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Detailed Record


Clare Gass Fonds

Clare Gass Fonds

Physical Description

7.8 cm of textual records.--10 dried plant specimens.--1 photograph.



Biographical Sketch / Administrative History

Clare Gass was born in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, on 18 March 1887. She was the only daughter of Robert Gass and his wife, Nerissa Miller. As an adolescent, she attended the Church School for Girls, a private Anglican school in Windsor, Nova Scotia (later the Edgehill School). Three years after her graduation in 1905, she left home for Montreal to train as a nurse at the Montreal General Hospital School of Nursing from 1909 to 1912, afterwards taking up private nursing practice for three years. After a brief training period in Quebe, she left for Europe in May of 1915 as a Lieutenant nursing sister with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill). From 1915-1918, she was posted mainly in France, with some time spent stationed in Cliveden, England, and Rhyl, Wales, and served in multiple hospitals. She spent the year after the war on transport duty, tending to wounded soldiers returning home. She was demobilized in 1919 and returned to Montreal, where she left nursing to pursue social work. She worked in the Social Service Department of the Montreal General Hospital for 28 years before returning to her hometown. Gass died at the age of 81 at the Camp Hill Veterans’ Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 5 August 1968.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists principally of a diary that recounts Gass’s experiences as a nurse with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in France and England from 4 March 1915 to 31 December 1916. Her diary contains an early appearance of the poem “In Flanders Field,” written by John McCrae during the war upon the burial of a close friend. It is copied out in the diary entry for 30 October, nearly six weeks before its first publication in the magazine Punch on 8 December 1915. Included also in the fonds are ephemeral material originally laid in the pages of the diary, including newspaper clippings, manuscript notes and letters, one photograph, pencil drawings, and ten dried plant specimens. This diary has been edited and published, along with two shorter diaries, by Susan Mann under the title The War Diary of Clare Gass, 1915-1918 (Montreal, 2000).

Finding Aids

Custodial History

Donated to the Osler Library in 2012 by Elizabeth Anderson of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.


The documents are in English.

Source of Supplied Title Proper

Title based on the contents of fonds.

Retrieval Number




Gass, Clare, 1887-1968
McCrae, John
Military Medicine
Montreal General Hospital
Nursing - Montreal
World War I - Hospitals, Medicine, War Injuries