LOUISIANA, MICHIGAN AND OTHER STATES
Louisiana governor issues proclamation making registration of women compulsory---Defense work in Maine ---Existing organizations in Maryland form woman's committee---Results amazing---Admirable plan of organization adopted in Massachusetts---What Boston has done---Michigan women help save cherry crop---Wayside markets established---Lavish use of posters proved effective---Meals for soldiers.
Louisiana. Louisiana is the only state where the registration of women was made compulsory. Governor Ruffin G. Pleasant issued a proclamation fixing October 17, 1917, as "registration day in Louisiana for women." As this is the first time in the history of this country that such a proclamation has been issued, the full text of the proclamation is interesting. It follows:
WHEREAS, by Act of Congress a Council of National Defense has been established in the interest of national security and welfare and
WHEREAS, this council deems it wise and essential to secure a census of woman power of the nation-which census shall serve to inform the government:
(1) as to the present state of preparedness of women along industrial lines;
(2) as to the training that is desired by those wishing to
equip themselves for industrial, philanthropic, or social service;
(3) as to those who are home-makers, and who, by registering, automatically place themselves in a position to be reached by the Council of National Defense when its program demands their cooperation;
(4) as to actual service, volunteer or for remuneration, that may or may not be counted upon in time of emergency; and,
WHEREAS, on account of the fact that this information will be of great permanent value to the government, the Council of National Defense has asked that the aforementioned census be taken state by state; and,
WHEREAS, the legislature of the State of Louisiana has empowered the State Council of Defense to require such a registration; and,
WHEREAS, the State Council of Defense had decreed and required that such a census be taken under the personal supervision of the Governor of Louisiana,
NOW THEREFORE, I, RUFIN G. PLEASANT, Governor of the State of Louisiana, do hereby proclaim WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17th, 1917, as REGISTRATION DAY in the State of Louisiana, and do hereby require that, on the above appointed day, every woman in Louisiana of the age of sixteen complete or more, shall appear at the registration booth in her political precinct to register such information as the State Council of Defense requires.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF I hereunto set my hand and cause to be affixed the great seal of the State of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this the fourteenth day of September, 1917.
BY THE GOVERNOR:
(Signed) R. G. PLEASANT,
(Signed) JAMES J. BAILEY,
Secretary of State.
The registration being entirely under the supervision of the Governor the entire corps of state officials actively cooperated with the Woman's Committee. The State Food Commission also cooperated and registration and food pledges were signed the same day. The State School Board granted a holiday in honor of the unusual event, as the school authorities felt that there was urgent need of the assistance of the teachers, especially in the rural districts. Women to the number of six thousand were officially commissioned to conduct the registration and they worked in cooperation with the state Food Conservation officials and the parish Demonstration Agents.
In the French sections of the state the priests rendered a valuable assistance to the women by personally appealing to their parishioners. Hand bills were printed in French, house to house canvass was made; speeches were delivered in picture shows, schoolhouses, courthouses, churches, and city halls. Everywhere the women met with cordial response. Even the negroes were quite alive to the situation, meeting sometimes with the white people and sometimes at the call of their own pastors. The Committee sought the cooperation of the churches of all denominations and letters were sent out to all pastors asking them to speak to their people from their pulpits.
"If you know Louisiana, "one of the Committee members said, "with her marvelously beautiful tracts of rich but almost untouched land, her Cajun parishes, her natural indolence, and her reluctance to be inveigled into any 'northern scheme'-above all her difficulty in realizing that beyond her own gorgeous greenness and resourcefulness there is the stark horror of war---you will understand the difficulty of our work. But in spite of these difficulties and because of the splendid reports coming in from our chairman every day, we, in Committee headquarters, are feeling confident of success."
So thoroughly were the women of Louisiana alive to their patriotic duty that within two months after the Woman's Committee began its operations every parish (the parishes in Louisiana correspond to counties in other states) with one or two exceptions, was organized, and the fact that Louisiana swamps are not always navigable accounts for the organizations not being state-wide.
In this state the women worked very successfully through the congressional districts. Early in the work one fact began to shine and that was that the war work the women were doing was going to have a marvelous effect on the illiterate element of the population. This alone would have made every effort more than worth while.
It should be stated that the expense of the organization work in Louisiana was met by voluntary contributions and the volunteer spirit has been from the beginning most beautiful.
The officers are: chairman, Miss Hilda Phelps, first vice-chairman, Mrs. J. D. Wilkinson, second vice-chairman, Mrs. James M. Thomson, secretary, Miss Bertha Wolbrette, treasurer Mrs. Joseph E. Friend, publicity chairman, Mrs. E. W. Arny,: Executive Committee: Mrs. W. S. Holmes, Baton Rouge; Mrs. H. B. Meyers, New Orleans; Mrs. W. J. O'Donnell, New Orleans; Mrs. Philip Werlein, New Orleans; Mrs. William Polk, Alexandria, Mrs. A. F. Storm, Morgan City.
District chairmen are: Mrs. Wm. Porteour, New Orleans; Mrs. A. F. Storm, Morgan City; Mrs. W. H. Fullilove, Jr., Shreveport; Mrs. James R. Wooten, Monroe; Mrs. W. S. Holmes, Baton Rouge; Mrs. H. B. Myers, New Orleans; Mrs. Wm. Polk, Alexandria.
Maine. Maine is one of the states in which the new war emergency organizations have not been perfected promptly. However, the women of the state individually and through the clubs and other organizations are doing their full share in war work of all kinds. Maine has been an especially valuable contributor to the Red Cross work and through the clubs has participated in all lines of defense work. It is to be regretted that at this writing no formal report of the work of the Maine women has been received at Washington either by the Woman's Committee or by the National League for Woman's Service and that, therefore, the report from that state must be limited to this brief statement.
Maryland. The story of the war work of Maryland women is one of absorbing interest. The plan of organization and method of operation is worthy of special attention and may be followed with profit in other states.
The Women's Section of the Maryland Council of Defense was formerly called the Women's Preparedness and Survey Commission of Maryland, having been appointed by Governor Harrington on April 10th, 1917, for two purposes, viz.: to consider all problems relating to women and their work that might arise during the war and to coordinate the work and develop the resources of the women of Maryland so that their efforts in war emergency work might result in the highest degree of efficiency.
Twenty-six women, nearly all of whom have been active in movements for social and civic betterment, were appointed a State Commission to guide and direct the work throughout the state, and five women in each county were appointed a County Commission to carry out the plans outlined by the State Commission in the various counties as far as could be done. The work in Baltimore City, which is not located in any county, is directed and supervised by the main body. Mrs. Edward Shoemaker, of Baltimore City, was appointed state chairman by the Governor, Mrs. Benjamin Corkran, Jr., vice-chairman, and Mrs. William Milnes Maloy, secretary.
On April 12th, Mrs. Shoemaker called the first meeting of the State Commission, consisting of twenty-six women, and plans for organization and work were outlined. Mrs. Oscar Leser of Baltimore was elected treasurer, and an executive board was chosen consisting of the four officers and three members of the State Commission (Mrs. Franklin P. Cator, Mrs. Charles E. Ellicott, Mrs. Jacob M. Moses). Due to press of duties connected with the Committee on Recreation at Mobilization Centers, of which Mrs. Cator is chairman, and her connection with the Y.W.C.A. in Baltimore, of which she is president, she was forced to resign as a member of the executive board, and her place was filled by Mrs. William Cabell Bruce, of Ruton, Baltimore County. State chairmen of the various committees were appointed, each being selected by reason of peculiar fitness for the work assigned to her committee.
As soon as the Governor had completed his appointments on the county commissions a meeting of the county chairmen (appointed as such by Governor Harrington) and the State Commission was held. This was on May 3rd, at which time, the plan of organization and work as outlined was approved, and from that time on, work all over the state has been progressing rapidly.
All war work in Maryland is carried on in the most systematic way. The Executive Board of the State Commission meets regularly every Tuesday at 10:30 A. M. The twenty-six members of the State Commission meet every third Thursday in the month at 2 P.M. and a joint meeting of the county chairmen and the State Commission is an all day meeting, the morning session lasting from 10:00 A.M. until 12:30 P. M. and the afternoon session lasting from 2 P.M. until 5 P.M.. . Every three months, beginning with the first Thursday in October, a general meeting of all members of the Council throughout the state is held.
The name of the Council was changed by legislature act to the Maryland Council of Defense in June, 1917, at which time the Men's Preparedness and Survey Commission received legislative recognition by statute and was styled the Maryland Council of Defense.
Scarcely had the Women's Commission been appointed when it was called upon by the Men's Council to assist in correcting, tabulating and filing the census returns taken in Maryland of all males over sixteen years. Mrs. C. Baker Clotworthy chairman of the Volunteer Emergency Service Committee, was asked to take charge of this work, and within two days, about two hundred volunteers had been secured. These volunteers worked in shifts of from fifteen to thirty-five every day for two months, under the personal direction of Mrs. Clotworthy who went to the office of the Men's Council every day at nine o'clock and remained throughout the day to instruct the volunteers, each of whom was obliged to promise to devote at least four hours a week to the work before being instructed.
Another large piece of work carried out by means of the organization of the Council was the decoration of the places of registration on June 5th, under the direction of the Patriotic Education Committee and the Americanization Committee, with the aid of the Motor Messenger Service. The President's War Message was distributed under the direction of the same committee. Two hundred and sixty thousand Hoover Pledges have been distributed in Maryland.
"Our big task," said one of the Council members, "is to arouse women to a sense of patriotic duty to work in the canneries, as well as to conserve food in the homes. The newspapers are very cooperative and have given our work much space. This work was part of the general plan of the Committee on Women in Industry which is cooperating with the Bureau of Registration and Information of the National League for Women's Service. In accordance with the plan worked out in conference with the Executive Officer of the Bureau, the Committee holds itself responsible as far as possible to secure an adequate supply of woman labor in industrial plants holding Government contracts. By way of preparation for this work, a survey has been undertaken for the purpose of locating industries in which there may be an over supply of woman labor. The object of this survey is to place us in a position to transfer women from one industry to another whenever this is possible."
In order to encourage women to conserve food by means of canning, etc., the Home Economics Committee secured the services of an expert supplied by the Maryland Agricultural College, and she has from time to time formed classes in the city of Baltimore where women may bring vegetables and can them under her direction. A demonstration agent is also supplied to each county in the state. So as to reach more women than could be gotten to the classes established by the expert in Baltimore City, the women published a notice in the newspapers, that instruction would be given in canning and drying vegetables, either by telephone from our headquarters, or in the housekeeper's home. This stimulated interest greatly and the expert Home Demonstration agent has all she can do to give the information requested concerning the canning of fruits and vegetables.
In addition to the activities outlined above the women of Maryland have done a great deal of Red Cross Work.
The War Emergency Work in Baltimore is especially interesting. The Home Garden Committee had been interested in gardens of all kinds in Baltimore for some years, and since its organization six years ago, has been a committee under the Women's Civic League. When Governor Harrington of Maryland appointed the Women's Preparedness and Survey Commission (Maryland being the first state to have such a commission with both men's and women's sections) the chairman of the Home Garden Committee was made a member and the work taken over under the new name of Food Production Committee of the Women's Preparedness and Survey Commission. Later the Commission became the Maryland Council of Defense-Woman's Section, a branch of the national organization.
A local newspaper has been offering cash prizes for the best back yard gardens for the last eight years. This year the prizes were offered only for vegetables and the work so greatly stimulated that the contest was closed when the number reached fifteen thousand.
Twenty-five vacant lots, the use of which was donated by the owners, were plowed and fenced by the committee. Street dirt for fertilizers was given by the Street Cleaning Department. The lots were divided into about an eighth of an acre plots, which were worked by families in the neighborhood, each family paying one dollar nominal rent-some families taking several plots. Each lot constitutes a community farm-several of which had flag raising with prominent citizens (members representing other educational and patriotic organizations), as speakers. Most of the gardeners have availed themselves of the lessons at the local canning centers.
Children's gardens are in all the city parks worked in cooperation with the Playgrounds Association. The children gardeners regularly harvest their Sunday dinners; one child had sufficient vegetables for a family of nine. In 1917 two hundred and eighty-six children had park and playground gardens.
The School Board has cooperated with the committee, and there were thirteen school gardens, containing total number of five hundred and ninety-five individual gardens. The largest garden being that at the Louisa Alcott school, which has one hundred plots, eighteen feet square. One little nine-year-old girl by her indefatigable efforts has been an inspiration to the other little gardeners.
Eight gardens in the various institutions-orphan asylums, old men's homes, girls' homes and so forth, also worked under the committee supervision.
Increase in the neighborhood and civic pride
Hearty spirit of cooperation
Desire for more efficiency
Practically no vandalism
Increased food in congested district
Each gardener contributed some of his products to a stall at the Community Market of Baltimore for an exhibition and sale, proceeds to be used in starting new gardens for the next year.
The department chairmen for Maryland are: Miss Kate McLane, Mrs. William Reed, Mrs. E. H. Worthington, Mrs. Frances Sanderson, Miss Sallie R. Carter, Mrs. Charles E. Ellicott, Miss Anne Graeme Turnbull, Mrs. Jacob M. Moses, Mrs. Frances T. Redwood, Mrs. Julius Freeman; Mrs. B. W. Corkran, Jr.; Mrs. C. Baker Clotworthy, Dr. Anna Abercrombie, Mrs. Franklin P. Cator.
Maryland women have not overlooked the colored women in their plans. The work of this Committee is carried on entirely through colored organizations, which undertake all lines of war emergency work that they are willing to perform. A member of the Commission is chairman of this Committee and representatives from the colored organizations serve on the Committee.
Massachusetts. The plan followed by the women in Massachusetts is a most admirable one and has proved thoroughly workable. The Woman's Committee has worked from the beginning in close cooperation with the Public Safety Commission of Massachusetts and has offices in the quarters of that organization at the State House. As is usual when the Woman's Committee is closely linked with an existing strong organization, much has been accomplished. Monthly conferences of women representing organizations and individual women are held. At these meetings reports of the work of all departments is given as to the best method of procedure along all lines. Naturally much inspiration and information is exchanged and practical results are attained. These meetings have been largely attended and vitally interesting. Practically every city and town in the state has a chairman who sees that the plans of the central committee are carried out in her own home town. Another feature of the work that has made for success is the fine spirit of cooperation that is broadly manifested. Practically every woman's organization in the state, according to the chairman's report, is cooperating to do work required in order that duplication may be avoided.
The women did valuable work in cooperation with the State Food Administration in the drive of September, 1917, and during that month letters were sent out broadly to the women of the state. Request was made that the people of Massachusetts eliminate the use of white bread for two days each week. Two weeks after the letter was sent out reports were received and the results were highly satisfactory to the food administration. The custom of eliminating white bread for two days a week in Massachusetts will continue indefinitely.
A great deal of valuable work was done in connection with the boys in Camp Devens, at Ayer, Massachusetts, in cooperation with the Travelers' Aid Society. Prizes were offered for "War Time Cookery" in connection with the state and county fairs, the work being under direction of Mrs. L. A. Frothingham, of North Easton. A movement was started to encourage women to make their own soap, "war bread" and ''war cake," and receipts for these were inserted in the local papers of the state. A number of fish recipes were also included and the use of fish instead of meat requested. Equally effective work has been done for the Liberty Loan and in the interest of child welfare. Young people have been systematically encouraged to take training for some useful pursuit. Red Cross work was greatly intensified.
Boston has cause to be proud of the special training her institutions have offered for special training for the men and women of New England in the national crisis. Military authorities of this country and Europe outlined the courses in Harvard's military camp. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Tufts School of Engineering have done their part in war training. Secretary T. Lawrence Davis, the organizer and director of Boston University's war emergency courses, placed before Secretary of the Interior.
Mr. Redfield, his plans for a course in intensive business training for women, to meet the demand for trained women in business. The approval of the Department of the Interior was instantaneous. These courses offered by the Boston University are free, except for a nominal charge for text books and supplies.
Prominent educators and business men and women have volunteered their services and their efforts will result in equipping hundreds of young women for positions in the business world. The courses cover a period of eight weeks.
The officers of the Massachusetts Woman's Committee are: Mrs. Nathaniel Thayer, chairman; vice-chairmen, Mrs. Herbert J. Gurney, Mrs. A. C. Ratshesky, Mrs. Michael M. Cunniff, Mrs. Frank D. Ellison, Miss Anna T. Bowen, secretary and treasurer, Mrs. William W. Taff.
Michigan. On March 27, 1917, a number of women, heads of prominent women's organizations of the state of Michigan, met in Lansing to consider the formation of a Woman's Committee which would weld together the women of the state and take up various forms of patriotic service. Rev. Caroline Bartlett Crane, LL. D., was elected chairman, and the committee was named the Michigan Woman's Committee of Patriotic Service. In May, Dr. Crane was appointed by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, chairman of the Woman's Committee of Michigan Council of National Defense, and the former organization was at once merged in this permanent committee of the Woman's Committee, Michigan Division, Council of National Defense.
Dr. Crane, realizing the need of placing at once special emphasis upon food production, immediately laid plans to aid the farmers of the state in testing seed corn and removing smut from oats. It being almost impossible to secure seed potatoes, some twelve hundred bushels of potatoes were purchased by Dr. Crane and sold at cost price to the farmers in Kalamazoo and neighboring counties.
Special features of work during the summer months were the Hoover Pledge drive and the safeguarding of every possible avenue for food conservation. High school brigades were mustered to save the cherry crop, clearing houses established in different cities for the sale of the surplus crops, and the exchange of labor, glass jars, etc. Thousands of canning demonstrations were held in the state. At the suggestion of the Woman's Committee, many farmers established wayside markets by their farm homes, thus disposing of vegetables and fruits to automobile tourists.
In response to a call from the head of the Michigan Board of the American Red Cross, in September Mrs. Crane sent out a letter to all local chairmen, asking that a special effort be made to interest aged people, women in institutions, and others who had not been reached by the Red Cross, in knitting. Many and unexpected responses came to this appeal. Teachers in high schools asked for instructions, that the high school pupils might knit; Campfire Girls and troops of Boy Scouts took up the work; firemen were to be seen at their knitting; while from all over the state the unfortunate ones in institutions were doing their "bit" for their country.
Michigan believes in a lavish use of printers' ink. Ten thousand posters have been placed throughout the state in a "Cut Down Deliveries" campaign. Daily news service is furnished sixty daily papers, and special feature and Sunday stories are sent out.
In different sections of the state effective work has been carried on along unusual and novel lines. At Grand Rapids eight hundred soldiers were fed for four weeks by the local unit of the Woman's Committee, Council of National Defense, these meals costing twenty-five cents each and giving perfect satisfaction. Two thousand dollars was thus saved, which was expended for extra comforts for the soldiers.
The Muskegon Unit gave a big patriotic pageant, "The Building of the Nation." In addition to affording a patriotic entertainment which was thoroughly constructive, through the participation of the children of all nationalities represented in the community, a splendid work of Americanization was begun. With the heartiest approval of their priest, and the most genuine enthusiasm on the part of the little folks, the Polish children gave one of their national dances.
The Saginaw Unit of the Woman's Committee, Council of National Defense, solved the problem of Food Marketing through the medium of the park market. In one of the city's parks the women opened a market, to which farmers and truck gardeners brought their produce.
Throughout the state work along the various department lines has been emphasized, Mrs. O. H. Clark, chairman of Women in Industry, securing a volunteer factory inspector in each of the eighty-three counties of the state.
The Department of Food Administration has as its head Miss Georgia L. White, Dean of Home Economics of Michigan Agricultural College. Valuable emergency courses in the latest methods of food conservation were held at the College, and hundreds of teachers went abroad over the state to give demonstrations. Menus for meatless and wheatless days were prepared, and suggestions for the help of women to keep all the Hoover commandments were sent out.
Mrs. R. H. Ashbaugh of Detroit, chairman for Michigan of the Woman's Liberty Loan committee of the Treasury Department, and also chairman of the Liberty Loan committee of the Woman's Committee Michigan Division, Council of National Defense, appointed leading and able women as chairmen in every county of the state.
The Woman's Committee, Council of National Defense, appropriated $500 to assist the nurses of the state in making a special survey of nursing and hospital resources of the state for the service of both the army and civilian population.
The Woman's Committee, through local committees at Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and other near points, doing special work for the boys at Camp Custer. Churches were opened as club houses; two evenings a week open house is held at the various lodges of the city; special services for the soldiers Sunday afternoon are followed by informal suppers; permanent home committees have been organized to furnish lists of rooms and houses to men, their families and friends, and to invite Camp Custer men to the city's home for Sunday dinners and committees have also been organized to mend for the soldiers.
A thorough survey of cities and towns was taken prior to the registration of the woman power of the state, that the Woman's Committee might know the agencies for good or bad, employment condition status of charities, etc.
In 190 cities and town fully officered organizations have already been established and many township committees consisting of chairman and secretary have been appointed. Fifty-three state-wide organizations are now affiliated with the Woman's Committee, Michigan Division, Council of National Defense.
Headquarters have been established in Kalamazoo where on the first floor of a business block on one of the city's main streets, the passers-by may see exhibits of defense work, the newest posters, and read the latest war bulletins.
Dr. Crane is frequently in the field addressing conferences, federations, and other large bodies on defense work, and her addresses are widely quoted by the newspapers of the state.
In July, Governor Albert E. Sleeper named a woman's committee on War Preparedness, appointing Dr. Caroline Bartlett Crane, chairman, who with six other members serves as an intermediary between the Michigan War Preparedness Board and the Woman's Committee, Michigan Division, Council of National Defense; the War Preparedness Board making an appropriation of $7,000 to this work.
Officers and Members of the Woman's Committee on War Preparedness are: chairman, Mrs. Caroline Bartlett Crane, Kalamazoo; vice-chairman, Mrs. O. H. Clark, Kalamazoo; treasurer, Mrs. Frances E. Burns, St. Louis; members: Mrs. Florence I. Bulson, Jackson,; Mrs. Georgia L. White, East Lansing; Mrs. G. Edgar Allen, Detroit; Mrs. Emma L. Uren, Houghton; secretary Mrs. Clay H. Hollister, Grand Rapids. Executive Board, Woman's Committee, Michigan Division, Council of National Defense: chairman, Mrs. Caroline Barlett Crane, honorary chairman, Mrs. Albert E. Sleeper, 1st vice-chairman, Mrs. O. H. Clark, 2nd vice-chairman Mrs. Florence I. Bulson, 3d vice-chairman Mrs. Ida M. Hume, 4th vice-chairman, Mrs. Edgar Allen, 5th vice-chairman, Miss Georgia I. White, 6th vice-chairman, Mrs. Emma I. Uren, secretary, Mrs. Clay H. Hollister, corresponding secretary Miss Bina M. West, Port Huron; treasurer, Mrs. Frances E. Burns.
Chapter XXII. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Nevada
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