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Vivian Gilchrist outside parents' home, Jamestown, N.D.
Vivian Gilchrist outside parents' home, Jamestown, N.D.
TitleVivian Gilchrist outside parents' home, Jamestown, N.D.
Date of Original1944
DescriptionVivian Gilchrist wears her WASP uniform and stands outside her parents' house in Jamestown, N.D.
Ordering Information
General SubjectMilitary
Subject (LCTGM)Air pilots
Military uniforms
Subject (LCSH)World War, 1939-1945
Personal NameNemhauser, Vivian P. (Vivian Phyllis), 1919-2003
Organization NameWomen Airforce Service Pilots (U.S.)
LocationJamestown (N.D.)
Item Number11047-03
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
NotesPhotographer unknown.
Title created by staff.
Biography/HistoryVivian Phyllis Gilchrist was born on July 20, 1919, to Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Gilchrist, in Milwaukee, WI. Her family lived in Jamestown, ND and were likely furniture shopping in Milwaukee when Vivian was born. Her father, who had grown up on a farm in southern Minnesota, was in the real estate business in Jamestown, and a former pitcher for a professional minor league baseball team. Her mother was a teacher, graduated from Valley City State Normal School. An only child, Vivian graduated from Jamestown High School in 1937, and went on to graduate from Jamestown College in 1940, in just three years. She went on to teach at a Presbyterian Church mission school in Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains, for a year. Following that, Vivian received a scholarship to the Teachers' College at Columbia, in the School of Special Education, to become a teacher of the deaf. Instead, she began working as secretary to the president of Jamestown College, President Kroeze, in September of 1941, having had her scholarship postponed.
At the time, the Army was developing a Civilian Pilot Training program. Vivian had been interested in airplanes and flying as a child; Amelia Earhart was her hero as a girl. Alexander Burr, a dean at Jamestown College, got her into the class the following spring; Vivian was the only woman in the program. She began flying on May 4th, 1942, and had her first solo on July 28, 1942. The next fall, she moved to New York, lived at the Lexington School for the Deaf, and studied at the Teachers College. It was here that she first met her future husband, Gustave Nemhauser.
While she was attending the Teachers College, Vivian decided to study and test for her ground instructor license. She earned ground instructor ratings in Navigation, Meteorology and Civil Air Regulations. It was then that she first got involved in the Women Flyers of America, which led her to becoming a WASP (Women's Air Service Pilots of the Air Force). She graduated from the 318th Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment in Sweetwater, TX, with the class of 44-W-3 on Saturday, April 15, 1944. Following this graduation, she was employed by the Civil Air Patrol.
In early 1946, Vivian and Dr. Gus Nemhauser married; the couple had three children - Glenn W. (Cotati, CA), Phyllis A. (Bradford), and Jane V. (Meeker, CO). Throughout her life, Vivan (Gilchrist) Nemhauser was a member of the Ninety-Nines (99s), National Aeronautic Association of the USA, Women Flyers of America Inc., Civil Air Patrol, Journal Air Cadet Corps., National Aeronautic Association, Order of Fifinella (WASP). She served as president of Women Flyers of America, Inc. from 1947-1948.
In 1975, Gus passed away; the following year, Vivan moved to West Newbury, VT where she was an administrator of the Orange East Senior Center. In the period of 1977-1978, Vivian was involved in the struggle by WASPs to earn military status, and claim benefits, many having served in World War II as military pilots. Nemhauser was also involved in establishing the Brookside Nursing Home in Bradford, VT and volunteered at a hospice there. A member of American Legion Post No. 78, West Newbury Congregational Church, and in the Women's Military Aviators Association. Vivan passed away on May 18, 2003, and was survived by her three children, three grand children, and a great-grandson.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionVivian P. Nemhauser Papers Mss 11047
Collection Finding AidConsult
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota (11047-03)
Rights ManagementCopyright status unknown.
Digital IDsh1104703
OCLC number495469649
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