Olivia Whitney Hill, with whom he had two daughters, Tracy (born 1940) and Deborah (born 1942). Horace Hill served in China during the Second World War and began working for the Caltex Petroleum Company in the late 1940s. Carolyn Davidson and Horace Hill married on October 26, 1948.

Living in Shanghai in the late 1940s, Carolyn and Horace Hill experienced the ongoing Chinese Civil War between the Nationalist forces (Kuomintang) and the Communist forces. As the conflict engulfed Shanghai in April 1945, Carolyn Davidson Hill began a diary documenting the experiences and daily life of her, Horace, and Caltex employees over the weeks leading up to the Communist victory in Shanghai in May 1949. The Hills also witnessed the Nationalist bombing of the Anchises, a British freighter in the Huangpu (Whangpoo) River on June 21, 1949, which received international attention.

Carolyn and Horace lived in the Philippines before returning to the United States. The Hills adopted two children, Robert Brinton and Ann Elizabeth. The couple divorced in 1957. After their divorce, Carolyn Davidson Hill lived in California, where she worked for several legal firms and for Stanford University. She died in San Mateo, California on August 10, 1982.

Horace Hill returned to working overseas in Singapore and later settled in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He married Mary McClees in 1957 and adopted her three children: Hebert, Hugh, and Mary. Horace Hill died in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on December 16, 1989.
Title
Guide to the Carolyn Davidson Hill Diary and Family Papers
Author
compiled by Joshua D. Cochran
Date
August 2021

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)

Location

Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours