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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Getting Base Hospital 46 Ready for Service -- Funding and Martha Randall

More on the women personnel of Base Hospital 46 in World War I -- Martha Randall, R.N.

In the summer and fall of 1917 personnel of Base Hospital 46 from the University of Oregon Medical School were faced with a fund-raising challenge. The national Red Cross required each base hospital to raise enough funds to equip the unit, initially estimated at $42,000 (about $1 million in today's dollars adjusted for inflation). This at a time when the nation was also asking residents to buy liberty bonds, contribute to the Red Cross and other organizations, and when prices were rising.

"Hospital Unit Seeks Fund," Oregonian, October 12, 1917, 7.
Base Hospital officials did something that may sound familiar to some of us -- they asked each person who had volunteered for service with the unit to raise money -- $5 per person, almost $100 in today's dollars.

"Woman's Clubs -- First Meeting of the Fortnightly Club," Oregonian, September 30, 1918, Section 3, 12.
At least one of the women of Base Hospital 46 used her networks to publicize the work of the base hospital, and almost certainly to help raise these funds. Within the week Martha Randall went to the Fortnightly Club (a women's service organization) to speak and likely to ask for support.

Martha Randall, Grace Phelps Papers, Binder 5 Box 3 Historical Collections & Archives, OHSU. 
Used with permission by Historical Collections & Archives, OHSU.
Martha Randall, R.N. was in the midst of a career in social medicine. She was an assistant to Lola Baldwin, Portland's first police matron in the Women's Protective Division, served as Eugene's policewoman in 1913, and returned to police work in Portland in 1916. After the war she took over as head of the Portland Woman's Protective Bureau when Lola Baldwin retired (first as interim, then as head).

"New Head Appointed for Women's Protective Division," Oregonian, April 30, 1918, Section 1, 16.
So, did Base Hospital unit volunteers get their crowdfunding to work??

"Hospital Gets Funds," Oregonian, October 12, 1917, 7.
In addition to whatever individual funds staff members like Randall were able to raise, the state Red Cross put in $20,000 and asked local chapters to match those dollars. The fraternal organization the Elks pledged from $30,000 to $60,000. Base Hospital 46 had the money. And it's why some sources refer to Base Hospital 46 as the Elks and Red Cross Base Hospital from Oregon.

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