Skip to content

A Dartmouth Doctor in WWI


Dr. Harry Goodall answered the same call to arms that many men did in the first World War, but his diary offers a perspective unlike that encountered in the letters or journals of the many Dartmouth students who enlisted as soldiers. A member of Dartmouth’s Class of 1898, Dr. Goodall went on to receive his medical degree from Harvard and then worked in medicine for fifteen years, including time at Massachusetts General Hospital and a few years teaching at Harvard Medical School.

By the time he joined the United States Army in August 1917, Dr. Goodall had twenty years of experience out of Dartmouth College. Dr. Goodall had enlisted on the condition that he would serve abroad, before agreeing to go initially to Georgia to address the flu epidemic that had broken out in Camp Greene. He remained stateside longer than he had hoped, also serving for a time in Camp Macon, before finally making it to France, where he was again instrumental in combating the flu epidemic that was devastating Allied troops. Dr. Goodall served until March 1919 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in August 1921.

Full of strong opinions and a dry sense of humor, Dr. Goodall minces no words in his diary when discussing the people or hospital practices he finds incompetent and unacceptable; his intense personality permeates every one of his humorous, dramatic, or passionate stories.

Dr. Goodall’s diary also benefits from hindsight, as he returns to his diary over the years following the work and begins to gather both his observations and other documents and records into the early stages of a memoir that was never published. Dr. Goodall’s writing is both more objective, because of time and distance from the events themselves, and less, as his motives influence the way he reframes or chooses to tell certain stories.

For approximately the next six months, we will post daily entries from Dr. Goodall’s diary several times a week. These entries have been selected and abridged to provide an engaging and coherent glimpse into the life of a Dartmouth alumnus at war. To read the diary in its entirety, visit Rauner Special Collections Library and ask to see the Harry Goodall papers (MS-397).

Next post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *