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Women and the War in North Carolina

A Partial Report of the Work of Women in North Carolina During the First Year of the War, April 2, 1917-April 2, 1918-Based Upon Material Collected by the Department of History of the State Normal and Industrial College, and Compiled by Misses Mabel Tate and Naomi Neal, of the Class of 1918.

We read from time to time, in the daily press, of the work of the women of the warring nations abroad. Name any field you like, munitions, hospitals, police, mail-carriers, omnibus conductors and you find women replacing the men in various situations and occupations. Even on or near the battle-front, they answer the call of bleeding and crushed humanity, as in every other field of work, with successful and untiring efforts to conserve and construct. As the shadow of the Great War is thrown athwart our own land, women are called upon to "do their bit" here, in ways no less untried. "The achievement of American women in the world war of 1917 will stand in no shadowy and uncertain outline against the background of the history that the future generations will read; for woman's share in the nation's task in this gigantic struggle for the freedom of the races is to mark a new era, both in the conduct of the war and in the history of the woman movement." No sooner had this country been forced into the conflict than national leaders as individuals began to pay high tributes to the value of woman's work in the prosecution of the war and to ask for the co-operation and assistance of the women in formulating the war emergency program. President Wilson pays this tribute to the women of America:

"I think the whole country has appreciated the way in which the women have risen to this great occasion. They have not only done what they have been asked to do, and done it with ardor and efficiency, but they have shown a power to organize for doing things, on their own initiative, which is quite a different and a very much more difficult thing. I think the whole country has admired the spirit and devotion of the women of the United States. It goes without saying that the country depends upon the women for a large part of the inspiration of its life. That is obvious. But it is now depending upon the women also for suggestions of service, which have been rendered in abundance and with distinction of originality."

Such a tribute is being paid by scores of nationally influential individuals.

Not only those heroic women who, as Red Cross Nurses, will accompany our soldiers to France, and those who, at home, are devoting their time, talents, and energies to work specifically connected with the war, but all of our women can do and are doing their part to bring the great struggle to a successful conclusion. The home-makers are doing their part by careful and intelligent planning, by the most economic and wise use of food supplies. Others are striving to place about the Army and Navy environments which will conduce to improved military morale and efficiency of our fighting forces and place the Army and Navy upon a higher standard. Only a few may have the opportunity of rendering service at the front; but there will be important work for those who remain in the country. For the nursing profession, there is the Public Health Nursing and Child Welfare Work which must not be neglected. To relieve medical men for service at the front, women physicians might also be employed for service at convalescent hospitals at home in the treatment of soldiers who return on account of chronic conditions. In civil life, many positions can be filled by women, releasing men for service. For many without business or professional training, or for the spare moments of those who have family duties or are self-supporting, there remains the great work of collecting and distributing useful articles for our soldiers and sailors through the many organizations conducted for this purpose. And it would be well for the millions of women of America to appreciate "how much their individual effort adds to the final sum of our national effort.

Physicians and Nurses

Among the women of whom North Carolina shall ever be proud are service in the camps either in this country or in France. The list as the physicians and nurses who have nobly volunteered and are now in reported by the representatives is as follows:

BurkeMiss Mary MurphyRed Cross Nurse in France
CaldwellDr. Margaret Castex SturgisNot reported
CaldwellMiss Helen GristNot reported
CaldwellMiss Mabel GoforthNot reported
CaldwellMiss Elizabeth HarrisonNot reported
CherokeeMiss Nina AxleyRed Cross Nurse in El Paso, Texas
ForsythMiss IseleyNot reported
ForsythMiss Elizabeth ClingmanNot reported
ForsythMiss Maud ChalmersNot reported
ForsythMiss BodenhamerNot reported
ForsythMiss Ione BrancheNot reported
ForsythMiss Valley ArmstrongNot reported
ForsythMiss Mary AmblerNot reported
ForsythMiss Mamie TimberlakeNot reported
ForsythMiss Treva KirkNot reported
ForsythMiss Ada F. PageNot reported
ForsythMiss Luella ChrismanNot reported
ForsythMiss Maud BengeNot reported
ForsythMiss Nora TaylorNot reported
GuilfordDr. Mary S. MilesChairman Red Cross Educational Com.
GuilfordDr. Anna M. GoveCivil Relief Service in France
GuilfordDr. Joy Harris GlascockNot reported
LeeMiss Ruth WickerMember Dr. J. W. Long's Hosp. Unit No. 65
LeeMiss Laura DoubMember of U. S. Army Hospital No. 16
MaconDr. Mary E. LaphamSupt. of Tuberculosis Hosp. in France
MaconMiss Annie VaughnDr. Lapham's private secretary
MaconMiss Margaret BrysonVolunteer to go to France
SampsonMiss Mary HerringRed Cross Nurse in France

New Occupations

Eager to grasp every opportunity of service, the women have entered new occupations. In the Navy, two North Carolinians have been reported as yeomen:

Miss Kathleen Michaux of Burke County.
Miss Earle White of Pamlico County.

As an appreciation of the way in which the women of North Carolina have entered upon their new fields, we are glad to quote the following letter:

"When the work of the Legal Advisory Board for the County of Vance, in aiding registrants with their questionnaires, threatened to assume proportions beyond the ability of the board, the chairman invited Miss Leah H. Perry to form a woman's auxiliary board. She promptly undertook the work, and gathered a number of ladies, who were assigned offices in the Law Building, occupied by Mr. Bennett H. Perry previous to his entering the military service. These ladies were appointed full associate members of the Legal Advisory Board, and took the oath of office required by law. Their service was equal to the best. Their quick intelligence enabled them to handle the work efficiently, and with dispatch. They attended during office hours as promptly, remained on duty as steadily, and did their work as well as any man connected with the work. It was largely owing to the very high efficiency of their service that not once during the period of the questionnaires issues was the work of the Legal Advisory Board carried over to the next day. It is the only instance, I know, where women received such appointment. I have very great pleasure in testifying to the value of this work, and still more pleasure in expressing my personal appreciation, and that of the board, of the unselfish, devoted patriotic service of these ladies. I desire to mention them by name; that this thing which they have done shall be spoken of as a memorial of them. They are:

Miss Leah H. Perry
Miss Mary Butler
Miss Jessie P. Harris
Mrs. Neita W. Allen
Miss Florence Butler
Mrs. Etta M. Cheek
Miss Lucy C. Kittrell
Miss Annie M. Jones
Miss Mabel L. Clopton
Miss Gertrude F. Harris

Thomas M. Pittman,
Chairman Legal Advisory Board for Vance County."

Source: Women and the War in North Carolina, Department of History of the State Normal and Industrial College, Compiled by Misses Mabel Tate and Naomi Neal, of the Class of 1918.

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