Linfield University Public History Project: World War II as Experience and Memory


Hulda Beckley Fitzsimons: World War II as Experience and Memory

Streaming Media


Schley, Rachel


Guyot, Ruby

Document Type

Video File


1 hour 1 minute 1 second

Publication Date



Cultural History | Oral History | Public History | United States History | Women's History


This interview is an oral history conducted by Dr. Rachel Schley, assistant professor of history at Linfield College, and Ruby Guyot, Linfield class of 2019, with Hulda (Beckley) Fitzsimons, Linfield class of 1944. The interview took place at Fitzsimons’s home on April 19, 2019.

Hulda Fitzsimons attended Linfield from 1940 to 1941, just before the outbreak of World War II. She grew up on a fruit farm in Salem, working the land with her family. Upon graduation from high school, Fitzsimons was unsure of her next steps until her uncle suggested that she should attend Linfield College. In this interview, Fitzsimons talks in detail about her living conditions at the girls co-op, as well as the classes she took and her employment at the movie theater. At Salem High, Fitzsimons had to compete with everyone for opportunities due to the large class size, whereas at Linfield she found the smaller student body size was less segregated by cliques and offered her many opportunities. At Linfield, she met her husband, who was stationed at Fort Stevens and was eventually deployed to Europe near the end of the war. After her first year, she did not have enough funds to continue at the college. She kept busy however, working at the shipyards, as a clerk at Safeway, as a key punch operator, and at her family’s fruit farm. Once the war ended, she and her husband had children; she notes that she loved being a homemaker. After her husband graduated, they moved around a lot to follow her husband’s various teaching opportunities, eventually settling in Beaverton, Oregon.


For a time-stamped overview of the subjects discussed during this interview, refer to the Related Resource link.