Scope and arrangement
The papers of Dorothee Sinclair Gore contain items such as incoming correspondence, photographs, writings, scrapbooks, and various ephemera. The materials chiefly document her personal life and her service as a member of the Women's Army Corp (WAC) during World War II. Although some of the material documents the earlier and later periods of her life, the collection mainly includes the 1930s-1950s with particular emphasis on the Second World War.
The material reveals much about her life as a Catholic and as a closeted lesbian. It contains information on her friendships and relationships with other women, as well as her feelings of differentness. Letters and cards from friends and family often urge her to cheer up and promise that things will get better. Her personal conflicts over her sexuality are also reflected in the writings and the material she saved. Her writings include published and unpublished poetry and personal reflections. Some of her memorabilia contains material such as an astrological reading in which she underscores sections which point to her unhappiness, and includes a mail order form for a book entitled, The Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction. The cryptic nature of much of her correspondence appears to reveal ways in which homosexuals at this time secretly communicated or expressed their feelings.
Another strength of the collection is its documentation of WAC life, which appears in several different series. Because many of the women she corresponded with during World War II were also in the military, letters detail camp life and women's general reactions to the service. Some letters also subtly refer to the investigation of lesbians in the military that took place at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia in 1944. Her time in the military is also documented through photographs, an autograph book, her patches, and her discharge papers.
Other than her time as a WAC, the collection does not include much information on her working life. Her papers also include documentation of her personal interests such as information on Hollywood stars such as Greta Garbo, travel ephemera, religious ephemera, cocktail napkins, newspaper clippings, and animal stories.
The Dorothee Gore papers are arranged in five series:
Almost all of the correspondence is personal and incoming. It addresses events in Gore's life and documents her close friendships and relationships. The personal correspondence is often vague and only subtly reveals the nature of her relationships with other women. Her professional life is only documented in the letters from the 1940s discussing her life as a WAC. These letters reveal information on the work and living conditions in the women's Army, as well as women's relationships to each other within the military setting. Some letters allude to the 1944 investigation of lesbians in the military at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
The different formats of correspondence include letters, cards, V-Mail, telegrams, and handwritten notes. Empty envelopes and clippings of postage stamps are also included. All formats of correspondence which are dated are organized chronologically. The undated correspondence is separated by format, such as cards, letter, and notes. The folder titled "Notes from 'Jan'" only includes the short, undated notes that she received from her friend, Jan Lorenz. Other correspondence from Jan Lorenz can be found within the dated correspondence and cards. Many more letters and cards are located in her scrapbooks.
Gore's memorabilia contains items relating to her personal and professional life. The WAC material consists of administrative memorabilia such as her patches, passes, and discharge papers. Her personal life within the Army is documented in an autograph book that includes writings by her WAC friends. However, the folder regarding her work at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles mainly includes standard forms and employee regulations.
Other memorabilia is ephemera relating to her personal interests. These include newspaper clippings, programs, travel information, a collection of early twentieth century travel postcards written in French, and various printed material. Some of these saved items may reflect her personal opinions of herself and should not be discounted because they are ephemera. For example, items include an astrological reading in which Gore marks the sections she believes to be pertinent to her personality and an order form for a book entitled, The Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction. The religious ephemera also demonstrates her spiritual life and her devotion to the Catholic Church. A large amount of memorabilia is also contained within her scrapbooks.
The photographs in Series IV are arranged by subject or date, when possible. The bulk of the pictures are from the 1940s and depict Gore and her women friends in and out of the Army. The photos mainly consist of candid shots but also include formal pictures of WAC's lining up. Many of the pictures are signed or identify the subject of the photograph. More pictures of WAC life are included in the scrapbook in Box 9.
The scrapbooks contain a large number of items included in other series such as letters, cards, writings, photographs, and saved memorabilia. Along with personal items, the scrapbooks contain clippings of news accounts, animal stories, and information on entertainers such as Greta Garbo. The material within the scrapbooks is varied and generally does not appear in chronological order. Many of the volumes themselves are old ledger or music books that were pasted over with material. Some are in fragile condition and should be handled with care.