INDIANA, IOWA, KANSAS AND KENTUCKY
Registration first consideration of Indiana women--- Market exchange to be operated permanently-Interesting things happen in Iowa-Kansas organized along practical lines---Women of "Blue Grass States" among first to report perfect and active organization---Educational work a feature.
Indiana. Women's activities in connection with the Indiana State Council of Defense have been varied and full of interest. The first important work undertaken was the enrollment of women, according to their experience and willingness to serve in case there should arise an emergency demanding women's services. Very soon after its organization the Indiana Women's Committee formed a unit for knitting socks for soldiers, and organized the entire state, furnishing four thousand pairs of socks for Indiana soldiers in the first call; this work has continued and all sorts of soldiers ' comforts are included in the articles made. Through cooperation with the Red Cross the Committee established local first aid classes, through which hundreds of Indiana women have qualified for relief work. The Committee did valuable work in connection with the sale of Liberty Loan bonds, and later effected a cooperative plan with the United States government supply depot for making shirts for soldiers.
Indiana did her full share in food production and conservation arranging demonstrations for canning in cooperation with the domestic science department of Purdue university. The Committee instructed thousands of Indiana women in the cold pack process, after securing the signatures for thousands of "canning cards," pledging housewives to extra canning, etc. A market place for the surplus of fruits and vegetables that have been conserved in Indiana was planned to be operated as a permanent exchange.
Through County Councils, Franchise Leagues, Federation of Clubs, etc., fifty thousand signatures were secured to "Hoover cards" and aid was pledged in increasing this figure to one million. Many leading women volunteered for educational work of a patriotic nature, and made themselves available for instruction, addresses, etc., where such work was found needful and necessary.
In many instances Indiana women cheerfully gave up their usual social activities in order to be available for Red Cross or other work for the soldiers and almost without exception, the women's clubs, as a conservation measure, made the usual extravagant luncheons taboo.
The women's organization cooperated with the organizers of the United States Boys' Working Reserve, believing that this increased force for productive labor would be of assistance in increasing the food supply, thus reducing the high cost of living and helping to meet the extraordinary demand for the armies of America and her allies, and the starving civilian population of our European allies. The women rendered a particularly valuable service in exercising special precautions against disease and contagion, as practical conservation, and in order that the demand for physicians might be minimized so that an increased number of medical men might be released for the federal army. These energetic and patriotic women also made possible the elimination of the practice of returning unsold bread, by placing orders far enough ahead to allow retailers to estimate accurately their demands.
Mrs. Anne Studebaker Carlisle is chairman of the Woman's Section of the State Council of Defense, and chairman of the committees are: Enrollment and Women's Service, Miss Julia E. Landers, Food Production, Mrs. Jennie M. Conrad, Conrad; Home Economics, Miss Mary Matthews, LaFayette; Child Welfare, Mrs. Albion Fellows Bacon, Evansville; Women in Industry, Miss Mabelle Maney, Indianapolis; Health and Recreation, Mrs. George C. Hill, Indianapolis; Food Conservation, Mrs. Carl G. Fisher, Indianapolis; Liberty Loan, Mrs. Fred McCulloch, Fort Wayne; Red Cross, Mrs. Jessie H. Stutesman, Crawfordsville; Social Service, Miss Vida Bewson, Columbus; Education, Mrs. Eliza A. Blaker, Indianapolis.
Iowa. Those charged with the task of organizing the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense of Iowa realized at an early date that the very work of organization itself might be made an end as well as a means, and in a large proportion of the counties the meetings called for forming local chapters were made patriotic occasions which called together the women of every class, race and creed. They were, in themselves, demonstrations of democratic feeling and patriotism which meant much to their communities. In many counties, patriotic meetings with speakers from near by cities were held in every school district of the county. The movement for holding the patriotic meetings has been in the opinion of many, the most distinctive phase of Iowa's work. The chairman of the Committee on Patriotic Meetings is Miss Alice French of Davenport, better known as Octave Thanet, the novelist, who has devoted herself with all her resources of influence and wealth to this work. Miss French is the Regent of the Colonial Dames of Iowa and this patriotic society together with the D.A.R., has been especially in charge of this work, the value of which can scarcely be estimated. Miss French has been particularly successful in holding meetings in sections of the state where there is a large German population, having enlisted as one of her best speakers the editor of one of the largest German newspapers, who is aiding in setting forth the duties of the German-American citizen at this time.
Mrs. Gebhard, who is the Regent of the State D.A.R., has been carrying on the work of holding meetings in connection with the county fairs. Arrangements were made for patriotic rallies to be held in every county of the state.
The chairman of the Committee on Education, Miss Leona Call, sent out an appeal to all domestic science teachers in the colleges and schools, to make a specialty of teaching the preparation of the foods recommended by the Federal Food Administration and especially that they avail themselves of the opportunity this will give for patriotic instruction, explaining to their pupils why these things are necessary, why our country is at war, the suffering in Europe, etc. It is believed that by this means, instruction not only in habits of thrift but in patriotism and loyalty to our government will he taken into many homes not otherwise accessible.
This committee has also appealed to teachers everywhere to give patriotic instruction and patriotic programs in the school, using the new and modern literature of patriotism, such as Secretary Lane's "Address on the Flag"; part of President Wilson's war message, etc. It is believed that they will thus bring home to the pupils and, through them to their parents, the fact that each one has a personal interest in this war.
The chairman of the Iowa Division, Mrs. Francis E. Whitley, sent to every college in the state a request to the girls to secure from their own acquaintance, as many signatures as possible to the food pledge cards, each one writing to her own home town and giving thus, not only help to the campaign, but an evidence of her own loyal interest. She also sent a letter to each of the rural clubs, of which Iowa has a very large number, asking them not only to circulate the food pledge cards in their own neighborhoods, but to hold patriotic meetings, using the songs of our country- the songs which our soldiers are singing in the camps -and giving a distinctively patriotic tone to the gatherings in their community centers.
The Iowa Division made an especial effort to carry on the work of safeguarding the conditions around the great cantonment at Des Moines. Mrs. Harold R. Howells, the chairman of the Health and Recreation Committee, with the aid of the women of the Des Moines unit especially cooperated with the agents sent out by the Committee from the War Department in meeting this great and imperative need.
A letter was sent to the newspapers of every county in the state and to every county chairman, asking that the women in each locality take steps to see that no girl who leaves home seeking employment in Des Moines shall go without notifying either the local Woman's Committee or the Y.W.C.A., so that she may be met and sheltered until some suitable place to live can be secured.
The Iowa Division sent an appeal to the colleges asking that all social functions be simplified; that every form of extravagance and display be eliminated as unsuited to a time like this; they are asked to do this as a patriotic offering to their country and to demonstrate that they share in the heroic ideals of their college brothers who have gone, or are going, to the field of battle. The students are voting to comply with this request, giving up "Junior Proms" and using money for Red Cross and other patriotic work.
Several of the local branches interested themselves in local community cellars, for the benefit of those having none. The women at one county seat gave a conservation festival, the proceeds of which went to buy sugars, jars, etc., for those who could not afford to buy them.
In carrying on the food pledge campaign in Iowa it was necessary to deny frequently many stories that had been industriously circulated. The most common of these was that those signing these cards will have their canned fruit and vegetables confiscated by the government agents. One of the cheering illustrations of genuine patriotism, however, was brought out by this rumor. In Webster County when the workers from the woman's committee was securing pledges, they asked one housewife for her signature and were surprised and touched when, after signing promptly, she asked very honestly if she would know when the man from the government was coming as she was canning and preserving all she could so that she would have her share ready. Truly this patriotic Scandinavian woman set an example to some native Americans.
Iowa women have helped most efficiently in promoting the Liberty Loan, especially in influencing women, women's organizations, Sunday Schools, young people's religious societies, etc., to invest. In Dubuque a leaflet with questions and answers was compiled by the Woman's Committee canvassers.
The officers of the Iowa Woman's Committee are: chairman, Mrs. Francis E. Whitley, Webster City; vice-chairman, Mrs. F. J. Mansfield, Burlington; vice-chairman, Mrs. H. W. Spaulding Grinnell; secretary, Miss Catherine J. Mackay, Ames; treasurer, Mrs. C. H. Norris, Des Moines; auditor, Mrs. J. W. Watek, Davenport; Registration, Mrs. C. H. Morris, Des Moines; Conservation, Miss Catherine J. Mackay, Ames; Child Welfare, Dr. Lenna Meanes, Des Moines; Education, Miss Leona Call, Webster City; Liberty Loan, Mrs. W. W. Marsh, Waterloo; Patriotic, Miss Alice French, Davenport.
Kansas. Kansas is very fortunate in having as its chairman of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, Mrs. David W. Mulvane, of Topeka.
In organizing the state Mrs. Mulvane has followed the plan of having a small committee, and efficiency is the watchword of this compact and very effective organization. The first thing done by the committee after it was organized was to begin a registration of the women, and later, under Mrs. Mulvane's supervision, there was a food conservation campaign. Kansas is organized by counties, cities, wards and precincts. Mrs. Mulvane conceived the idea of an "all woman's parade" in various cities of Kansas and the first of these was held with pronounced success in Topeka, preceding the meeting of the Grand Army of the Republic. The fine example set by the women of Topeka was soon followed by those of other Kansas cities. The Kansas newspapers have been very cordial in their support of all the undertakings of the Woman's Committee. The clubs of the state, in the main, have cooperated under the Woman's Committee. Kansas has given very generously in men and money. A Red Cross sanitary corps of eighty men was recruited entirely in Parsons, Kansas, and this is expressive of the patriotism of the entire state. Although Kansas was late in organizing, a great deal has been accomplished and emphasis is being placed on the ten departments of work suggested by the Woman's Committee. The scheme of organization is a sound one and there is no doubt but that Mrs. Mulvane and her associates have built on a solid foundation for permanent future work.
Kentucky. The women of the "Blue Grass State" had a high standard to reach in their war work, for in no state have the women put more enthusiasm into their efforts nor worked to better purpose than have the women in Kentucky. The clubs of the state have distinguished themselves in various ways and on many occasions. The State Suffrage Association, with such leaders as Miss Laura Clay and Mrs. Desha Breckenridge, blazed the way for aggressive steps in the South for political recognition of women by securing for their state "school suffrage," despite seemingly insurmountable difficulties. When the call from the National Government reached Kentucky it found the women of that state trained, organized, and ready for service. Mrs. Helen Bruce, of Louisville, chairman for Kentucky, has proved herself a worthy leader of one of America's best trained groups of women. To her able leadership much of the success of the unit in Kentucky is due.
The personnel of the Woman's Committee of Kentucky is in itself a guarantee of success in anything the Committee might undertake. Mrs. Patty B. Semple, the vice-chairman, has been prominent in Kentucky club circles for many years and is an educator of note. Mrs. Richard T. Lowndes, another member of the Committee, is president of the State Federation of Women's Clubs, and Mrs. Gilmer S. Adams is president of the Colonial Dames of Kentucky, and both women are charming representatives of the admirable type of able, high-born southern women. Mrs. Richard D. Drakow was formerly president of an influential club and is prominent among the Jewish women of the state. The recording and corresponding secretaries, Mrs. William Gazley Hamilton and Mrs. Marvin Lewis, have done a great deal of work in organizing the state-a task that seemed at first almost impossible, in the face of so many difficulties.
The treasurer, Mrs. Alex. G. Barret, is another woman of unusual ability. Mrs. J. William Jefferson, who is chairman of Registration, is president of the Board of the State Home for Incurables and former state president of the King's Daughters. Mrs. Jefferson is a woman of much executive ability and her work has been conspicuously successful. Kentucky is fortunate in having as chairman of its Food Production and Home Economics Work Miss Mary E. Sweeney, Dean of the Home Economics Department of the State University at Lexington. Mrs. Morris Gifford, who gives part of her time to the State Food Administrator for Kentucky, is chairman for Food Administration of the Woman's Committee and did a highly successful work in the distribution of the Hoover pledges. Mrs. R. P. Halleck is chairman for Women in Industry. She is president of the Consumer's League of Kentucky and of the City Club of Louisville. Mrs. Halleck has been closely associated with all movements in Kentucky for the betterment of working conditions among women and children. The chairman for Child Welfare is Mrs. Harry Bishop who has given her entire time for a number of years to the cause of young girls who pass through the juvenile court, and to the effort to establish a state training school for delinquent girls. Mrs. Bishop has done a beautiful and commendable work in establishing a Patriotic League among the girls who are especially stirred by the presence of fifty thousand soldiers in cantonments near Louisville. Mrs. George Flournoy and Mrs. Herbert Mengel are joint chairmen for Education and both have ability that especially fits them for this work. Mrs. Mengel having been president of the Suffrage Association of Kentucky. Dr. Alice Pickett a leading physician is chairman for Health and Recreation, and Mrs. Donald McDonald for Liberty Loan, and both women are admirably fitted for the positions to which they have been appointed. Mrs. Aubrey Cassar is chairman of Publicity and Mrs. Thruston Ballard, of the Louisville Red Cross Chapter, is chairman for Red Cross and Allied Relief. The honorary chairmen are women of distinction Mrs. Luke P. Blackburn, Mrs. A. M. Harrison, and Mrs. A. O. Stanley, wife of the Governor. With such a committee it goes without saying that Kentucky stands in the front ranks.
The Kentucky women went about organizing the state systematically, appointing a woman in every county seat. By fall of 1917 thirty-eight counties had started work and the cities of Lexington, Frankfort, Hopkinsville, Springfield, Ashland and Louisville had been organized.
Food conservation work was carried on with the cooperation of the State Agricultural College. The extension worker who carried the pledge cards into the mountain districts reported that the women of those districts were much interested. She said they were greatly pleased that they had been included and were happy that there was something that they could do for the Government.
Kentucky was especially well organized for canning and drying. One interesting experiment was tried with groups of girls working under the extension department. These girls picked great quantities of wild blackberries, and the business men advanced the money for sugar, containers, etc., and gave the services of helpers in handling and shipping the finished product, which was sold through the Woman's Exchange.
An interesting phase of the work in Kentucky was a series of patriotic meetings held in the country districts. These meetings were opened with canning lectures and demonstrations held in the late afternoon, and these were followed by speeches, patriotic singing, drills, etc.
The Kentucky women believe that practical training for young women should be extended as widely as possible, and they have done everything within their power to encourage girls to take training as nurses, and to learn stenography, typewriting, etc. It is planned to make use of the registration of the woman power of the state to secure women to go to county seats to teach various branches which might be in demand.
Chapter XXI. Louisiana, Michigan and Other States
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