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Women's History Wednesday: Spotlight - Stephanie Clara Pohle

Stephanie Clara Pohle was the daughter of German immigrants Rev. Eduard Herman and Elizabeth Jennie Sachse Pohle. She was the sixth of the Pohle’s eleven children born in Philadelphia. Stephanie was a graduate of the then German Hospital (we know it better as Lankenau today) 1912. She was hired as a private duty nurse. Stephanie must have wanted to be more involved with patients, since she went to work at a private hospital in Philadelphia. There must have been signs of greatness in the young nurse, as she was given a supervisory position almost immediately. Stephanie also demonstrated a talent for surgery and was trained under Dr. John B. Deaver at the German Hospital. When the US became involved in the War, it was recommended that she was perfect for European service. She arrived in Austria 11 Apr 1915 and was assigned as a night nurse in Unit “E” of the general hospital ward. Her nursing supervisor (Alice C. Beatle) was very impressed with the young nurse, remarking officially, “Miss Pohle…impressed me very favorably…a great help…speaks German.” In May of that year, Stephanie became an assistant in the Operating Room. By June, she had become in charge of the Operating Room. On 27 Sep 1915 she left Berlin with the Russian Relief Delegation. By 6 Nov 1915, she found herself in Omsk via Petrograd. The Red Cross transferred Stephanie to the Siberian Commission and she arrived in Vladivostok on 10 Oct 1918. She was sent to Shanghai 3 Oct 1918, but eventually found her way back to Russia. By 1919, she was in charge of Russian Military Hospital #2 until the evacuation to neutral territory of Irkutsk on 27th of December. Stephanie left Irkutsk Station on the # 25 train headed for Vladivostok on 3 Jan 1920. On 5 Feb 1920, Stephanie sailed for home on the ship Great Northern. She spent nine years (1923-1932) as a Veterans Administration nurse working in their hospitals 18 May 1923 she was transferred to Atlantic City, NJ. On 11 Jul 1924 she was transferred to Philadelphia, PA.

18 Apr 1927 saw Stephanie transferred once again. This time to the VA hospital near Pittsburgh, PA. It was evident that her health was becoming an issue. In August of 1933, Stephanie’s sister Johanna was actively canvasing for some sort of assistance on her behalf from both the Red Cross and the VA. Although she served during WWI with the Red Cross, they insisted there was no evidence that her current health was connected to that service, however it was noted on one of her service records by chief nurse Alice C. St. John of the Siberian Commission that, “Long foreign service has greatly impaired her health.”

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