Five College Archives and Manuscript
                        Collections
Home >> Smith College Archives >> War Service Records, 1905-1992
Smith College seal
War Service Records, 1905-1992
4 boxes (1.7 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 12

Abstract:
Contains correspondence, reports, news articles, publications, and photographs.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives except where noted in the finding aid.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The War Service Records focus on a small group of relief workers and their respective projects. Many of these volunteers were part of larger Smith units that were overseen by the American Red Cross, which was actively working overseas during, and immediately after, World War I. Most of these Smith groups were small, consisting of only 5-10 members. Their recollections are primarily in the form of extensive correspondence, both to family and the War Service Board. The collection documents not only post-war conditions in Europe and the Middle East, but also the social life of the volunteers. Due to strict censors, many of these letters were edited by the authors, in turn leaving out key information and specific details of their locations and work. In addition to parsing the letters down, many letters home were lost or failed to pass the censors, leaving the correspondence nonlinear and disorganized.

There is little background on the group of Smith relief workers sent to the Near East. Working under the supervision of the 'American Committee for Relief in the Near East,' a Red Cross organization, the volunteers worked in what is now known as the Middle East-specifically Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and Kurdistan. These volunteers were deployed during WWI to repair the damage wrought to these areas by conflict and battle. Many of these women were trained as nurses or experienced in social work; their primary responsibility was to make the local populations self-sufficient.

The Red Cross Relief Unit series contains materials relating to both Smith College and the Red Cross, as well as their combined efforts to create Smith relief units. The material in the collection does not relate to specific relief groups, but rather to the larger organizations. The series also contains commemorative material relating to Smith graduates who worked for the Red Cross, but were not members of one of the major relief units.

The Smith College Refugee Unit was formed at the request of the Smith College Relief Unit (SCRU) director, Hannah Dunlop Andrews. SCRU consisted of five social workers sent to work under the Refugee Bureau of the Red Cross in Orleans, France. Its director was Anne Chapin, Class of 1904, a SCRU member. The series is comprised mainly of volunteer correspondence. The letters express both the satisfaction the volunteers found in their work and the conditions of war-torn France, as well as the dismay they felt when the Red Cross decided to close its refugee camps.

The Serbian Relief Unit was sent to an orphanage near Belgrade, with a specific request for nurses and kindergarten teachers. Supervising the Serbian Relief Unit was the Child Welfare Association, whose purpose was to send aid to those areas not already receiving relief. It was under this unit that Elizabeth Williams, Class of 1891, began an orphanage in Serbia. Included in the collection are descriptive letters by kindergarten teacher Charlotte Wiggin, Class of 1908, and extensive correspondence by Williams herself. The letters relay the hopes of the volunteers, as well as the day-to-day tasks of running the unit.

'Other College Programs' is a small series that includes material from both the Vassar Training Camp for Nurses and the Wellesley Good Will Delegation. Smith graduates participated in both of these programs, though these alumnae were not affiliated with the respective colleges. These programs offered pertinent advice and skills to upcoming volunteers.

In 1918, the head of the Women's Overseas Council of the Y.M.C.A. approached New York Smith alumnae, suggesting that they form a unit of 10 women to serve as canteen workers in France. In June, the Alumnae Association endorsed the Smith College Canteen as a necessary war service activity, and the New York alumnae undertook the task of fundraising for the unit. After receiving permission from President William A. Neilson to form the unit, 10 Smith alumnae set sail in late spring, under the supervision of the Y.M.C.A. Harriet Ford Bliss, Class of 1899 and a SCRU relief worker, was asked to represent the SCCU in Paris. Second and third Canteen Units followed this first group. Upon arrival of the third group in France, the war was commencing and the Smith volunteers were only allowed to stay for the summer months. The purpose of the canteen unit was to offer supplies and serve meals to those who did not have access to the Y.M.C.A. relief huts stationed around France. These women volunteers rode in a Ford truck around the countryside, serving up to 2,000 meals daily, socializing with the locals, and providing soldiers with cigarettes and playing cards.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection focuses on the World War I relief efforts of Smith College students and graduates who were not part of the Smith College Relief Unit (SCRU). The collection is comprised primarily of volunteer files, which include correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and some memorabilia. Also included are official records consisting of organizational material and financial/personnel records.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives except where noted in the finding aid.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

War Service Records, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The records of the War Service Records were donated over a period of time to the Smith College Archives from a variety of sources.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English

Series Descriptions
(1919-1924)


This series documents the work of Smith students and graduates in the Near East. The bulk of this series consists of the extensive correspondence of Esther Greene, Class of 1901, to her family in the United States. Greene's files include many photographs of the areas that she worked in, as well as photographs of volunteers and local residents. Also included is the correspondence of Greene's fellow volunteers. Much of this correspondence is with the War Service Board. Ruth Henry Whipple's, Class of 1908, photograph album is also included in this series. The Near East records provide a detailed look into the life of relief workers, particularly those who worked with children, established orphanages, and who were interested in hygiene.

(1905-1992)


This series documents the work of Smith College volunteers for the Red Cross in France. There is organizational material included, as well as instructions for incoming volunteers. Most of the organizational records consist of correspondence in both English and French. The remainder of the collection includes material relating to specific volunteers. Included is a published book of letters written by Smith volunteer, Elizabeth Stearns Tyler, Class of 1909.

(1918-1919)


This series documents the work of the Smith College Refugee Unit in France. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence by three of the five volunteers. There is a small amount of background material pertaining to the unit.

(1918-1925)


This documents the work of a small group of women sent to do relief work in Serbia. Some background information is included, but the majority of the materials are information files on three of the volunteers. These files are primarily correspondence, with some organizational material.

(1918-1923)


This series contains records of two relief programs sponsored by Wellesley College and Vassar College in which Smith graduates participated. Materials consist of photographs, primarily from loose scrapbook pages.

(1918-1922)


The vast majority of the material in this series consists of the correspondence of SCCU volunteers, from each of the three Canteen Units. Also included in these files is some miscellaneous material. The remainder of the collection consists of memorabilia and photographs, as well as financial and organizational material.

Contents List
SERIES I. NEAR EAST RELIEF UNIT



Individuals


Box
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to family
Feb-June 1919

Box 160: folder 1
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to family
July-Sept 1919

Box 160: folder 2
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to family
Oct-Dec 1919

Box 160: folder 3
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to family
1920

Box 160: folder 4
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to family
Jan-May 1920

Box 160: folder 5
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence from father
June 1919-May 1920

Box 160: folder 6
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence to War Service Board
1919-1924

Box 160: folder 7
Greene, Esther (1901): Correspondence, miscellaneous
Feb 1919-July 1923

Box 160: folder 8
Greene, Esther (1901): Manuscript
1923, n.d.

Box 160: folder 9
Greene, Esther (1901): Near East Relief handbook
Jan 1919-Oct 1920

Box 160: folder 10
Greene, Esther (1901): Reports of relief work
1919-1920

Box 160: folder 11
Greene, Esther (1901): Photographs
n.d.

Box 160: folder 12
Greene, Esther (1901): Photographs
n.d.

Box 160: folder 13
Guest, Elma Cokefair: Correspondence
Aug 1919-Feb 1920

Box 160: folder 14
Henry, Ruth Whipple (1908): Correspondence


Box 160: folder 15
Note:

[See also Smith College Relief Unit records- Mary Goodman (1901) and Box 161- photograph album] Feb 1919-Nov 1920

Hill, Justine Hamilton (1916): Correspondence to War Service Board


Box 160: folder 16
Note:

[See also Smith College Honorary Degree files] Feb 1919-March 1920

Mitchell, Myra (1906): Correspondence to War Service Board
Feb 1919- Nov 1920

Box 160: folder 17
Moore, Alice (1912): Correspondence to War Service Board
Feb 1919- Nov 1920

Box 160: folder 18
Henry, Ruth Whipple (1908): Photograph album
1921

Box 161
SERIES II. RED CROSS RELIEF UNIT



General: Pamphlets and pins
1914-1920

Box 162: folder 1
Individuals


Box 162
Letters of Elizabeth Stearns Tyler: Publication
1920

Box 162: folder 2
Rice, Marion McCune (1905): Clippings
1905-1992

Box 162: folder 3
Young, Dorothy Amy (1902): Medical record
1919

Box 162: folder 4
SERIES III. SMITH COLLEGE REFUGEE UNIT



General
n.d.

Box 162: folder 5
Individuals


Box 162
Merrill, Ida (1906): Correspondence to Lewis, Mary
1918

Box 162: folder 6
Mitchell, Myra Agnes (1906): Correspondence
1919

Box 162: folder 7
Shaffer, Lucy Kennedy (1908): Correspondence
1918-1919

Box 162: folder 8
SERIES IV. SERBIAN RELIEF UNIT



General
n.d.

Box 162: folder 9
Individuals


Box 162
Childs, Carolyn Helfenstien (1902): Letter
1925

Box 162: folder 10
Wiggin, Charlotte (1908): Correspondence
1920

Box 162: folder 11
Williams, Elizabeth Sprague (1891): Correspondence
1919-1921

Box 162: folder 12
SERIES V. OTHER COLLEGE PROGRAMS



Vassar Training Camp for Nurses: Photographs
1918

Box 162: folder 13
Wellesley Good Will Delegation: Photographs
1923

Box 162: folder 14
SERIES VI. SMITH COLLEGE CANTEEN UNIT



General and organizational materials
1918-1919

Box 163: folder 1
Financial material
1918

Box 163: folder 2
Individuals


Box 163
Blodgett, Ruth Robinson (1905): Correspondence
1919

Box 163: folder 3
Clark, Anne Elizabeth (1921): Clipping and letter
1922

Box 163: folder 4
Jenkins, Anna Spaulding (1890): Correspondence and clipping
1919

Box 163: folder 5
Russell, Elizabeth Lincoln (1903): Correspondence
n.d.

Box 163: folder 6
Unit 1


Box 163
Abbe, Ruth Kennard (1911): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 7
Bowman, Agnes Gertrude (1911): Correspondence
1918

Box 163: folder 8
Durkee, Helen Winslow (1902): Correspondence
1918

Box 163: folder 9
Fullerton, Pauline V. (1905): Correspondence
1918-1920

Box 163: folder 10
Howe, Mary Reed (1902): Report
1920

Box 163: folder 11
McCluney, Mildred (1904): Report and photograph
1918-1919

Box 163: folder 12
Seeber, Elizabeth (1908): Correspondence and photographs
1918-1920, n.d.

Box 163: folder 13
Seymour, Mary (ex-1899): Correspondence
1918-1920

Box 163: folder 14
Souther, Edith (1902): Correspondence and report
1918-1919, n.d.

Box 163: folder 15
Tuthill, Stella (1907): Correspondence
1918-1921, n.d.

Box 163: folder 16
Wilson, Jean Shaw (1901): Correspondence
1918-1919

Box 163: folder 17
Witherbee, Edna (Schell) (1908): Correspondence
1918-1919

Box 163: folder 18
Unit 2


Box 163
Bean, Margaret (1913): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 19
Bridgers, Ann (1915): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 20
Eis, Florence Marion (1916): Postcard
1921

Box 163: folder 21
Hammond, May (1903): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 22
James, Isabel (1912): Correspondence
1919-1920, n.d.

Box 163: folder 23
Nash, Margaret (1904): Correspondence
1919-1921

Box 163: folder 24
Roberts, Mildred Frances (1915): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 25
Scandrett, Rebekah (1915): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 26
Williams, Olive (1912): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 27
Unit 3


Box 163
Beane, Katherine Edna (1908): Overview of service
1921

Box 163: folder 28
Frankenstein, Sally Moss (1912): Correspondence
1920

Box 163: folder 29
Hodgeman, Helen E. (1913): Photographs, passport
1919, n.d.

Box 163: folder 30
Hugus, Elizabeth (1916): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 31
Hunt, Harriet Larnard (1913): Photographs
1919

Box 163: folder 32
Knight, Katherine (1914): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 33
Vermilye, Katherine Rowland (1915): Postcard
1920

Box 163: folder 34
Wingate, Gladys Isabel (1908): Correspondence
1919-1920

Box 163: folder 35

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search