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Monday, February 2, 2015

Civilians Connecting with Base Hospital 46 Nurses: Gifts for the Travelers

As we've seen in previous posts, Base Hospital 46 personnel from Oregon in the First World War had large sums of money to raise. In addition to personal fundraising, local branches of the Red Cross and the fraternal organization the Elks helped to raise the necessary funds. Grace Phelps noted that the Red Cross also helped individual nurses purchase uniforms and equipment.

Several newspaper articles let us know that civilians were anxious to connect with Base Hospital 46 by furnishing particular items they believed they would need for their voyage to France and service there.

"Nurses to Mobilize Soon, Oregonian, January 18, 1918, 11.

In this January 1918 article we see that sisters Anne and E. L. Lang of The Dalles, Oregon sent 100 "comfort pillows" for the nurses. They seem like our own beloved travel pillows, don't they? "12 inches long and six inches wide, with a comfortable cover in dark blue, and arranged so that it could easily be changed [read wash!]" I would love to hear from anyone who knows about Mary Varney Lang, the woman in whose memory the sisters sent the pillows.

"Sweaters Gift to Nurses," Oregonian, July 13, 1918 4.
We learn from this Oregonian article that the Portland chapter of the Red Cross furnished a sweater to all of the nurses of Base Hospital 46. Given the emphasis on knitting for the war effort, it's likely that these were all hand made.

I'll have at least one future post about an additional gift to the Base Hospital 46 women -- this time curtains for their commons area at the base. And Grace Phelps, to our great fortune, chose to write the donor about what she could see beyond the curtains and in the commons.


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