OKLAHOMA, PENNSYLVANIA, OREGON AND RHODE ISLAND
Oklahoma women wide awake---Work to eliminate commercial waste ---Efforts in interest of families of enlisted men---Pennsylvania wonderful record in war work---Chester County model for the nation---Women' organizations in Oregon constitute Woman's Committee---Club women active---Rhode Island women distinguish themselves by taking military census.
Oklahoma. "The Oklahoma women are very wide awake and are doing their 'bit' with willing hands and happy hearts in the service of their country," said Mrs. Eugene B. Lawson, of Nowata, chairman for Oklahoma.
Practically every county in the state is organized. Besides a chairman in each county, there is a vice chairman located in Oklahoma City, Mrs. E. Z. Wallower, Miss Gertrude Strahl has charge of Muskogee and Mrs. C. E. Lahman of Tulsa; Tulsa and Oklahoma City established exchange markets which were strikingly successful.
Books and magazines were sent to the soldiers in training at Fort Sill (Lawton) Oklahoma, and in each county the soldiers who have left for training have been given entertainments, equipment kits and everything that seemed due them in recognition of their patriotic undertaking.
At the state and county fairs patriotic demonstration day was observed, with patriotic speaking, etc., and the Council of Defense and the Woman's Committee worked very harmoniously over the state in perfecting the organization of defense work.
Oklahoma has done exceptional work along four lines as follows: (a) food production and conservation; (b) publicity for patriotism; (c) maintaining school standards; (d) Liberty Loan. The work is financed by the State Council.
Particularly effective was the work of the women of Oklahoma City under Mrs. Wallower. The establishment of a central market where unsaleable supplies were sold at a very low figure to people of small means, and aggressive steps to eliminate commercial waste, were among the early enterprises of the Oklahoma City women. All of the wholesale and retail stores of the city were canvassed. Surplus fruit and vegetables which otherwise would be thrown away, were procured at a time convenient to the grocers, when a committee of young women, headed by Miss Ethelyn Johnson, called in their automobiles for the produce and took it to a central place. There the food was sorted and arranged and sold one evening of the week at a very low price. The growers were asked to cooperate in this plan which was designed to aid them also. Farmers who had fruit and vegetables spoiling on the ground, and who were willing to donate them, were asked to notify the Committee.
In connection with the elimination of commercial waste, a committee made an investigation of the sale of bread in Oklahoma City. This information was requested by Dr. Stratton D. Brooks, the federal food administrator for Oklahoma, who in turn passed it on to Mr. Hoover.
It was ascertained that the prevailing loaf size by weight is supposed to be a pound, but it varies from 14 to 19 ounces, and that this loaf sells for 10 cents. A larger loaf varies in weight from 20 to 23 ounces. It is known as the pound and a quarter loaf and sells for 15 cents retail. There are no chain stores or department stores selling bread so far as the committee could ascertain.
The dispatch and thoroughness with which the Oklahoma City women organized is inspirational. The city committee is organized along the following lines: finance, economics and food conservation, registration and war relief work. One of the most interesting and important of its enterprises was the establishment of an educational department and food facts bureau, to fill a practical need. To carry on this work, Mrs. Wallower selected officers-an executive board, consisting of chairmen of various committees. The committee encouraged the planting of community gardens, the utilization of vacant lots and home gardens in back yards. It established canning stations throughout the city to care for vegetables that otherwise might be wasted, and to comply with President Wilson's call to use what is grown near by and thus to save transportation, and to have food to donate this coming winter where there is a shortage. These canning stations are open to the farmer, the amateur or the professional, who may bring food there to be canned. In the work of food conservation, the city is divided into neighborhood districts under the leadership of a committee of chairmen, of which Mrs.
Thomas G. Chambers is the head. These centers are presided over by local chairmen, who, through a house-to-house canvass, draw in the unorganized women until each center is thoroughly representative of the locality. These workers acquaint those not already informed of the world situation, and particularly the food shortage. They tell the people definite things to do, and wherever possible, show the uninitiated how to do them. District meetings are held to which women from the central bureau will go to give short, interesting talks, and when possible, practical demonstrations are added. In this capacity, the committee sought the cooperation of the board of education, in order that the schools with their domestic science equipment might be available.
The war relief committee was formed through the agency of the woman's committee. This committee undertook to make a list of the married men who are in active service, so that any of their families left without support might receive assistance. Relief is also given visiting soldiers who may be stranded.
The state officers are: chairman, Mrs. Eugene B. Lawson, Nowata; vice chairman, Mrs. E. Z. Wallower, Oklahoma City; vice chairman, Miss Gertrude Strahl, Muskogee; vice chairman, Mrs. C. E. Lahman, Tulsa; secretary, Mrs. J. A. Burns, Nowata; treasurer, Mrs. Lee Clinton, Tulsa. Information and Publicity: Miss Edith Johnson, Oklahoma City; Registration: Mrs. Tom Hope, Ada; Child Welfare: Dr. Leila E. Anderson, Oklahoma City; Liberty Loan: Mrs. C. N. Ames, Oklahoma City; Home and Foreign Relief: Mrs. G. A. Brown, Mangum; Finance: Mrs. Lee Clinton, Tulsa; Speakers' Bureau: Mrs. Tom Hope, Ada.
Pennsylvania. The war work of the women of Pennsylvania furnishes an exceedingly interesting chapter in the history of America's war activities. There are a number of large well-organized defense and war relief organizations in the state, each of which maintains its individuality and all of which are coordinated under the Pennsylvania Division of the Council of National Defense. One of the most important of these is the Committee of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the function of which is to provide for the safety of the Commonwealth in time of war. Among other things it is to give aid to all forms of enlistment for the army and navy; to bring about unified action in behalf of all nonmilitary and semi-military organizations, and to consider with the utmost care the state's industrial resources and transportation facilities with respect to availability and importance to the nation in any crisis of its activities.
The Pennsylvania Division of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense has harmoniously and enthusiastically come under the plan of organization suggested by the National Woman's Committee at Washington. It has stated its particular function and the way in which these functions will be carried out briefly and clearly and the information in printed form has been broadly distributed to the women of the state. The chairman of the Committee is Mrs. J. Willis Martin. The vice chairmen are: Mrs. John C. Groome, Mrs. Edward S. Lindsey, Miss Ann McCormick, Mrs. John O. Miller, Mrs. Thomas Robins, and Mrs. Edward P. Stotesbury, Mrs. H. S. Prentiss Nichols is secretary and Miss Helen Fleisher is treasurer. The Department chairmen are as follows: Registration: Mrs. Walter King Sharpe, Food Production: Mrs. Louis Piollet, Food Conservation: Mrs. Charles M. Lea, Women in Industry: Mrs. Thomas Robins, Child Welfare Mrs. Edwin L. Mattern, Maintenance of Existing Social Agencies: Mrs. Helen Glenn Tyson, Liberty Loan: Mrs. John L. Miller, Home and Foreign Relief: Mrs. Reed A. Morgan, Health and Recreation: Mrs. John Gribbel.
Fifty-four counties in Pennsylvania have perfect working organizations each county being organized under the same departments as the state. Chester County is called the Model County of Pennsylvania and the chairman of this county, Miss Martha G. Thomas, has done an especially valuable work.
The American Red Cross in Pennsylvania is divided into three main classes. The Administrative Division includes the enrollment of members in all branches of the service and also includes extension work for the Red Cross, such as cooperation with other societies and the organization of branches and auxiliaries. The Department of Military Relief covers the supply service. The educational work includes first aid for men and women, home care of the sick, etc. Another branch of this department has to do with military units, including base hospitals, motor ambulances, training and sanitation, etc. The Department of Civilian Relief is organized to provide for the dependent families of enlisted men in all branches of the military service of the country. There is also a Committee on Town and Country Nursing. In the work of all these departments the women have, of course, had a very large share.
The National League for Woman's Service is strongly organized in Pennsylvania. The chairman is Mrs. Edgar W. Baird, Mrs. James Starr, Jr., is vice chairman, Mrs. William Gray Warden, secretary, and Mrs. Henry S. Jeanes, treasurer. Mrs. Thomas Robins is state chairman for Industry. The activities of the League are the same as those of the Leagues throughout the country.
Another organization doing extensive war work is the Pennsylvania Railroad Women's Division for War Relief, of which Mrs. George Dallas Dixon is chairman, Mrs. William Wallace Atterbury, vice chairman, Mrs. Lewis Neilson, secretary, and Mrs. O. J. DeRousse, treasurer. The functions of the organization are to organize the women of families of Pennsylvania Railroad employees, and others for preparedness in the event of war; to be ready to work effectively for the relief of suffering and to be ready, in so far as possible, to facilitate the solution of the labor problems of such a crisis by being trained to take the places of men employees who have been and may be called to the service of their country. This work is being accomplished through eight cooperating departments with a director for each. There are approximately 3,000 members. The work follows the lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad, with units in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and in the cities of Washington and New York.
The Philadelphia section of the Navy League of the United States has done a great deal of valuable work. The honorary chairman is Mrs. Alexander Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Moncure Robinson is chairman, Mrs. Horatio Gates Lloyd, treasurer.
The Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania, one of the most effective of the war societies in America, has headquarters in Philadelphia and branches in various parts of the state. It acts as a clearing house in Pennsylvania for relief work at home and abroad, and was officially appointed by Governor Martin G. Brumbaugh as agency to receive communications and supplies of all kinds for the soldiers of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has active representatives and working committees connected with numerous relief organizations. Among these are the Allied Arts Committee, Mrs. Edward K. Rowland, chairman; The American Ambulance Committee, Mrs. George Wharton Pepper, chairman; The Armenian Committee, Mrs. George R. Lorimer, chairman; the Belgian Relief Committee, Mrs. Bayard Henry, chairman; The British Committee, Mrs. E. Burd Brubb, chairman; The British-American Committee, Mrs. Robert E. Strawbridge, chairman; The Food Economy Committee, Mrs. Charles M. Lea, chairman; The French War Relief Committee, Mrs. Cornelius Stevenson, chairman; The Food for France Fund, Mrs. Rodman E. Griscom, chairman; Home Relief Division, Mrs. John C. Groome, chairman; Italian Committee, Mrs. Benjamin Miller, chairman; Montenegrin Committee, Mrs. John C. Groome, chairman; Motor Messenger Service, Mrs. Thomas L. Elwyn, chairman; Overseas Committee, Mrs. Edward K. Rowland, chairman; Polish Relief Committee, Mrs. Robert von Moschzisker, chairman; Russian Committee, Mrs. William Ellis Scull, chairman; Serbian Committee, Miss Nina Lea, chairman; Surgical Dressings Committee, Mrs. Rodman E. Griscom, chairman.
Chester County, Pennsylvania, has been called the model county of America so far as organization is concerned. The leaders in Chester County modestly disclaim this title but the story is worth telling, and if other counties in America have claim to this honor it will probably inspire them to come forth and announce it. The story of the organization of Chester County is best told by Miss Emily T. Hoopes, secretary:
It happened that an organization known as the Community Movement had developed here, the plan of which was very similar to the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, so that last May when the State Division organized we were ready to proceed at once under their direction.
The history of this Community Movement is interesting. We have here at West Chester a County Fair annually in the late summer at which there has always been a Day Nursery for the babies whose mothers could not come to the Fair without them. In 1916 owing to the epidemic of Infantile Paralysis, this tent was not needed for this purpose. Two or three of the progressive women of the Community evolved the idea of using the tent for an exhibition of the work of the women of Chester County. They therefore built booths and asked every woman's organization to make exhibits of posters or any visual demonstration of their work. A large number responded. Side by side the Peace and Preparedness, the Suffragists and Anti-Suffragists showed their activities. The women themselves were amazed to find all that was going on in the County.
As a result they decided to have a series of "Get Together" luncheons at which speakers from outside addressed from two hundred to two hundred and fifty women, gathered from all over the County, on subjects on which they could unite.
Great enthusiasm developed, the outcome of which was a Child Welfare Week at the New Century Club House, West Chester. In the basement there were again exhibits by thirty different organizations interested in welfare work of different sorts. In the afternoons was held a series of meetings addressed by speakers of national standing from the Russell Sage Foundation, from the Children's Bureau at Washington, and in fact from any organization which was doing the best work for the care of children.
Again a further step was taken and it was decided to keep a rather loose organization with a permanent secretary and a chairman chosen at each meeting. The residents of County Organizations of women forming the Council to be known as the Community Movement. So many lines of work opened up that a Field Secretary was employed for two months. We were in this state the first of June, and because we so nearly approximated the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense we dissolved the Community Movement and reorganized under the Woman's Committee.
We are in the process of organizing the fifty-seven townships and thirteen boroughs and one city into Units of this Committee. So far we have nine boroughs, twenty-two townships and one city organized. We are rapidly completing the organization and by the time winter sets in expect to have even the remote townships organized.
The work multiplied so it was found necessary to take offices, to employ a secretary and a stenographer. Several of the Departments already have constructive programs in partial operation. The Food Conservation Department was very active during the summer and we are now emphasizing the work of Registration and Liberty Loan. We try to keep flexible yet active and the fact that the Public Safety Committee of Chester County turned over to us the Campaign of the Hoover Food Cards, and asked our cooperation when the Food Conservation Train came to West
Chester that the County Superintendent of Schools has appealed to us to help solve the serious problem of the decreased attendance of the rural schools owing to the demand for the boys and girls on the farm, makes us feel that heavy responsibilities rest upon us.
The project is financed privately as there is no provision for the Woman's Committee. The effort is to secure contributions of a moderate size from a number of people scattered throughout the County for the first year. After that time some plan for regular income will be made if we prove, as we believe, that we are needed in times of peace as well as in times of War.
Oregon. Presidents of all women's organizations in the state constitute the executive board of Oregon's Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. The organization is on a good working basis and there has been a hearty response to every appeal the committee has sent out.
Within a short time after war was declared The Oregon Federation of Women's Clubs, Mrs. Charles H. Castner, president, sent out letters to the clubs of the state and received responses from over 140 clubs. This letter was in the interest of food conservation. This work of the Oregon women presented an interesting phase of war work. The State Agricultural College made a complete census of the labor requirements of the farmers of the state, and enlisted all school boys not of military age, or not possessing military qualifications, in a working reserve, known as the United States Boys' Working Reserve. The plan was to place these boys on farms as they are required, and as conditions warrant. The State Federation was assigned an important part in the work, in that it was asked to check up on housing, living and general conditions existing on farms where these boys are to be placed. This is to give to their parents the assurance that they will be well cared for. The work was a very important one and the Oregon women did it with pronounced success. A committee was named in each county. A number of reliable and efficient women were appointed by the president of each club at the request of the state president, and these women placed themselves at the disposal of the county agriculturist. The Federation pledged itself, when war was declared, to do any service within its power and the pledge was conscientiously kept.
When the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense was organized in Oregon, Mrs. Charles H. Castner was made chairman and she immediately sent out a stirring appeal to the women in her state in the interest of registration, Hoover pledges, and other lines of work suggested by the Woman's Committee at Washington. The Committee received financial assistance from the State Council of Defense. The Women' Christian Temperance Union of Oregon has done especially effective war work.
The officers are: chairman, Mrs. Charles H. Castner, Hood River; 1st vice chairman, Mrs. Jennie M. Kemp, Portland; secretary, Mrs. C. F. Fisher, Portland; treasurer, Miss Julia Cogswill, Portland; vice chairmen, presidents of all women's organizations of the state.
Rhode Island. The women of Rhode Island distinguished themselves and rendered valuable patriotic service in the taking of a military census of the state. The National League for Woman's Service was organized early in April, 1917, with Mrs. Rush Sturges as chairman. On April 22 this organization received a letter from Colonel Webb, who had been appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island to direct a military census which the Legislature had by vote decided to take. This census was planned to include all men sixteen years old or over and it was thought such a census would be of value in checking up conscription figures. In his letter to the League Colonel Webb asked the women to assist in taking this census and stated that 2,500 census takers would be needed. The women were quite willing to accede to his request but they asked that women also be included in the military census. The work proceeded on this basis, the state authorities paying all expenses, printing blanks, etc., and the women organizing and taking the census. The state was divided into districts, 200 enumerators being allowed to each section. The women in charge of the census selected the best organized women's organizations in the state and asked their active cooperation, which was cheerfully given. These organizations were the Congress of Mothers, the Federation of Clubs and the Suffrage League. These organizations in turn selected from among their own leaders women whom they knew to be efficient and capable and by this means the very best women of the state were in charge of the work. The census was taken on June 11, 1917.
The appointment of the Woman's Committee in Washington and its subsequent organization by states came when the women of Rhode Island were in the midst of preparations for the census. They wisely concluded not to interrupt the organization under which this work was being done so effectively until the completion of the task in hand. Later, however, the National League for Woman's Service, of which Mrs. Rush Sturges was chairman, voted to coordinate its work under the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, Mrs. Sturges having been made chairman of the Rhode Island Woman's Committee. The state is well organized under the Woman's Committee and a great deal has been accomplished in food conservation and other war programs outlined at Washington. Mrs. William M. Congdon, of Providence, is secretary of the organization. She was formerly president of the Federated Clubs of the state and has brought experience and sound judgment to the newer organization. The vice chairman is Mrs. Horace G. Bissell, the 2nd vice chairman, Mrs. E. S. Moulton, and the treasurer, Mrs. Clara E. Craig.
As evidence of how the men at the head of important affairs connected with war work depend on the assistance of women, the letter from Colonel Webb, referred to above, is interesting. This letter was received by Mrs. Hollister, Secretary of the National League for Woman's Service for Rhode Island, on April 24, 1917, from Colonel George H. Webb, Directory of the Military Census which had been ordered by the Governor. In the course of this letter Col. Webb says:
The patriotic cooperation of the women of Rhode Island is asked at this time, and we believe that it will be as freely given as it will be frankly sought.
We need 2,500 enumerators in the various cities and towns of the state, one for approximately each 100 males 16 years of age and over, to make a house-to-house canvass that the work may be promptly and efficiently done.
If the women of Rhode Island are willing to undertake the enrollment of this force of volunteer enumerators the Governor of the State and the Director of the Census would appreciate it more than words can express.
It would be a real help, as well as a big demonstration of patriotic willingness on the part of the women of Rhode Island to serve their country and their state at a time when they are needed, if they would undertake this important task. We would establish headquarters for you here at the State house and furnish you with such clerical assistance s you might need to accomplish the desired end.
Chapter XXVII. South Carolina and Other States
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