MS–204: Elisabeth Covington Smith Dewing Collection
MS – 0204 Elisabeth Covington Smith Dewing Collection
(1.75 cubic feet; 3 boxes)
Inclusive Dates: 1944-1965
Bulk Dates: 1950-1954
Processed by: Karen Dupell Drickamer, 2017
Provenance: Gift of Nancy and Andrew Dewing, May 2016.
U.S. Army Women’s Air Corp (WAAC)
Korean War 1950-1953
Elisabeth Covington Smith was born on 25 April 1916 in Philadelphia, PA, to Earle Covington Smith (1885-1965), an engineer, and Elizabeth Fulton Drummond (1888-1916), a member of an old Philadelphia family. Elisabeth’s mother died within six weeks of her birth from complications of childbirth. In June, 1917, her father enlisted in the Army, Officers Reserve Corps, Ordinance Department and sailed to France in early 1918. Elisabeth was raised in the home of her paternal grandparents by her aunt, May Smith.
Elisabeth (Bess, Betty) attended Friends Select School in Philadelphia and the University Pennsylvania, majoring in English and French. She later attended business school and was employed by AT&T. On 21 March 1944, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Air Corps, quickly rising to 1st Sergeant. In 1947, as the Army Air Corp was separating out to become the Air Force, she accepted a position as Warrant Officer and remained in the Army for the rest of her career.
During the beginning of the Korean War, Elisabeth was stationed in Japan, assigned to the office of General MacArthur. While in Japan, she used her leave time to travel through Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indian, and the Philippines. A later posting in France allowed her to tour all over Europe when on leave. She met her future husband on a steamer while touring the Greek islands. Some of her other postings were New Jersey, Texas, California, Wyoming, Colorado. Her last posting was at the Pentagon and it was from there that she retired as a fourth level Warrant Officer (CWO-W-4) in February 1965. In March, she and Steven Bronson Dewing were married in Fairfax, Virginia. The Dewings moved to Maine and continued their love of travel. Following her husband’s death in 1996, Elisabeth continued traveling the world. Her last trips included Chile, Peru and Easter Island at age 88, sailing the Nile at 89, and a train ride to the bottom of Copper Canyon, Mexico, at 90.
Elisabeth Coving Smith Dewing died 5 January 5 2007.
Scope and Content Notes:4
The collection consists photographs of Elisabeth’s travels through Japan, Thailand, India, and the Philippines 1950-1953; photographs of Fort Lee, Virginia and a base near Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 40s; her military medals, ribbons and pins; and her uniform (ca. 1965) with cap, skirt, and jacket (with all insignia, buttons, patches and bars.