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Westray Battle Boyce Papers, 1943-1975

By Edward Lee Love

Collection Overview

Title: Westray Battle Boyce Papers, 1943-1975

ID: 03/WV0472

Creator: Boyce, Westray Battle

Extent: 0.2 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Collection is organized into the following series: Photographs, Correspondence, Clippings, and Miscellaneous

Date Acquired: 00/00/2009

Languages: English [eng]

Abstract

Westray Battle Boyce (1901 - 1972), of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, served as part of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corp (WAAC) and Women's Army Corp (WAC) from 1942 to 1947. She served under General Eisenhower in North Africa and is the first woman to have received the Legion of Merit medal. In 1945, she succeeded Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby as director of the WAC and served as its second director until her retirement from military service in 1947.

Collection contains copies of letters to and from the alumnae secretary of Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), personal and military photographs, biographical information released for publication in conjunction of the announcements of her receiving the Legion of Merit medal and her military appointments, clippings of articles from the Alumnae News and various newspapers, including her obituary.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Westray Battle Boyce Papers cover her life in the WAAC and WAC from 1943 to 1947 as well as her life after her military career. Photographs include a personal appearance at Woman's College, her receiving the Legion of Merit medal, and portraits of her in uniform and civilian dress. Correspondence consists mostly of letters between the alumnae secretary of the Woman's College and Boyce. Clippings include articles and photographs that appeared in different issues of the Alumnae News from 1943 to 1945, as well as clippings from different newspapers covering her career, her life, and local appearances, and speeches she gave. Also included are her typed notecards of the speech she gave at the July 1943 alumnae dinner and which was later printed in Alumnae News, and typed biographical and news releases from different points of her career.

Biographical Note

Westray Battle was born 10 August, 1901 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob B. Battle, Jr. She attended North Carolina College for Women (now University of North Carolina at Greensboro) from 1918 to 1919 in the Commercial program, and Pell's Law School in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1921 to 1922. From 1919 to 1934 she worked at various local and general insurance companies. In March 1934 she entered civilian service of the federal government and worked with National Recovery Administration, Rural Electrification Administration and the Federal Works Agency out of Washington, DC.

From 1924 to 1941, she was married to James Stacy Boyce. Boyce enlisted in Officer's Candidate School (OCS) for the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in the summer of 1942. In October 1942 she was assigned to the Fourth Service Command Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to head the WAAC s in seven southeast states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. She served on Major General William Bryden's staff, the first second lieutenant to do so as well as the first woman to be a member of such a group. In December 1942 she was promoted to captain. In August 1943 she was sent to North Africa as WAC staff director at Allied Forces Headquarters under General Eisenhower. Boyce was promoted to major and oversaw the reenlistment of the WACs assigned to North Africa. She was also responsible for the health and welfare of the WACs in the North Africa theater and later Mediterranean theater. In 1944, she was promoted to lieutenant colonel and the first woman to receive the Legion of Merit for her work in North Africa.

In August 1944, Boyce returned to the United States and was a military personnel officer on the staff of the War Department at the Pentagon. That same year she was made deputy director of the WAC under Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby. 3 September, 1945 she succeeded Col. Hobby as director of the WAC and was promoted to full colonel. In 1946, she received the Oak Leaf Cluster to her Legion of Merit.

She retired from the service March, 1947 and was appointed national field representative of the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults. In 1947, Boyce was the first woman to receive the Military Service Cross from the Daughters of the Confederacy.

She married William Leslie in 1948 and they were married until his death in 1961. In 1964, she married Willie Jones Long.

Boyce died 31 January, 1972 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC. She was buried in the Battle family burial plot near Cool Spring Plantation in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Acquisition Source: Alumni Office of University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Related Materials: For more information please see http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/NCatHomeandBattleduringWWII/SessionFourNCSoldiers/Boyce.aspx.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Westray Battle Boyce Papers, Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.

Processing Information: Processed by Edward Lee Love, July 2015.

Other Note: Westray Battle Boyce is discussed in WV#0212 Josephine Martin Flynn oral history interview

Other URL: http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/WVHP/id/4440/rec/1


Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Photographs, 1943-1954Add to your cart.
Photograph of Boyce receiving Legion of Merit medal, portrait of Boyce when a captain, photograph of Boyce with Walter Clinton Jackson and Lula Martin Mciver Dickenson (daughter of Charles McIver),and  photographs of Boyce with other alumnae of Woman's College of the University of North Carolina.
Series 2: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1943-1975Add to your cart.
Letters between alumnae secretary of Woman's College of the University of North Carolina and Boyce plus miscellaneous letters concerning Boyce.
Series 3: ClippingsAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Clippings, 1943-1972Add to your cart.
Clippings of articles and photographs from Alumnae News of Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, articles and photographs from newspapers covering Boyce's career and life.
Series 4: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Miscellaneous, 1944-1972Add to your cart.
Notecards from speech delivered to alumnae dinner, official biographical and news releases from the military during different parts of her career.