Harriet Holbrook Smith (1897-1990) lived a life of adventure, education, world travel, professional accomplishment, long-lasting friendships, and more. “Hat,” as she was known, was widely loved and respected by students, colleagues, and medical professionals. She retired as the Dean of the School of Nursing, University of Washington.
Healing, Romance & Revolution is a compilation of letters Harriet sent home to family and friends from Changsha, China in 1926-27, during her “tours of duty” with the Yale-in-China Program. Her keen observations and prolific pen provide a unique, first-hand view of a turbulent time in China - a time of political unrest, student uprisings, power struggles, and change. Hat was in the midst of these dynamics, developing herself, her worldview, and her understanding of humanity.
Following Harriet’s death, her great-niece Carolyn gathered together the long-stored letters and, with her husband, Dennis, began the long, arduous task of scanning, transcribing, and organizing them, discovering along the way how this once “wild-eyed” student radical evolved into a respected leader. Torn between staying at home as the dutiful daughter, assisting her father in his medical practice, and setting out for China on the adventure of a lifetime, Harriett had chosen the latter - a decision aptly celebrated by readers interested in learning how a young, single lady of the twenties felt about healing, romance, and revolution.
Carolyn and Dennis had the joy of spending many times with Aunt Hat so upon her death, it became a true labor of love to bring her words to life and to share their admiration for her.
The collection doesn’t pretend to be an accurate historical record, but rather a young woman’s reflection of her times from her perspective. More important, it is a story of adventure and inspiration. illustrating her dedication to serving, her wit, her optimism, faith, hope, romantic nature, and even her entrepreneurial spirit.
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