GEORGIA, IDAHO, AND ILLINOIS
Remarkable work of Georgia women---Agricultural rallies prove effective---First Red Cross diet kitchen in South---Negro women work for negro soldiers---Idaho women get quick results in every undertaking-Society women pack prunes---Illinois fortunate in having many prominent women identified with defense work---Great work of women in Chicago.
Georgia. In reading the story of the splendid work the women of the whole state of Georgia are doing, it is difficult to reconcile this record of achievement, this example of efficiency, this ideal of service, with newspaper stories appearing about the time the work was at its height announcing "Georgia women plead for entrance into the State University."
Especial praise is due the expert publicity work of Miss Isma Dooley, chairman of the Publicity Department of the Woman's Committee, through whose untiring efforts the people of Georgia have been kept informed about the work of the women.
"The story of the war work of the women of Georgia is a most interesting one, and the Georgia Division, Woman's Committee Council of Defense, is writing the story," says Miss Dooley,
The Georgia Division was organized late in June, 1917, although the war work by Georgia women has been going on since 1914. Records thereof were in scattered and in unwritten form, except that of the work of the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs along the lines of agriculture and food conservation.
Mrs. Samuel Inman, Atlanta, appointed chairman of the Georgia Division, Woman's Committee Council of National Defense, assembled at her first meeting the heads of virtually every state organization of women who had added to their original work some form of war defense work. There were forty-three present. The first thing which Mrs. Inman asked of her central committee was that they aid her in getting records of the war defense work being done and in organizing county units in every section of the state. Through her Publicity Committee she issued weekly bulletins to the leading daily and weekly papers. These carried information pertaining to the meaning of defense work, and information was called for concerning work of women in organizations and as individuals. The response to these bulletins, together with reports from the Central Committee and the chairmen of county units, is making the story of the work of Georgia's women in war.
Even before the European war, the Georgia State College of Agriculture-a branch of the University of Georgia-had begun a campaign for diversified farming. It was brought to their attention that, though Georgia was a rich cotton state, she had been neglecting many and varied products which her soil so easily produced.
The inroads of the boll weevil, in its gradual progress from Texas through the cotton-producing section of the South, had been heralded by the extension workers of the College of Agriculture, and they, with the club women, began the campaign among men and women in the farming districts for diversification and intensive farming. Then, with the war beginning in 1914 and with Georgia's relation as a cotton producing state to Germany's commerce, there was an impetus given the agricultural campaign work. Mrs. Nellie Peters Black, a member of the agricultural committee of the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, organized a series of agricultural rallies which she assembled with the aid of the club women in twelve congressional districts of the state. She invited to these rallies the experts from the College of Agriculture, from the various government agencies cooperating with stage agencies, and from the state agricultural society. The club women worked through the smaller rural clubs to get men and women to the meetings, and within six months, the cooperation of the club women had been asked by every agency for agricultural development in the state.
Mrs. Black, herself the owner of a productive plantation, made a tour of the state, visiting the rallies held by men or women, taking the message of the club women. The girls' canning clubs became a part of the general agricultural movement, and in a year's time the lands hitherto producing only cotton, in many sections, began to show acres of foodstuffs, grains, etc., to bring new favor and interest to truck gardening, fruit raising, and especially to the peanut and soy bean industries. At the last two southeastern fairs held in Atlanta, women were found to be largely and practically interested in stock-raising.
Even before the government called for records bearing upon the work of women, and before any organization began a program for war defense work per se, the Georgia club women had established their agricultural activity under the war defense banner.
Having held the agricultural rallies in many districts of the state, Mrs. Black, subsequently elected president of the Federation, responded to calls for speakers at county agricultural institutes.
When in April the call was made for women to take up the work of Food Conservation and Home Economics, following the organization of the national movement for Food Administration, Mrs. Black and Mrs. Samuel Lumpkin, the latter president of the Woman's Department of the Southeastern Fair, established in the state capitol of Atlanta, an agricultural school for teaching practical methods to women in the matter of canning, preserving and otherwise conserving food products.
To contribute to the program of this school came instructors from the United States Department of Agriculture, the State College of Agriculture, and the State Department of Agriculture, and the average attendance at each session was from two hundred to two hundred and fifty. The gallery of the assembly room of the capitol was reserved for negroes. And they came in large numbers, every class being represented-from the negro professors of the seven colleges for negroes maintained in Atlanta, to the humbler individual, the negro cook, who came perhaps in the same automobile which brought her mistress, each wishing instruction in the way that she might do her bit in the war crisis. Lectures on poultry-raising, dairying and stock-raising were included in the program.
While the agricultural work was active in the rural districts, through the city and town clubs, the home garden movement had been pushed and there was scarcely a home in any community which did not have its productive garden. The school children had their school gardens, for which the club women gave prizes. The school garden movement extended to the vacant lot movement, when the children secured vacant land and planted seeds. This movement stimulated great interest and there was a vacant lot garden contest among the grown-ups in Atlanta and other cities in the state.
Then came great interest among the women to conserve the food products and the very democracy of it all-the rich women and poor women alike going to the same meeting, getting the same instruction, and using the same kind of cans and jars-has proved an influence and a force.
A campaign for wheat conservation followed, and from the College of Agriculture, through lectures and through the federated club women, information and recipes have been sent out bearing upon the use of corn meal, peanut meal, etc.
The club women of Georgia have done a tremendous amount of Red Cross work, both as individual members and through Red Cross committees included in the work of local clubs. In those cities where there have been National Guard centralization camps, and the cantonments for the National Army, the club women have worked in social service committee. At the Officers' Training Camp at Fort McPherson, the club women of Atlanta furnished programs of music and the drama, to which local artists generously contributed their services. The same work was done at Camp Wheeler, Macon, and Camp Gordon, Atlanta, where forty thousand men were in training.
In view of the fact that women are being called upon more and more to fill men's places, leaders of the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, and of the Georgia Division, Council of National Defense, worked for the passage of a bill which was introduced in the General Assembly of Georgia asking that the junior, senior and post-graduate classes of the University of Georgia be opened to women. The same committee have endorsed and warmly encouraged the attendance of women upon the night classes of the School of Commerce of the Georgia School of Technology.
Mrs. Inman, representing the Council of Defense has united with the federated club women, to aid the negro women in many quarters of the state, the negro women working most intelligently in the Georgia Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.
The work of the negro women had been along more strictly agricultural lines, but they organized to do social service work in the vicinities where the Military Cantonments were established. In Atlanta, Augusta and other places, this work was carried on by the colored women, aided still by the club women, by the Council of National Defense, and by the War Council of the Young Women's Christian Association.
In Camp Gordon, at Atlanta, the four thousand negro soldiers offered a broad field of work for the representative negroes of Atlanta, among the men and women, and they did it earnestly and intelligently
The Georgia Society of Colonial Dames, and the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Confederacy have worked energetically for war relief, in affiliation with the Red Cross, and have met every call which has been issued by the Red Cross Society to the women of Georgia. When the reports are made by the woman's societies in the church it will be an inspiring one, there being auxiliaries to the Red Cross in nearly every community big enough to own a church in which a woman's missionary or aid society exists.
The first Red Cross Diet Kitchen in the South was that established in Atlanta by the Junior League, an organization of young society girls. In connection with the diet kitchen, cooking classes have been organized, all under the direction of the Red Cross.
In Atlanta there is an active and far-reaching work being done by the local branch of the National League for Woman's Service. They have committees on over-seas relief, classes in stenography and typing, classes in wireless, signaling and map reading, and a class in X-ray. They have a motor driving class, which did an admirable work in the disastrous fire in May, 1917. Under the head of Social Service, the National League has a bureau of information, the purpose being to find homes, lodgings and boarding-places for the families of the army men now in the city, and for the families of the men in Camp Gordon. The Woman's Navy League in Georgia worked for the soldiers on the battleship Georgia, and met calls for knitted articles for other battleships.
The Atlanta branch of the War Council work of the Y.W.C.A. has established two departments of social service work in Atlanta, in a hostess house at Camp Gordon, and an in-town branch centrally located and covering the floor of a large office building. Similar hostess houses will be built at the camps at Macon and Augusta. In all three cities the local branches of the Y.W.C.A. will cooperate directly. Miss Fay Kellogg, of New York, is architect for the several "hostess houses" to be built by the Y.W.C.A. in the southern military cantonments.
The officers are: Honorary chairman, Mrs. Nellie Peters Black, Atlanta; chairman, Mrs. Samuel M. Inman, Atlanta; first vice-chairman, Mrs. Z. I. Fitzpatrick, Thomasville; second vice-chairman, Mrs. Isaac Minis, Savannah; third vice-chairman, Mrs. A. W. Van House, Rome; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Daniel Harris, Atlanta; recording secretary, Miss Lucy Lester, Atlanta; treasurer, Mrs. Hugh M. Willett, Atlanta; chairman of Press, Miss Isma Dooly, Atlanta; chairman of Registration, Mrs. S. W. Foster, Atlanta; chairman of Compilation, Mrs. P. I. McGovern, Atlanta.
Idaho. The first work undertaken by the women of Idaho, after they were organized, was the distribution of the food pledge cards. An interesting feature of this work in Idaho was the way in which women sought and secured the cooperation of the men of the cross-roads general stores and the rural mail carriers, in reaching the women of the rural districts. The workers reported that they found these men most cordial in their support of the plan. While few women in Idaho were able to register for out of state work, many of them have worked indefatigably in relief and other kinds of war work.
The committee started the campaign for one merchant's delivery a day. The smaller towns were especially successful in several instances, notably Nampa, in getting a cooperative delivery. The merchants of Boise were not so ready to respond to the request of the women but persistent efforts were finally successful.
The Idaho women made a definite request of every hotel and café to observe wheatless an meatless days, and of the bakers to bake only half the amount of wheat bread on Wednesday (the bakers naming the day). If these efforts were not entirely successful it was not due to the lack of interest and hard work on the part of the women. Mrs. E. J. Dockery, the publicity chairman, said, "Imagine our disappointment to find two weeks later that but two places had lived up to their agreement-the Commercial Club and the Y.W.C.A. We told the slackers exactly what we thought of them and the newspapers kept the subject alive for us. We made the rounds regularly, scanned the menus closely and if we found the promises had not been kept, we just told the newspapers, and they told the public. By this means we got practically all of the men in line."
Mrs. Dockery also gives a vivid picture of the way in which the women of her state went about other branches of war work. She says: "We have done splendid work in food conservation. The women dried our delicious cherries in large numbers to send to the boys at the front. They are superior to the best raisins, and we have dried and canned until we are worn out. In the rural communities much community work was done through the boys' and girls' canning clubs.
"We did our spectacular work, however, when the call came for workers in the fruit box factory and the prune packing houses, when the society women, high school boys and girls-everybody volunteered. The society women decided to pack prunes and give wages to the Woman's Committee instead of having a 'chain bridge' or 'chain tea,' the two methods by which we are raising funds. They included such prominent women as Mrs. W. E. Borah, wife of the United States Senator, bankers' wives, rich sheep men's wives, and others. The majority of them were young matrons, and imagine their chagrin when the owner of one of the packing houses, feeling sorry for the society women, who after four hours work had earned about thirty cents, said consolingly: 'Never mind, ladies, you could hardly expect to make much at prunes; we always try to get the young girls to pack prunes, and save the middle-aged women for packing the apples.' The women took this as a huge joke, and though the highest any of the women made the first day was eighty cents for nine hours' work, they were game and kept at it."
The officers of the Idaho Woman's Committee are: chairman, Mrs. S. H. Hays, Boise City; vice-chairman, Mrs. Calvin Cobb, Boise; second vice-chairman, Mrs. Fred A. Pittenger, Boise; secretary, Mrs. K. I. Perky, Boise; assistant secretary, Miss Leafy E.. Simpson, Boise; treasurer Miss Helen Coston, Boise.
Illinois. There is no field of war work which has engaged the attention of American women, in which Illinois women have not achieved conspicuous success. A record of the work accomplished in the city of Chicago alone would fill volumes and would be interesting and inspirational.
As soon as the call came from the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense in Washington, Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen, who had been appointed by the committee temporary state chairman for Illinois, called a meeting of representatives of women's organizations in the Assembly Hall of the Fine Arts Building, in Chicago, where the delegates were guests of the Chicago Women's Club. This meeting was largely attended, and was full of inspiration. Although the work of organizing the women of America for war work had scarcely begun, the record of that meeting shows that the speakers had a clear grasp of the situation, that their viewpoint was a national one, and that they appreciated the weight of the responsibility that the Government had placed on the shoulders of its women.
Illinois was particularly fortunate in having actively enlisted in the work of taking a census Miss Irene Warren, one of the best known filing and index experts in the world of women workers. Miss Warren developed a card index system, the value of which has been inestimable to the women of Illinois in their work of registration. Other states in which this phase of the work has not been thoroughly systematized would do well to consult the Illinois women who did the work for that state.
Of particular interest has been the work of Miss Isabelle Bevier as chairman of the Department of Conservation. Under Miss Bevier's expert leadership the women of Illinois have responded almost unanimously to the call to conserve and while it is too early to give an estimate of concrete results it is safe to say that in no state in the Union has the work of conservation been conducted more intelligently and with better results. At the first meeting of the Illinois women held in the interest of defense work, Dr. Harry Ward, professor of Zoology in the University of Illinois, and also expert for the Bureau of Fisheries, called forth from the women enthusiastic applause when he said: "The waste that is most conspicuous in food is where women are not in charge. In large hotels, in any big hotel, in the city of Chicago, we have heard recently of the enormous quantity of food that was absolutely destroyed, and we have all seen it. That waste and destruction does not occur in the kitchens of the homes where women are in charge. I believe that in hotels, the chefs who control that thing are of the sex to which I belong."
Illinois has been fortunate also in the choice of its publicity committee, with Miss Mary Waller as chairman. Other members of the committee are representatives of six daily papers, and the committee has done its work in the most practical and effective way.
From the beginning of women's defense work in Illinois a number of women of national prominence have been actively associated with the work as volunteers. These include Miss Sophronisba Breckenridge, of the School of Civics and Philanthropy, University of Chicago; Dr. Rachelle Yarros, widely known as an expert in Social Hygiene, chairman of the Health and Recreation Division and Mrs. Antoinette Funk, a member of the National Women's Committee of the Council of Defense and national chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee.
The organization in Illinois has been very thorough. The work has been done by districts as that of the Federated Clubs is done. In the city of Chicago there are ten districts. Miss Spofford, president of the State Federation of Women's Clubs, has done exceptionally fine work in organizing the women of the twenty-five congressional districts.
Mrs. Dunlap Smith as chairman of the committee on Home Charities has done exceptionally effective work, especially in coordinating the various agencies at work in the interest of Home Charities. One of the first things Mrs. Smith did was to send out a questionnaire to nearly two hundred local charities. The answers were classified and kept on file and formed a basis for very effective future work. A Bureau of Social Service was established at registration quarters, 60 East Madison Street, where a trained social worker, familiar with the whole social field, is director of the volunteer service department.
While it is impossible to discriminate or to say that the work of one committee has been better organized, or has brought more results than another, it is probably not unfair to give especial mention to the work of the Committee on Courses and Instruction, of which Mrs. Hefferan was made chairman. Chicago's large foreign population presented one of the most vital problems which had to be faced by the women. The committee in charge of this work went about it with the highest degree of efficiency, and there has probably not been a day since war was declared that the Chicago newspapers have not carried stories of what happened at the night schools-these stories being so full of human interest that they could to escape notice. Any woman who wished to increase her efficiency or to fit herself for work for which she had no training could find instruction and a fine spirit of encouragement to stimulate her interest. There is in fact no line of work in which the best training is not given.
The first thing undertaken by the committee was the collection of instruction courses offered by agencies already at work, such as the Red Cross, the School of Domestic Science, public schools, and the School of Civics and Philanthropy, where they offered a special course in war relief work. The School of Domestic Science offers a course in dietetics and economical food cooking, and the Chicago Women's Club offered an excellent course in economical cooking and thrift.
The public schools of Chicago did a unique bit of patriotic work. The Board of Education gave permission for the domestic science classes to be kept open during the summer, and the domestic science teachers' salary was paid by the Board of Education. Wherever as many as twenty women would enroll the Board of Education supplied the domestic science class and the domestic science teacher for a course of cooking and canning along the lines suggested by Mr. Hoover. The Board of Education also gave permission that where as many as twenty immigrant mothers could be gathered together in a school and an interpreter provided, the domestic science teacher would give free lessons in economical cooking. The Immigrant Board furnished interpreters and the women interested themselves in arranging the groups.
The Navy League conducted classes in motor driving under Miss Spofford, and in a short time women were actually in service running from eight to ten cars a day.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the Red Cross work in Illinois, under the chairmanship of Mrs. Philip Schuyler Doane. At the first meeting of the Women's Defense Committee in Chicago, in June, 1917, Mrs. Doane reported that since February more than eight thousand women had enrolled in Red Cross courses in the City of Chicago alone, and that approximately eighteen thousand women had become interested in Red Cross work since the beginning of the war.
Mrs. Russell Tyson was made chairman of the committee on Allied Relief, which has also done superb work. The organizations actively enlisted in Allied Relief Work in Chicago include The British Isles, Daughters of the British Empire; Canadian Red Cross; Committee for the Relief in Belgium; A.B.F.B. Fund; Italian Relief; American Fund for French Wounded; Fatherless Children of France; Secours Nationale; French Red Cross; Children of the Frontier; American Field Ambulance Service; American Ambulance Hospital; Mary Borden-Turner Hospital; Appui Au Artistes; Franco-American Committee; Servian Relief; Polish Relief; Russian Relief; Japanese Relief; organizations for relief in Roumania, Armenia, Bohemia and Slovak.
No question growing out of the war gave more concern to the Illinois women than that concerning women and children in industry. If this problem seemed to loom large and to present many complications in Illinois that were not encountered in other states, that state was particularly fortunate in having as one of its citizens, and as an active worker in the Woman's Defense Committee, Mrs. Raymond Robins, who was made chairman of the Committee on Women and Children in Industry. There is probably no woman in America who was better qualified to act in this capacity. Mrs. Addison W. Moore was made chairman of the Committee on Children in Industry; Miss Jessie Binford, chairman of the Committee on Children in Agriculture; Miss Mary McDowell, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Born Women; Miss Catherine Taylor, chairman of Committee on Industrial Readjustments; Miss Edith Wyatt, chairman of Committee on Enforcement of Labor laws. These various committees have fulfilled the heavy obligations imposed on them with a fine and patriotic spirit, and while the difficulties have been great the results have far more than compensated for those difficulties.
Chapter XX. Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky
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