MINNESOTA, MISSISSIPPI, MISSOURI,
NEBRASKA AND NEVADA
Minnesota women cooperate with Public Safety Commission---Perfect coordination in Mississippi---Thirty women's organizations unite in war work---"One can for the Government" from every woman---Missouri adopts unique method of food conservation campaign-Woman's patriotic special train---What the women of Montana are doing---Nebraska early in the field with complete organization---Registration accomplished in one day---"Drying and Canning Week in Omaha---Nevada women have various activities.
Minnesota. The women of Minnesota have done so much definitely planned and well executed work that it is difficult to say what has been their most successful branch of war work. Under the able chairmanship of Mrs. Thomas G. Winter, of Minneapolis, the organization work and the evident spirit of coordination and cooperation is certainly worthy of special mention.
In Minnesota the Safety Commission, authorized by the legislature, with very wide emergency powers and an appropriation of $1,000,000, antedated the Council of Defense. It appointed a Woman's Auxiliary, of which Mrs. Winter was made chairman. Later came a similar appointment from the Woman's Committee of the National Council of Defense. It was then possibleto combine the two committees, which was done by the local council (composed of Presidents of statewide organizations) voting to accept the Safety Committee as their executive committee.
The state was then organized, first by congressional districts and then by counties. An unusual and most helpful act on the part of the state Safety Commission was the calling of the entire force of county chairmen to a conference at the state Capitol, paying their expenses and giving the House of Representatives for the meeting place. This opportunity for full discussion and contact was a tremendous impetus to the work. The conference ended by a half day's session at the Farm School of the University, where Miss Berry, chairman of Conservation, who was already a member of Mr. Hoover's advisory Committee, gave a full demonstration of the plans of the then non-appointed Food Administration, and a "war luncheon."
The women's first big campaign was, of course, for the signing of the Hoover pledges. In an agricultural state, with no large cities except St. Paul and Minneapolis, this involved long drives in rural communities. Inevitably the food campaign involved a patriotic one. "The foreign population is dominantly German," said Mrs. Winter, "and there are communities where English is a foreign language. Their first feeling was naturally one of horror and protest against the war, but quiet unexcited educational work has already done much. The country work has enabled us to make a quite accurate survey of all disloyal groups, among whom more work must be done. This formed the second big work."
Later Minnesota initiated a remarkably fine piece of cooperative work. A central state committee has been formed consisting of Mrs. Winter as chairman, the state superintendent of schools, a member of the Safety Commission and the food administrator appointed by Mr. Hoover. Under this committee every county is to have a similar committee, consisting of the man representative of the Safety Commission, the county superintendent of schools and the woman county chairman of defense. Several hundred school teachers and principals are to be brought in from all over the state for a kind of training camp in patriotic education and food conservation, so that the plan will ramify into every little rural school district with thoroughly informed and unified workers.
Minnesota women have had demonstrations, patriotic posters and distribution of thousands of copies of such material as the President's War Proclamation, Secretary Lane's speech, the President's reply to the Pope, etc., through the County Agricultural Fairs. Also dodgers on the "Hoover Pledge," and "Why We Are At War "printed in various languages and put in small stores, pool rooms and other places where men congregate. These are designed to reach those who do not read extensively.
Wonderful things have happened in Minnesota. Mrs. Theo. Christianson, of Dawson, reported to the State Chairman that one town woman cheerfully did the canning for a farmer's wife. Mrs. J. T. Hale, of St. Paul, reports that in one town the slogan was: "Don't let a fighting man carry your parcels. Save the man power for essential service." In one town a survey disclosed the fact that the sale of wheat had fallen of one third after the women's food conservation drive and the sale of meal and non-wheat breakfast foods had increased enormously. In one town forty-seven out of fifty women signed the Hoover pledge cards. In another rural district town women are washing dishes for farm women.
Minnesota has a Young Women's Auxiliary organized for patriotic service, in squads of six or more. The State Director is Miss Eleanor Mitchell, St. Cloud; vice directors, Miss Lillian Winston, Minneapolis; Miss Katherine Sullivan, Stillwater; Miss Helen Congdon, Duluth; secretary, Miss Gladys Riley, St. Cloud. The special work of the organization is building up patriotic sentiment in their home towns, giving neighborhood service, assisting in food conservation organizing groups for the study of home nursing, and assistance in the registration of women for service.
The officers of the Women's Committee of the Minnesota Division Council of National Defense are: director Mrs. Thomas G. Winter, Minneapolis; 1st vice chairman Mrs. Cordenio Severance, Cottage Grove; 2nd vice chairman, Mrs. W. T. Coe, Wayzata. Committee chairmen: Miss Josephine T. Berry, St. Paul; Miss Agnes Peterson, St. Paul ; Mrs. Edwin Stuhr, Minneapolis; Miss Annie Shelland, St. Paul; Mrs. Frances Buell Olson, St. Paul; Mrs. Francis A. Chamberlain, Minneapolis; Mrs. Elbert Carpenter, Minneapolis; Mrs. Walter Thorp, Minneapolis; Mrs. W. R. Mandigo, St. Paul; Mrs. Bertha Dahl Laws, Appleton; Mrs. Charles P. Noyes, St. Paul; Mrs. George Squires, St. Paul; Mrs. J. L Washburn, Duluth. Auxiliary Committees: Mrs. Harold Weld, Boulevard; Dr. Auten Pine, St. Paul. Secretary, Miss Aimee Fisher, Minneapolis.
Mississippi. Mississippi furnished a fine example of perfect coordination. All of the thirty women's organizations of the state have been giving their time, their money and themselves to aid their country since the entrance of the United States into the War- through the Woman's Committee Council of National Defense. The committee was organized at Jackson, on May 24, 1917, and Mrs. Edward McGehee was elected permanent chairman. Every county and town in the state was organized and one of the first things to occupy the attention of the women was food production and conservation. The Canning Clubs representing ten thousand women and girls under the direction of the County Demonstration Agents set the ball rolling by cultivating every waste place, backyard gardens in the towns, and their own gardens in the rural sections. In the rich truck growing belt of central and south Mississippi the women were able to save the waste produce that had formerly rotted in the fields before it could be rushed to the overcrowded markets, or canneries.
Every woman in the state has pledged "One can for the Government" from her own pantry. This food will be collected by the State Agent of Food Conservation, and placed at the disposal of the Government to be used where it is most needed. The first Hoover pledge cards were signed through the same agency, and all counties were enthusiastically ready for the "Clean Up" campaign in signing the second cards sent out.
The registration of women took place in the week of September 14, 1917. The Governor issued a proclamation setting aside this day as Woman's Service day-when a great drive was made to raise funds for the registration. The week was a great success all organizations giving their assistance in the work. The negro women were registered and took great pride and pleasure in this as well as the Food Campaign. They had different polling places-but worked under the instructions of the club women.
The women have been enthusiastic workers in the Red Cross, and even the little rural towns have their auxiliaries or chapters. Mrs. McGehee has worked faithfully to give every assistance to the Gulf Division of the Red Cross. The Liberty Loan and the War Library Fund have both received enthusiastic support from the Mississippi women.
At Jackson, and Hattiesburg, where Camp Jackson and Camp Shelby are located, the women have done everything in their power to help make camp life clean, wholesome and pleasant for the boys in training. In all urban and rural communities the women are maintaining a high standard for the civic pride, through their work in the interest of public health, and moral and spiritual forces. Because of a campaign in the interest of the Child Labor Law the public schools in Mississippi had the largest attendance in the history of the state, in the fall of 1917. The women's clubs took up the study of pan-Americanism, democracy, world-reorganization and kindred topics, showing that the women of the fair Magnolia State are looking out beyond the old dried-up shell of indifference and lethargy where habit and tradition have held her for so long, and are making of themselves real and potent factors in the Nation's crisis, and preparing themselves to do citizen's duty.
Headquarters of the Woman's Committee are at the Industrial Institute and College at Columbus, where a complete office equipment was donated.
The officers are: chairman, Mrs. Edward McGehee, Como; vice-chairman, Mrs. H. L. Quinn, West Point; secretary, Miss Annie Caulfield, Columbus; treasurer, Mrs. Robert Mimms, Jackson.
Missouri. Missouri adopted a unique and strikingly successful method of conducting its food conservation campaign. This was by means of a "Woman's Patriotic Service Special" train which carried the gospel of food conservation directly to 2,500 women, according to the official report. The special was sent out by the Women's Committee on Food Conservation in cooperation with the Missouri Pacific Railway, with the object of explaining the cold pack method of canning and drying fruit and vegetables to the women living in the cities and towns along that railroad. Representatives of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense and of the Red Cross also were guests on the special. Their duty was to outline the work of these two organizations to the women in the towns visited. Mrs. George Gillhorn, in conference with Mr. Benjamin F. Bush, President of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, arranged for the trip and the railroad placed a private car at the disposal of the women. At each of the twelve places visited the special was sidetracked, and the St. Louis women held patriotic meetings and gave canning and drying demonstrations.
According to the chairman's report, everywhere the special stopped the car was received by a delegation of patriotic citizens headed by the mayor. At every city local organizations were established of the Red Cross, The Women's Council of National Defense and the Food Conservation Committee.
The St. Louis women who made the trip on the first "Patriotic Special" were Mesdames John G. Thomson and Robert Terry of the Food Conservation Committee; Mrs. Norman Windsor and Miss Elizabeth Cueny of the Women's Council of National Defense; Mrs. Edmund F. Brown of the Red Cross; Mrs. Walter McNabb Miller, Columbia, Mo., and Miss Bab Bell, head of the Extension Department of the Home Economics Section of the University of Missouri.
Mrs. B.F. Bush, chairman of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense for Missouri, was also appointed by the Governor a member of the State Council of Defense. In fact, in every instance, the county chairman is a member of the County Council of Defense unit, thereby forming a connecting link between the men's work and that of the women. "This close cooperation," says one of the executive officers, "is absolutely necessary in order that the work may be carried on successfully."
Missouri is well organized, complete working organizations having been completed in 106 of the 114 counties and in 375 towns, by the end of the summer of 1917. July 28 was set aside as "Patriotic Day" for Missouri and so proclaimed by the Governor. On this day the campaign for the Hoover pledge cards was conducted and the registration of women was made. In all departments Missouri women are working with pronounced success.
The plan of organization in this state is worthy of especial study by those states who may still be in the process of organization. The state was divided into nine districts, with a vice chairman for each district. The 114 counties in Missouri have each a county chairman who reports to the vice chairman of her district. In the majority of cases this county chairman is also a member of the County Committee of the Council of Defense. Each of the large cities and towns throughout the state has its chairman and working units to look after the different departments of the work of the Woman's Committee in exactly the same way as does the state body.
The larger cities make their weekly report direct to the vice chairman of their district, and also to the county chairman; the townships or towns make report to the county chairmen, each of whom in turn reports to the vice chairman in her district. The nine vice chairmen, all members of the Executive Board, report to the state chairman once each week.
The state chairman or chairman on organization sends frequent and full reports to the nine vice chairmen in the districts, and to the county, township and town chairmen of the activities of the several departments, the Speakers' Bureau, Publicity Committee, Courses on Instruction, etc.
Just as presidents of all women's state organizations become members of the Advisory Council of the state body, so do presidents of city and town organizations form an advisory board of the city and town units of the Woman's Committee.
"No city, town or county unit shall initiate any measure contrary to the State policy that shall become permanently operative until submitted to the Executive Board," the official announcement states.
"Every unit should have a chairman, vice chairman secretary and treasurer as well as a chairman for every department of work that may be taken up, these heads to appoint chairmen for necessary departments of work. These department heads shall send a weekly report to her county chairman and a duplicate copy to the state chairman of that department.
"In appointing department chairmen, each county chairman shall give an outline of the work, the department state chairman to instruct the county chairman in the departments of work.
"Such funds as may be needed for local work should be raised by each unit in such way as may be determined by the board of that unit. An assessment might be imposed on each member of organizations in the county or town. Women's clubs or organizations might be asked to contribute."
The object of the committee is, "To secure the registration of every woman in the State of Missouri; to promote efficiency; to prevent duplication of effort; to utilize organizations already in existence; to give every woman opportunity for patriotic service, either at home or abroad, and incidentally to be an inspirational center for the entire state; to act as a clearing house for the work of women. "
The officers are: honorary chairmen, Mrs. Frederick D. Gardner, Jefferson City; Mrs. Philip N. Moore, St. Louis; chairman, Mrs. B. F. Bush, member of State Council of Defense; vice chairmen, Mrs. Selden P. Spencer, St. Louis; Mrs. Hugh C. Ward, Kansas City; Mrs. Warren F. Drescher, Hannibal;
Mrs. W. K. James, St. Joseph; Mrs. C. W. Greene, Columbia; Mrs. E. M. Shepard, Springfield; Mrs. Emily Newell Blair, Carthage; Miss Elizabeth Davis, Cape Girardeau; treasurer, Mrs. William H. Lee, executive secretary, Mrs. Olive B. Swan, St. Louis; Executive Committee: Mrs. Charles A. Stix, Finance; Mrs. Frank P. Hays, Registration; Mrs. Elias Michael, Courses of Instruction; Miss Elizabeth Cueny, Organization; Mrs. Lon O. Hocker, Publicity; Mrs. G. V. R. Mechin, Speakers; Mrs. Frank Hammar, Red Cross; Mrs. George Gellhorn, Food Administration and Home Economics; Miss Ellen Tootle James, Child Welfare; Mrs. Fannie Bonner Price, Immigration and Alien Groups; Mrs. W. E. Fischel, Health and Recreation; Mrs. Philip N. Moore, Liberty Loan; Mrs. George Still, Clubs and Kindred Organization; Mrs. Philip B. Fouke, Organization St. Louis; Mrs. Orville Martin, Organization Kansas City; Mrs. N. A. Brown, Organization St. Joseph and Buchanan County. The Advisory Council consists of the president and one delegate of each state or national organization.
Montana. Montana women, individually and through their organizations, have been doing war work along practically all lines, but organization under the great national war committees has not been perfected as rapidly as it has been in other states and no official reports of the work in Montana have been received in Washington at this writing. The officers of the Woman's Committee in Montana are: chairman, Mrs. Tyler B. Thompson, Missoula; vice chairman, Mrs. Wallace Perham, Glendive; secretary, Mrs. R. Hugh Sloane, Missoula; chairman of Registration, Mrs. Munill R. Tennis, Butte; chairman of Food Conservation,
Miss Bess Rowe, Bozeman; chairman of Social Service, Mrs. S. M. Saunders, Red Lodge; chairman of Education Mrs. Kate W. Jameson, Missoula, Dean of Womens University of Montana; chairman of Liberty Loan, Mrs. W. W. MacDowell, Butte; chairman of Red Cross, Mrs. C. B. Nolan, Helena; chairman of Health and Recreation Mrs. Mary Alderson, Roeman; chairman of Publicity, Mrs. L. O. Edmonds, Absarokee
Nebraska "The Woman's Committee of the Nebraska State Council of Defense since its inception the 30th day of June, 1917, has been woman's opportunity to prove her patriotism, "said Prof. Sarka B. Hrbkova, chairman of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. "The very establishment of a Woman's Committee was the recognition of woman as a definite and dependable factor in the conduct and success of a great war against the dark forces in Central Europe which are jeopardizing democracy. Our Nebraska Woman's Committee has proudly accepted this open acknowledgment by the government of the inherent right and responsibility of women to give service to their country. The women of our state as of other states labor today for the protection of their country as effectively as the soldiers fight for it on the far-flung frontiers of the war zone. Nebraska women are responding with all the vigor and the unalloyed ardor which our wonderful western prairie country arouses. Our women do not talk their patriotism; they live it "
The organization of the ninety-three counties of the state into an effective working machine was the first big work after which the food-pledge drive was given impetus. The first real test of the "machinery" planned and put into motion by the women and for the women of Nebraska was the public registration of women for patriotic service accomplished in one day- September 12, 1917, at all the regular polling places of the state, by proclamation of Governor Keith Neville. Fully fifty per cent of the woman power of Nebraska was enlisted in that significant public demonstration. A question and answer publicity campaign all crowded into a nutshell of a printed "dodger" preceded the first formal registration day in which it was the privilege of Nebraska women to participate.
An interesting development of the big "get-together" meeting of the county chairman of Woman's Committees held at Lincoln, Nebraska, September 4, 1917, was the means taken by resourceful leaders in various counties to get out all the women on registration day. In one county every school in the districts registering the largest number of mothers was presented with a patriotic record for the school phonograph. In another county pictures of great Americans were presented to the schools in the districts with the largest enrollments of women for patriotic service.
The formal introduction of foreign born women to the Uncle Sam of their adoption has been made one of the earnest pursuits of the Woman's Committee. Through the department of naturalization which has been rechristened ''Americanization a serious and effective appeal was published in every foreign language paper in the state excepting only certain German publications in strongly alien districts. These papers likewise printed, at the request of the woman member of the State Council of Defense a list of all the naturalization laws affecting women. Large groups of foreign born girls and women have, in response to this call, taken out their first papers as American citizens. On one such occasion when a group of twenty or more Scandinavian and Bohemian young women were leaving the court house with the material evidence of their intention to become full-fledged American citizens, a man well known in politics who stood at the entrance said, "There go twenty votes that no politician can buy."
Not only have the women of Nebraska accomplished much in bringing about the Americanization of their foreign born sisters, but their activities have had a salutary effect upon the male members of the families involved. It is an actual fact that numbers of men in the families of the women seeking Americanization awoke to the realization that they too should naturalize, and forthwith they hurried to the proper authorities lest their women outdo them. It is thus that the war for democracy is being waged here at home.
The comfort of the loyal lads at the camps has given grave concern, but the Red Cross and Health and Recreation departments have been equal to the task. When there have been no ready funds, the boys have not suffered, for there have been willing hearts and patriotic pockets which are never padlocked.
Truly wonderful results were reported from "Drying and Canning Week" in Omaha. The Committee printed 40,000 pamphlets on food conservation and in the interest of stimulating an interest in drying and canning. These were distributed by the retail grocers and through the schools. Reports were to the effect that there was an increase of fifty per cent in canning and drying. In six days, under the influence of the housewives' "drive," the people of Omaha put up for future use 6,000 baskets of tomatoes, 3,000 baskets of beans, 9,000 dozen ears of corn, and 4,800 bushels of apples. This does not include the garden products put up by people from their private gardens, which would probably increase the figures twenty per cent. At this time Nebraska had an army of 2,135 women food conservation volunteers from 247 towns at work spreading the gospel of canning, drying, etc. Training schools to equip these recruits to act as canning demonstrators were held in thirty-three towns over the state. The schools were conducted under the auspices of the Agricultural Extension service. So popular did these training schools become that women were enrolled from other states, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Idaho, and Wisconsin. One volunteer from a training school taught 191 women friends the art of canning, and set 500 as her goal before the season closed. This is a remarkable story, but the remarkable part about it is that the volunteer demonstrator did the work at "odd times," while working in a post office from 6:30 A.M., to 6 :30 P.M., with but thirty minutes for lunch.
No account of the work of the women of Nebraska would be complete without something of the really wonderful amount of Red Cross work that has been done by the women of that state. Captains of industry, wage earners, boy scouts, everybody, joined in the great Red Cross Campaign. Not only did Omaha oversubscribe the war fund in the week's campaign, but a mere handful of citizens pledged more than half of the allotment at a Red Cross dinner given three days before the campaign proper began.
The campaigns were no sooner over than the women, whose enthusiasm was now completely aroused by the patriotic rallies and publicity to the immediate and vital need for hospital supplies at the battle front, formed into Red Cross auxiliaries, thus enlisting thousands of voluntary workers in the great healing army.
Besides fifty-five recognized auxiliaries, whose members either work at the Red Cross workshop or elsewhere under expert supervision, and the thirty-seven auxiliaries in the public schools, which have 2,725 pupils in them, there are countless organizations making garments and knitting for the Red Cross. The children have consecrated their hours of play to service, their parents have practically abandoned all social obligation and, with eager hands inspired by earnest hearts, they are preparing the necessary supplies which will alleviate the suffering of our boys on the battle line. The President commandeered them and they answered his bugle cry to arms.
A bird's-eye view of the model organization of the thousands of people in Omaha now engaged in Red Cross work makes the idea that Omaha was handicapped in the beginning by the lack of a chapter seem like an absurdity. Notwithstanding, this was the situation, for with the exception of the Beatrice chapter and one or two small towns in the western part of the state which were organized under the Mountain division at Denver, there was nothing in the entire state upon which to build
With the growth of the Omaha chapter came hundreds of inquiries from every town in the state and from several adjoining states. Through the efforts of Mrs. Z. T. Lindsay, chairman of the woman's committee in the state, and Frank Judson, state director, every one of the 102 chapters have been established in the ninety-three counties, several chapters having branch auxiliaries. The membership on September 1, 1917, was as large as that of any state in the Union, population considered, or the largest membership per capita.
The officers are: chairman, Miss Sarka B. Hrbkova, 1st vice chairman, Mrs. W. W. Barkley, Lincoln; 2nd vice chairman, Mrs. J. N. Paul, St. Paul, President Nebraska Federation of Women Clubs; 3d vice chairman, Mrs. E. G. Drake, Beatrice, State Regent, D.A.R.; treasurer, Mrs. Keith Neville, Lincoln; secretary, Miss Annie L. Miller, Lincoln; auditors: Mrs. Jennie M. Rogers, Gibbon, State President Women's Relief Corps; Mrs. J. S. Claflin, University Place, State President Women's Christian Temperance Union; Mrs. Z. T. Lindsey, Omaha, Miss Mary Dungan Hastings, Y.W.C.A.; chairman of Registration, Mrs. A. E. Sheldon, Lincoln; chairman of Child Welfare, Mrs. Draper Smith, Omaha; chairman of Social Service, Miss Ida L. Robbins, Lincoln; chairman of Education, Miss Alice Florer, Lincoln; chairman of Red Cross, Mrs. Z. T. Lindsey, Omaha; chairman of Health and Recreation, Dr. James E. Callfas, Omaha; chairman of Americanization, Dr. Olga Stastny, Omaha; chairman of Liberty Loan, Mrs. A. G. Peterson, Aurora.
Nevada. The women of Nevada have gone about their war work with the energy and enthusiasm characteristic of the people of that state. The Nevada Division of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense was organized June 14, 1917. Immediately this Committee began to cooperate with the State Council of Defense and specific work was undertaken in accordance with existing conditions. It was decided that registration could best be taken by means of the food pledge and therefore efforts in these two lines were combined. Perhaps Nevada women have occupied themselves mostly with work for the Red Cross, the Food Administration and the Liberty Loan. The Red Cross seems to us so vital," says the state chairman, Mrs. Pears Buckner Ellis, "that it became the immediate concern of every patriotic man, woman and child in the state. The enrollment in this army of mercy has been phenomenal and large sums have been subscribed." In both sales of Liberty bonds Nevada has held a place close to the top, and in the food-pledge campaign the state has also made an excellent showing.
As president of the Federation of Women's Clubs and chairman of national and state defense work, Mrs. Ellis has been able to coordinate the work of the women of her state. "It is a great satisfaction to be able to say," said Mrs. Ellis, "that the women of the clubs have faithfully carried out instructions and have accomplished all the work laid out for them by the State Council of Defense and by the Woman's Committee. Through the aid and advice of Governor Boyle and of Mr. Henry Hoyt of the Federal Food Administration for Nevada, we have had most gratifying results. "
Mrs. R. G. Withers, of Reno, is secretary for the Nevada Committee, and Mrs. Harry Clarke,treasurer. Chairman of committees are: Registration Mrs. E. D. Boyle, Child Welfare, Mrs. Frank Ellis, Humphrey; Liberty Loan, Mrs. S. D. Belford, Home Economics, Miss Frances Hancock, Health and Recreation, Mrs. S. D. Eubank, Home and Foreign Relief, Mrs. Hugh Brown, Publicity, Mrs. George West.
Chapter XXIII. New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Mexico
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