What the women of Medford are doing in the present War crisis.
As the events of today are making history, it is fitting that the Register record the work of Medford women. Four societies, distinctly patriotic in character, have worked along these lines many years. The oldest, S. C. Lawrence Relief Corps, was formed thirty-eight years ago, being the fifth in Massachusetts, auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic. While organized in the interest of those veterans and true allegiance to the United States, it is not strange that initiative steps in time of war should be taken by the local corps. During the Spanish American war, and in the later Mexican trouble, Grand Army hall was a busy center for work for Company E. In the present European war, preparedness work was again started in the same hall, several of the older members of the corps enjoying the distinction of having engaged in similar work in 1861, 1898 and 1916. In co-operation with the Special Aid Society for American Preparedness two hundred comfort bags, one for every boy who enlists from Medford, have been made and filled with useful articles. Fourteen were sent to the enlisted boys from Wellington, being paid for by a benevolent individual from that section; twelve were called for, to supply those going from the high school; and the remainder are stored in the armory, ready for distribution, and more will be furnished if needed. Hand-in-hand in the same work, ever remembering the unselfish life of their namesake, and ready not only to emulate the deeds of their fathers, but to aid others in the service of our country, is Sarah E. Fuller, Tent 22, Daughters of Veterans. With equal loyalty to the cause of liberty for which their sires fought in ‘76 are the Daughters of the American Revolution, named for Sarah Bradlee Fulton, whose name has come down in Medford annals as one of her loyal patriots. The Chapter, Mrs. Ellen L. Tisdale, Regent, is holding special meetings every Monday afternoon [p. 57] in the slave quarters of the Royall house. Their special line of work is the bandages and fracture pillows called for by the local Surgical Dressings Committee in aid of the Allies. Carolin R. Lawrence Spanish War Veterans Auxiliary is of more recent formation. They too are doing their ‘bit’ in commendable work for preparedness and service. These four societies, through their efforts to inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country among the children by presenting flags to the schools and telling of Old Glory and the principles it represents, have unconsciously been giving first aid in patriotic valor to the ‘Boys in Olive Drab’ who are now nobly responding to their country's call. With the formation of the Medford Branch of the Special Aid Society for American Preparedness in April, representatives of the numerous local societies and churches joined their forces for co-operative work. Much interest is being manifested in its various activities. The membership in Medford has already reached over one thousand, which includes earnest, patriotic women and girls in all walks of life, each realizing the necessity of asking herself what she can do to assist in the present war crisis. Many have noted on cards the particular activity in which they have had training, and stand ready to serve when needed. Others are taking immediate steps in some line to make themselves proficient for service. The officers of the Special Aid Society for American Preparedness are:— President, Mrs. M. A. Atkins. Vice-president, Mrs. Willard Dalrymple. Secretary, Mrs. E. I. Langell. Treasurer, Mrs. Charles H. Barnes. And a Board of Directors. Committee chairmen are: Information—Mrs. A. P. Vialle. Membership—Mrs. H. P. Van de Bogert. [p. 58] Emergency—Mrs. Charles T. Daly. Ways and Means—Mrs. L. C. Boynton. Publicity—Mrs. George S. T. Fuller. Navy League Work—Miss Katharine H. Stone. Food Production and Conservation—Miss Laura P. Patten. Home Workers—Mrs. James Rogers. Work for Company E—Mrs. Herbert F. Staples. Permanent headquarters were secured in the Medford building and an information bureau installed, with committee in daily attendance. A list of articles needed for the relief work in France, also patterns and samples, are there for the use of workers who apply. Mrs. Daly, for the Emergency Committee, has secured the use of several halls, homes and autos, also beds and cots in preparation for any emergency call, and the promise of funds to buy dry food when needed. The Woman's Navy League Auxiliary began its work the middle of March, but when the Special Aid Society was formed it became one of its committees. Its work has been largely in the line of knitting warm garments for the men of the naval reserve and coast patrol. Already nearly three hundred articles have been sent by the Medford knitters and the work is going on. The Hillside group have made a specialty of knitting for the navy. In addition to the sleeveless sweaters and mufflers sent to the boys at Marblehead, other articles have been supplied to the Naval hospital at Chelsea, the women of the Universalist church furnishing numerous helpful articles and hospital supplies. With the imminent possibility of a food famine it has been no uncommon sight to see the women and girls of Medford with hoe in hand to help increase the number of gardens and the production of foods, while many lawns and flower-beds have been sacrificed that an extra amount of potatoes might be planted. The Food Production and Conservation Committee has been alert. Miss Patten has given two courses of lectures and demonstrations on the canning of fruit and [p. 59] vegetables, and will conduct a third course during the summer. Miss Lura Wakefield has given two lectures on ‘Meat Substitutes’ and ‘Feeding the Family,’ also an evening course of five lectures on the ‘Cold Pack Process of Canning.’ Medford housewives and teachers alike have profited by these practical demonstrations. The committee has also aided the school-garden work and offers prizes for canned fruits and vegetables to be exhibited at the fall show of the Horticultural Society. It is of interest to note that since April the girls of the high school have completed a total of five hundred and ten separate hospital articles under the direction of their sewing teacher, Miss Miriam R. Woolley. The Medford Teachers' Club has shown its interest by donating a sum of money to aid the work, raised from a successful military whist party given under the direction of Miss Amy W. Bradbury. Wellington women are showing noticeable energy, Mrs. Joseph C. Smith, chairman. Mass meetings have been held, an entertainment to provide funds for their work, and a successful plan to increase the fund by weekly pledges, with Mrs. I. A. Ordway collector. An interesting feature is a class of forty girls and about twenty boys who meet in the Wellington Club house for instruction in knitting caps, sweaters and washcloths for the French wounded, under the direction of Mrs. E. G. Goullau. Mrs. George Randall has been kept busy supplying the yarn through the Navy League Committee. The Home Workers Committee supplies material to many unable to attend the meetings but who desire to lend a hand. The Woman's Volunteer Aid Association (although short lived) did commendable work for the Light Guard at the Mexican border. To John D. Street, president of the Volunteer Aid Society is due its inception. Much enthusiasm was aroused with Mrs. Charles Holyoke president and an active board of directors. [p. 60] Mrs. Willard Dalrymple had charge of a very successful concert given at the Medford theatre through the courtesy of Manager Hackett. Thirteen hundred tickets were sold and a goodly sum realized for relief work. Mrs. B. F. Haines and her efficient committee were much appreciated in social service work. The Surgical Dressings Committee is composed of Mrs. George L. Bachelder, chairman. Mrs. William B. Lawrence. Mrs. George S. Hatch. Miss Fannie B. Chandler, secretary. Miss Ruth Carroll, treasurer. Since starting its work in November, 1915, it has prepared 84,130 dressings, which were sent to the Peter Bent Brigham hospital for sterilization and then carefully packed and sent abroad to be used by all the allied nations. During the summer of 1916 the committee made 2,731 Red Cross dressings, which were stored in Boston for future use. These have since been forwarded for use among our wounded at the front. Last but not least among the useful agencies is the Medford Branch of the Metropolitan Chapter of the American National Red Cross, organized April 23, 1917, at the Armory, with the following officers:— Chairman, Mrs. Charles Holyoke. Vice-chairman, Miss E. Josephine Wilcox. Secretary, Miss Harriette McGill. Treasurer, Sidney Gleason. It started under favorable circumstances with four hundred Medford members who had been engaged in Red Cross work. Others rapidly became interested and now its membership is one thousand plus. Headquarters are established at the library annex on High street, in front of which floats the familiar badge of the original society, a red cross on a white ground, chosen out of compliment to the Swiss Republic, where the first convention was held in 1863, their colors, a white cross on [p. 61] a red ground, being reversed. Attendants are on duty every afternoon, and much work is given out and the finished articles received by the Sewing Committee, Mrs. Lyman Sise, chairman. Some of the Red Cross groups already busily employed are:— Woman's Christian League (W. M. Cong. Ch.), Mrs. W. E. Farr, chairman. Tufts College Auxiliary, Mrs. A. H. Gilmer, chairman. Woman's Alliance (Unitarian), Mrs. Charles Sawyer, chairman. Sesame Club, Miss Miriam Clark, chairman. Catholic Woman's Club (W. M.), Miss Kate Duane, chairman. Watchful Circle (King's Daughters, S. M.), Mrs. C. L. Carpenter, chairman. Sarah E. Fuller Circle (King's Daughters, S. M.), Mrs. G. S. T. Fuller, chairman. Grace Guild (Episcopal), Mrs. Julia Hadley, chairman. Mystic Congregational Church, Miss E. Josephine Wilcox, chairman. Trinity M. E. Ch., (W. M.), Mrs. Herbert A. Weitz, chairman. Union Congregational Church (S. M.), Mrs. Frederick Blandford, chairman. Baptist Church (W. M.), Mrs. Jennie Lougee, chairman. Hillside Universalist, Mrs. G. F. Harvender, chairman. Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls and many individuals are also engaged in the work. Since May 8 a total of 1,305 finished articles have been sent to the Red Cross rooms in Boston. Mrs. Lincoln F. Sise has charge of the educational work. One class in first aid has finished the course and are prepared to receive their certificates. Other classes in first aid and home nursing are being formed. Unlike the other organizations mentioned in this article, the Red Cross admits men to its membership, but the women's part in it is a large and important one. Following the recent proclamation of President Wilson, naming the week of June 18, 1917, as Red Cross Week to raise a fund, the women of the local branch were busy placing Red Cross boxes in the churches, stores and places of amusement, which received a generous response. One young lady conceived the idea of drafting her pet [p. 62] dog ‘Cinnamon’ into Red Cross service. Stationed in Medford square, the pockets on his attractive blanket marked with the Red Cross drew many dollars from cheerful givers while passing by. The graduating class of the Lorin L. Dame school donated money which had been collected for their refreshments of ice-cream. A group of young tennis players arranged a tournament and from its proceeds turned $10.00 into the fund. Many incidents of personal effort and self-sacrifice made to aid in the appeal to Medford for the Red Cross War Fund might be related. Treasurer Herman L. Buss of the Campaign Committee reports for the Medford Branch $4,516.30. In telling the story of what the women of Medford are doing in the present war crisis it is safe to say that the half has not been told, for no doubt other local societies, community groups, church circles and individuals in the quiet of their homes are also worthy of record for a liberal share in the great struggle for a democracy embracing the freedom of the world.