THE LIBERTY LOAN
More than 1,000,000 women subscribe in first sale of bonds---One-third of all Liberty Bond buyers are women---Remarkable campaign of organization and education conducted by Woman's Liberty Loan Committee, Mrs. McAdoo, Chairman.
THE Liberty Loan, to which it is estimated a million women subscribed in the first sale of bonds, was not essentially designed as a woman's activity. As a financial measure required for the raising of money to pay for the food, clothing, shelter and maintenance of American soldiers, sailors and marines, the Loan seemed naturally apart from the usual work of women in war time; but the quick response of the women of the United States to the opportunity to subscribe to the first issue associated women with the work so speedily after its announcement that the President, in order that women should be represented in the councils of undertaking, appointed the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee. Mrs. McAdoo, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury and daughter of the President, accepted the chairmanship for the Committee, the other members being: Mrs. Antoinette Funk, Chicago, vice-chairman; Miss Mary Synon, executive secretary; Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, Mrs. George Bass, Mrs. F. L. Higginson, Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip, Mrs. J. C. Miller, Mrs. Kellogg Fairbank, Mrs. Guilford Dudley, Mrs. George Thacher Guernsey.
The Committee found that its work divided itself into organization and education. The educational campaign, intended to bring home to the women of the United States the financial advantages and the patriotic duty involved in their purchase of Liberty Loan Bonds, occupied the larger part of the attention of the members of the committee during the first issue. For the following issue of the Loan the committee has been perfecting an organization which includes hundreds of thousands of women as active workers.
The first work of the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee was the task of bringing home to the women of the United States the fact that the Liberty Loan bond was a good investment, since it was really a mortgage upon the resources of the government of the United States, paying 3 l/2 per cent interest in semi-annual payments and with this income from it not subject to taxation. On its very face a Liberty bond is the safest investment in the world, backed as it is by the assurance of the richest government on earth; but since women have not been accustomed to investment, a large part of the work of the committee was the demonstration to women that investment itself is desirable.
In addition to this, it was necessary to point out that any government has but two means of raising money for the conduct of a war, namely, bond issues or taxation. In an expertly planned and managed campaign the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee also brought home to the women of America some striking facts. It reminded them that if the Government should fail to raise money by bond issue, then taxation, both direct and indirect, would be necessary to a degree that would materially affect every household and every individual in the country; that if the government of the United States had to raise money for the prosecution of this war by taxation, then every woman in the country would have to pay taxes upon all the luxuries and some of the necessities of life-there would probably be taxes on shoes, coffee, sugar, tea, hats, gloves, garments, on almost anything and everything women want and use and it was show that the money raised thereby, while paid by the individual, would never return to her except in the general good insured by payment of taxes.
On the other hand, a Liberty bond, if purchased in 1917, would be payable in 1947. Through the thirty years of its continuance it would be earning interest for the investor at a higher rate than that given by savings banks. At any time it would be negotiable. The woman who bought one could, if she needed the money, take it to a bank anywhere in the United States and dispose of it at its market value. She could borrow money upon it, for United States government bonds have been for years the world's best security. In short, the purchase of a Liberty bond was practically an insurance for the woman who bought it.
The teaching of these point to the women of the United States engrossed the attention of the Woman's Committee during the progress of the first issue of the Loan. That American women were quick to grasp the double opportunity for patriotic service and safe investment was shown by the fact that, as nearly as may be estimated, almost one-third of the total number of purchasers of Liberty bonds were women.
Most of these women had never before invested in any security. Wherever women had invested previously, they literally sprang at the chance of this investment. In Los Angeles, California, where thousands of women of independent means have their banking accounts, the ratio of women to men investors in the Liberty Loan stood seven to three. Even in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where most of the women with money to invest had earned it by hard work, every third investor, barring corporation, was a woman and thirty per cent. of the total subscriptions in Pittsburgh were those made by women.
The interest taken by the women of the country in the Liberty Loan inspired the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee to perfect an organization of women designed to include practically every woman in the United States. Realizing that there was already in existence a gigantic machine of woman's war activity in the state units of the Woman's Committee of the National Council of Defense, the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee decided to utilize this organization rather than try to build up an organization that would only duplicate this machine in membership and possibly divide both in effort. For this reason the latter committee chose the state as the unit of organization and secured from the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense authority to have Liberty Loan state chairmen appointed on the executive committee of the state units of the defense committee. The practical working out of this arrangement runs thus:
The Woman's Liberty Loan Committee chooses Mrs. Barrett Wendell its chairman for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, forwarding Mrs. Wendell's nomination to the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. The latter, approving Mrs. Wendell, sends the nomination and approval to the Massachusetts unit of its organization. This unit, accepting Mrs. Wendell, makes her a member of its executive body. Mrs. Wendell then automatically becomes the Liberty Loan agent in the executive body, having at her command the organization which the unit has built for the purpose of uniting the war work of women in the state. She also has power to inaugurate new bodies for the Liberty Loan in districts where such organization has not been established. In short, she is the director of all women's activities for the Loan in her state.
For every state and territory of the nation there is a woman Liberty Loan chairman. These chairmen were chosen by the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee for their organizing ability, and to them has been delegated the work of organizing the women of their states or territories.
Because the Liberty Loan, however, has financial as well as organization problems, the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee found it advisable to choose, in addition to the state chairmen, another group of officers, namely, the Federal Reserve Districts chairmen, one for each of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts of the United States. These women are delegates from the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee to the Liberty Loan Committees of the Federal Reserve Bank Boards of their respective districts. Their work is cooperation with the Liberty Loan Committees in all matters relating to the participation of women in the Loan. They are distributors of publicity fro the committees at Washington. They are intermediaries between the Liberty Loan Committees of their district and the state chairmen whose states lie in their Federal Reserve districts. Their work is practically ambassadorial, whereas the work of the state chairmen is largely executive. But, since each Federal Reserve district has its peculiar problem, each chairman must necessarily become executive in so far as the solution of that problem is her vital concern.
In addition to these officers the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee has an Advisory Council, composed of the heads of women's organizations of national membership. To this belong nearly all the women representing national societies and fraternal organizations. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees, the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, the Council of Jewish Women, the Young Women's Christian Association, the Women's Catholic Benevolent Legion the Women's Home Missions Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, the International People's Aid Association, the United Society of Christian Endeavor, are associations that give some idea of the scope and democracy of the cause. Mrs. George Dewey was made a member of the Council as president of the women's section of the Navy League. So was Mrs. James W. Wadsworth, president of the National Association opposed to Woman Suffrage. The Council is, in fact, one of the greatest representative bodies of women ever united for a common cause in this country and the magnificent work done by its members, both in publicity during the first issue, and in both publicity and organization since the ending of the first issue, has been one of the primary causes of the success of the Liberty Loan. To facilitate the work of the Federal Reserve district and state chairmen, the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee has directed all its publicity from Washington, leaving its distribution however, except in certain groups, to the chairmen. These groups covered in the first issue the circularization of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who, in answer to the appeal sent them by Mrs. George Thacher Guernsey, their president-general and a member of the Committee, subscribed more than $1,500,000 to the Loan in the course of four days. The Woman's Committee of the Liberty Loan, in addition to its continuous newspaper publicity, circularized millions of women on farms and in factories, and conducted a campaign through the schools of the country that was designed to make every child in the United States conversant with the primary facts of the Liberty Loan. Besides this, the Committee has adopted posters, buttons, dodgers, placards and various special ideas intended to promote general knowledge of the purposes and benefits of the Loan.
It is not to be understood by the fact that the Committee had devised a complete organization that there was no room for women workers in its ranks.
On the contrary, the Liberty Loan is a governmental activity open to every person in the United States. Every woman in the country could become either a purchaser of a Liberty bond or a promoter of its purchase. It was not even necessary for her to be a citizen. Some of the first purchasers in the earlier issues were women not yet citizens, Slovak women who declared in formal resolution when their organization bought $50,000 worth of Liberty bonds that no one knew better than did they the meaning of the word liberty.
The women of the United States have already shown their understanding and appreciation of the blessings of American freedom by their subscription to the first issues of the Liberty Loan, but in order that the world may know that the women of this country are standing back of our nation's fight for those ideals of government that mean the genuine freedom of womanhood, it is right that every woman in the land should be either purchaser or worker, or both, in the cause of the Liberty Loan. It is the American woman's opportunity to prove her gratitude for the security she has enjoyed so long. It is her chance to register her belief in a lasting, universal peace-for peace will not come until the military aggression of any one nation is made impossible-her chance to speed the ending of the war, her chance to provide food and shelter and clothing for her sons, her chance to do her part for the land that is doing its part for her. That is the message of the Liberty Loan to American women.
The Woman's Committee, at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury, turned the full power of its machinery to help in the sale of Liberty Loan Bonds. Every state unit was urgently requested by the Woman's Committee to include "Liberty Loan" as one of its departments of work and to push the sale of the bonds to the limit of its power. This every unit did with enthusiasm, and the result amazed, not only the national leaders, but the women themselves.
The Liberty Loan Department is under the chairmanship of Mrs. Antoinette Funk. This Department of the Woman's Committee collaborated with the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee in the distribution of 700,000 Liberty Loan primers and handbooks to school teachers 1,500,000 specially prepared letters calculated to reach farmers wives, and with a Speakers ' Bureau, under the direction of Miss Florence Ward, of the Department of Agriculture, who assigned 1,600 extension workers as speakers. The Department also assisted in distributing literature and posters and in directing work in schools and among groups immediately under their supervision
It is too early at this writing to give an approximate estimate of the work of American women in carrying out the nation's financial program, but it is certainly not too early to say that that part is far greater and more important than the most far-seeing person dreamed it would or could be.
Mrs. Antoinette Funk, as executive chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee, displayed a genius for organization and executive that has commanded the respect of every national official who has had occasion to come in contact with her work. Special mention should also be made of the excellent voluntary services of Miss Mary Synon, of Chicago, who handled the publicity concerning the work of the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee, the high quality of which made much for the success of the undertaking. The Federal Reserve chairmen are: Mrs. F.L. Higginson, Boston; Mrs. John Pratt, New York; Miss Clara Middleton, Philadelphia; Mrs. Roger G. Perkins, Cleveland, Mrs. Egbert Leigh, Richmond; Mrs. P. J. McGovern, Atlanta; Miss Grace Dixon, Chicago; Miss Florence J. Wade, St. Louis; Mrs. A. A. Severance, Minneapolis; Mrs. George W. Fuller, Kansas City; Mrs. E. B. Reppert, Dallas; Mrs. A. S. Baldwin, San Francisco. The state chairmen are: Alabama, Mrs. Solon Jacobs, Arizona, Miss Alice N. Birdsall, Arkansas, Mrs. C. H. Brough, California, Mrs. E. R. Brainers, Colorado, Mrs. E. S. Kassler, Connecticut, Mrs. Morgan B. Bulkeley, vice-chairman, Mrs. R. M. Bissell, Delaware, Mrs. W. R. Orr, Georgia, Mrs. W. R. Leaken, Idaho, Mrs. Teresa M. Graham, Illinois, Mrs. Howard T. Willson, Indiana, Mrs. Fred H. McCulloch, Iowa, Mrs. Wilbur W. Marsh, Kentucky, Mrs. Donald McDonald, Louisiana, Mrs. Lawrence Williams, Maine, Mrs. John F. Hill, Maryland, Mrs. Robert Garrett, Massachusetts, Mrs. Barrett Wendell, Michigan, Mrs. Delphine D. Ashbaugh, Minnesota, Mrs. Francis Chamberlain, Montana, Mrs. W. W. McDowell, Missouri, Mrs. Philip Moore, Nebraska, Mrs. A. G. Peterson, Nevada, Mrs. Samuel W. Belford, New Hampshire, Mrs. Wm. H. Schofield, New Jersey, Mrs. H. O. Wittpen, New Mexico, Mrs. J. J. Shuler, New York, Mrs. Courtland Barnes, North Carolina, Mrs. R. J. Reynolds, North Dakota, Miss Minnie Nielson, Oregon, Mrs. Sarah Evans, Ohio, Mrs. Frank J. Mulhauser, Pennsylvania, Mrs. J. O. Miller, Rhode Island, Mrs. Livingstone Beekman, (Honorary) Mrs. Walter A. Peck, (Active); Tennessee, Mrs. Guiford Dudley, Texas, Mrs. D. E. Waggoner, Utah, Mrs. W. Mont Ferry, Vermont, Mrs. E. C. Smith, Washington, Mrs. Overton Ellis, Wisconsin, Mrs. John W. Mariner, Wyoming, Mrs. T. F. Taliaferro.
Chapter X. Women in Industry
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