WAR RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS
THE FEDERAL COUNCIL
The Federal Council and some of its cooperating committees---National Allied Relief---Great bazaars of New York, Boston and Chicago---"Alley Festa" of 1917--- Fund for Fatherless Children and Munition Workers---International Reconstruction League---American Women's Hospitals---National Surgical Dressings Committee---American Women's War Relief---Stage Women's War Relief---American Ambulance, Millinery Branch-Statement about "Godmothering."
No chapter in the annals of America's part in the World War, and certainly none in the beautiful story of her charities, is more thrilling and impressive than that devoted to the relief of the unfortunate victims of the war. It is indeed doubtful whether in the entire history of the United States, so many persons of prominence have ever before been banded together with a common charitable object in view as are represented in organizations comprising the Federal Council of Allied War Charities. The magnitude of activities carried on by this organization is shown by the impressive fact that more than seventy-five distinct and separate agencies are harmoniously cooperating with the sole object of increasing efficiency and economy of operations and extending the wisest and largest possible measure of relief to the war sufferers. The federation of these organizations into a central body constitutes strength which could not otherwise have been realized. The funds raised for war relief through these agencies in three years amounted to $20,000,000, while the value of supplies shipped was $10,000,000, making a total of $30,000,000. The membership of these societies is more than 2,000,000, while branches or sub-committees of the organization number 5,000. Significant also is the fact that in the great allied bazaars of 1917 eighty-eight organizations cooperated.
The National Allied Relief Committee, New York, organized in July, 1915, immediately took rank in the forefront of war relief organizations of America, both in the matter of influence and effectiveness.
It has for its object the making known to the people of America the needs of the sufferers in the allied countries and to raise money for their relief, as well as to coordinate the activities of various committees appealing for funds and to cooperate with them. The success of the committee is eloquently evidenced by the steadily increasing number of important organizations which have affiliated themselves with it for cooperation. There are more than forty affiliated organizations. The total receipts of the National Allied Relief Committee to July, 1917, were more than $1,063,000. It is estimated that the committees operating with it have raised more than $10,000,000 in cash for the prosecution of war relief in the countries of the Entente Allies, and this is exclusive of very large contributions of goods and money forwarded through their efforts by the War Relief Clearing House.
The committee was organized by John Moffatt, Frederick H. Allen, T. C. Glenchoes, Norman Hapgood and Karl Davis Robinson, Its honorary president is Charles W. Eliot, President Emeritus of Harvard University and Mr. Norman Hapgood is president. Women have had an important part in the work of this committee and the vice presidents include Mrs. William Alexander, Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Fiske Warren and Mrs. Barret Wendell, The National Committee includes the names of Mrs. William H. Crocker, Mrs. Charles H. Ditson, Mrs. William Corcoran Eustis, Mrs. H. H. Jenkins, Mrs. James H. Kidder, Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, Mrs. Manson Smith, Mrs. Barclay H. Warburton, Mrs. Fiske Warren, Mrs. Barrett Wendell and Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer.
Women have had a large and a very important part in the success of practically all of the societies included in the Allied War Relief Organization. Many of them were organized and are operated by women, and there are none in which women are not working as auxiliary or active members. Many organizations of women devoting themselves to various lines of work, immediately upon the declaration of war in Europe, turned the full strength and power of their organization to war work, while numerous new associations were formed within a short time after war was declared.
Notable among the special relief work in which women have shared may be mentioned the Allied Bazaars of New York, Boston and Chicago. Before November, 1917, the total net profit for war relief from these sources was $1,479,459.33. This was divided as follows: New York, $484,826.27; Boston, $459,339,29; Chicago, $535,293.77. While this is not strictly a woman's organization the women worked untiringly for the success of these bazaars and to them much of the credit of this success is undoubtedly due.
In November, 1917, nearly one hundred war relief organizations cooperated in the greatest charity bazaar ever held in America. This was called "Hero Land" and while figures are not available at this writing it is doubtful if any similar event in the world has ever been more brilliant or has brought more financial results than this wonderful bazaar for war relief held in Grand Central Palace in New York City.
The "Alley Festa" held in 1917 in New York in the famous MacDougall Alley was one of the most unique and successful war relief entertainments that has been held in America. Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was honorary treasurer and Mrs. William A. Delano, Mrs. Walter E. Maynard and Mrs. Ralph Sanger were members of the management committee. The entertainment committee consisted of Mrs. Charles B. Dillingham and Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt, Jr. The Festa netted the magnificent sum of $62,.263.73 for the American Red Cross and the Allied War Charities. So well was the affair managed that the expenses were only ten cents on the dollar
The American Committee of Allied Home Fund for Fatherless Children and Woman Munition Workers, has headquarters at 360 Madison Avenue, New York City; the committee supports the Lady St. Helier House for Women Munition Workers, and the orphanage established by the French Heroes Fund at the Chateau de Chavaniac Lafayette in France, and has a home for women munition workers in London. It also cooperates with the Committee of Mercy, the French Heroes Fund, and the International Reconstruction League and the League of the Allies. Mr. Norman Hapgood is Chairman of the Executive Committee, which is composed of Mr. Frederick H. Allen, treasurer, Queen of Belgium Fund; Mrs. William Astor Chanler, president, National Allied Relief Committee; Mr. Er Lawshé, executive secretary, French Tuberculosis War Victims Fund; Miss Elsa Maxwell, honorary secretary, Le Bien-Être du Blessé; Mrs. Walter E. Maynard, of French Tuberculosis War Victims fund; Mr. John Moffat, president Russian War Relief Committee; Mr. Karl Davis Robinson, executive secretary Committee of Mercy; Mr. Thomas Randolph Turner, executive secretary, International Reconstruction League; Mrs. H. J. Whigham, of the French Heroes Fund, and Mr. Louis Wiley, of the League of the Eleven Allies. The Committee has for its object the relief of women sufferers and of war orphans.
The American Committee of the International Reconstruction League, 360 Madison Ave., New York, has three great purposes: immediate relief work for the suffering war victims of Europe while the war lasts; American aid for Europe's stricken people when the war shall end, and the gigantic task when rehabilitation begins; the education of public opinion throughout the world as to the practicality of a world-wide arrangement to insure a lasting peace, with America pledged to the support of such an arrangement. The League plans to remain permanently in existence, and to undertake relief work instantly in any part of the world where war or disaster shall make assistance necessary. The League was founded in February, 1916, and its receipts up to July, 1917, amounted to nearly $185,000.
The American Women's Hospitals, organized by the War Service Committee of the Medical Woman's National Association, is an organization of the women physicians and surgeons of the United States to render international service during the war. The plans of the organization have been approved by the Surgeon General of the Army and by the Director General of the Department of Military Relief of the American Red Cross. The work has the following divisions: Hospitals for Civilian Relief, with associated dispensaries, these to go especially to the devastated portions of Serbia, France, Russia and Roumania; Service in Army Units in Europe; Army Hospitals for Acute Convalescent Cases in Home Zone; Substitution Service in American Hospitals and in Private Practice for the doctors who go to Europe and a Dental Department. Rosalie Slaughter Morton, M.D., is Chairman of the War Service Committee, and Sue Radcliff, M.D., is Treasurer. Headquarters, 637 Madison Ave., New York City.
America has no greater war relief organization, nor one that has rendered a higher service, than the National Surgical Dressings Committee with headquarters at 299 Fifth Avenue, New York City. This Committee, organized in 1914 for voluntary war relief, shipped for distribution among the hospitals of war-stricken Europe within the first two years of its existence more than 18,000,000 surgical dressings. It aims to be the medium through which generous and sympathetic Americans who are desirous of giving their time and money for alleviating the sufferings of the wounded, can make and send surgical dressings to the hospitals in the war zone, many of which have not the barest necessities for caring for the sick. The Committee has successfully strived to maintain two principles-first, the real spirit of service, and second, economy in administration. No executive salaries are paid, and all rent, equipment, packing and shipping facilities, etc., have been donated. The national work is organized under state chairmen whose duty it is to start sub-committees in small cities and towns throughout their respective states. Each subcommittee ships to headquarters for reforwarding to Europe. The distribution of supplies in Europe is equally well organized. Bureaus run by voluntary committees are established in Paris and Bordeau for France and Belgium, in London for England, the English Front in Flanders and France, Servia, Salonika, etc., and in Rome for Italy. Each hospital is served on requisition from the nearest Bureau without delay or duplication. Over 1,800 hospitals are served on the Continent. The Committee is officially recognized in all countries where it operates. It appeals to its workers for finished dressings, and, on request, supplies full directions for mailing, packing, shipping, etc. It also receives gifts of money with which to purchase materials. It cooperates with the American Red Cross, the National League for Women's Service, and the Women's Department, National Civic Federation. Mrs. Mary Hatch Willard is chairman, and Miss Carita Spencer is vice chairman.
American Women's War Relief Fund, 360 Madison Ave., New York City, is composed of American women married to Englishmen and resident in England, who organized themselves immediately upon the outbreak of the war, to express their sympathy with Great Britain and to aid their adopted country. Their first work was to supply six motor ambulances for use on the Front, and the seventh ambulance, subscribed by friends in Boston, in the United States, was presented to the War Office. The offer of the fund to equip and maintain a surgical hospital of 200 beds, in South Devon, was accepted by the War Office in August, 1915, and this hospital, which has treated several thousand cases, both medical and surgical, with an unusually small death rate, has been maintained ever since. The total subscriptions have amounted to more than $600,000.
The Stage Women's War Relief has for its slogan "Serve or Pay," and its nearly one thousand members literally live up to it. These women have given a tremendous personal service in addition to money. The organization grew by leaps and bounds, and before it was a year old its achievements were remarkable. One of the most strikingly successful of its undertakings was that of furnishing entertainment in the training camps. The first of these was given at Fort Myer in the summer of 1917, and proved so successful that by fall of that year the New York managers had acceded to the request of the organization that a system be worked out by which all the camps in the country could be reached. At the Twelfth Night Club, New York City, many jars of jam and preserves were collected and sent abroad, and the Fulton Theatre, New York City, was made the headquarters to which quantities of old clothes and shoes were sent for the destitute people of Europe. Mrs. Howard Schnebbe was in charge of this work Communications addressed, Fulton Theatre, 206 West 46th St., New York City, will receive attention.
The organization began to do its bit in food production and conservation by taking three acres on Long Island and putting it into potatoes, corn and garden truck, with the idea of extending this enterprise the following year if the experiment proved successful. Christian Blessing volunteered to oversee this work. Miss Dorothy Donnelly conceived the idea that the Stage Women's War Relief should have a workroom all its own, where only women connected with the Theater should work, and this workroom has been, from the beginning, one of the busiest places in New York. Mrs. Sally Williams Riegel became executive manager and Miss Minnie Dupree head of the surgical dressings department. Then Grace George dreamed a dream and set about to make it come true. The Stage Woman's War Relief should have a base hospital of its own! The Professional Woman's League and the Three Arts Club immediately cooperated by opening branches for making hospital garments, and then the children of the stage organized to knit and sew for the children of Belgium. The officers are Rachel Crothers, president Elizabeth Tyree Metcalf, honorary vice president; Louise Closser Hale, first vice president; Dorothy Donnelly, second vice president; Mary H. Kirkpatrick, secretary; Louise Drew, treasurer; Mrs. J. Stuart Blackton, chairman of Moving Picture Committee.
The Board of Directors consists of Jessie Bonstelle, May Buckley, Minnie Dupree, Eleanor Gates, Mrs. Henry B. Harris, Alice Kauser, Frances Starr, Laurette Taylor, and Sally Williams Riegel, executive manager of Workroom Headquarters, 366 Fifth Ave., New York City.
An organization that has had almost spectacular success is the American Ambulance Millinery Branch, which has its general headquarters at 15 West 44th Street, New York City. The organization was started in May, 1917, on the initiative of Mr. B. J. Garfunkel, of New York City. The first meeting was held at the Yale Club and the purpose as stated at that meeting was to create funds to develop a Millinery Unit in connection with the American Ambulance Field Service in France. In six weeks it collected over $45,000. The organization has twenty two general motor trucks in operation in France and maintains a ward in the American Hospital at Neuilly. The officers are: executive chairman, Samuel Zucker, New York City; treasurer, Alfred I. Simon, New York City; executive secretary, B. J. Garfunkel, New York City.
A number of organizations, prompted by a beautiful spirit, early in the war undertook what is known as "godmothering." While in many cases this work proved to be a boon to lonely soldiers, it was found to be impracticable when internationally viewed from a military standpoint. While it seemed a pity to interrupt work that had been prompted by real patriotism and work that often meant so much, it be came necessary for the authorities to issue a statement to the effect that "godmothering" was not approved by the military authorities. Mrs. Philip N. Moore, chairman of the Health and Recreation Committee of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, made it a point to see the Secretary of War in person and to ask him for information on this point. Subsequently a statement went out from the Woman's Committee to this effect: "Neither the War Department nor the Woman's Committee furnishes names of soldiers for 'godmothering,' "says Mrs. Philip N. Moore, chairman of the Health and Recreation Department of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. "While the Department appreciates deeply the fine spirit in which the women are offering to write to soldiers at the front, the experience of France and England has proved that the plan ultimately works more harm than good. General Sibert,recently issued a statement from France to this effect, and shows his marked disapproval of the idea. We receive so many letters asking us for names of soldiers that a statement should be made through the press stating that we are not indorsing the plan. We will send out to our state committees a plan of organized work which is being done under the direction of the Commission on Training Camp Activities. This Committee, I understand, has authorized only two agencies to take charge of such questions concerning camp activities as that of 'godmothering.' These are the sub-committee on Protective Work for Girls of the New York Probation and Protective Association, Miss Maud Miner, director, and the 'Hostess Houses' Committee under 'Proper Chaperonage for Girls,' 600 Lexington Avenue, New York City, Miss Katherine Scott, director."
Chapter XXX. Vacation Association, Needlework
Guild and Other Agencies
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