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This clipping from newspaper in Joan’s scrapbook from January 31, 1939, shows the defeated loyalists in Spain. “There is a long story told in the curved line of this picture and a beauty of it,” writes Joan.

The Spanish Civil War was fought from 1936-1939.  Here Joan has clipped articles out of the newspaper to show the coming defeat of the Republicans or loyalists who believed in a democratic form of government.  The Nationalists were fascists and led by General Franco, a dictator whose power only passed with his death in 1975.  Many felt this civil war was practice for World War II. The American novelist Ernest Hemingway wrote a famous book about the Spanish Civil War, a crisis he covered as a journalist. Hemingway was on the side of the Republicans and published For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940.  The title of his novel comes from the 17th Meditation by John Donne, the early 17th century poet and minister.  Donne was always one of Joan’s favorite poets.

Newspaper clipping in Joan’s scrapbook from early 1939 with little Spanish children during the civil war. The headline reads: “Their Eyes Ask Why Anyone Should Make Them Feel So Miserable.”

Joan’s diary from June 1939 when she had something in her eye. She pasted in a photo of her with an eye patch and drew herself as well.

Close-up of above page. June 24, 1939. Joan had something in her eye and had to get it fixed at the doctor’s office, hence the eye patch.

A photo of Joan at home with a newspaper that she has pasted into her scrapbook. The headline reads “Britain Goes to War,” from the first week of World War II. Below it she has written “Melodramatic Moment.”

Clipping from newspaper in her scrapbook. September 5, 1939. Enlisting Brits.

“How many of these will be alive and whole in a year? How many of these blurred faces?,” writes Joan.

Christmas Day, 1939. Chicago downtown.


One of Joan’s newspaper clippings from June 17, 1940, about the capitulation of France to the Germans. She writes, “We didn’t see this last September.”

 She also writes, “Some blame it on the planets, some on the world and some on Hitler, but I say there is no blame.”  Germany invaded France in 1940 after the so-called “phoney war” and eventually managed to conquer Paris and occupied much of France.

This is from Joan’s 1940 yearbook, The Correlator, from U-High. She attended U-High from 1938-1940 as a junior and senior before she went on to attend the University of Chicago. In this photo she is 17 years old.

The poem written by the yearbook editor by her name reads:

Some girls are smart and know much,

Some girls are popular, remain as such,

But if girls are both, it is true,

That this is something that is new.

But JOAN WEHLEN is brilliant you see

And as popular as can be.

For all in school know her so well,

That in our memories she’ll always dwell.


This is Joan’s engagement photo from early 1943 when she was 20 years old.  She married Robert “Bob” Thornton Morrison, who was a graduate student in organic chemistry at the University of Chicago.  They married on June 19, 1943 and graduated from the U of C in 1944, she with a B.A. and he with a Ph.D.

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