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WWI Honor Roll
Lancaster Co., Nebraska

Local Red Cross

Copyright 2011 
Kathie Harrison
Lancaster Co. NEGenWeb Project


Local Red Cross Organization Made Excellent Record in All Forms of Relief Activities in Period After May, 1917. Had 25,000 Members.

Top row, left to right -- Miss Ida Robbins; Miss Clara Smith, University Place; Mrs. Harry Jones, Seward; Mrs. William A. Noble, Mrs. Voyle Rector, Mrs. W. W. Whitfield, Mrs. Fanny Green, Mrs. W. E. Strauss, Mrs. Sherman, Mrs. J. H. Avery, Mrs. Sam Wessel, all of Lincoln.

Bottom row, left to right -- Miss Fanny Dickinson, Waverly; Miss Helena Redford, Lincoln; Miss Annetta Nesbitt, Lincoln; Miss Emily Cox, York; Mrs. C. F. Ladd, Mrs. W. R. Clark, Lincoln; Mrs. W. F. Kelly, Washington, D. C.; Mrs. T. E. Calvert, Mrs. S. H. Burnham, Miss Jane Bishop, Mrs. Fred Williams, Mrs. L. W. Korsmeyer, all from Lincoln.

This is one of the first classes organized in Lincoln for Red Cross work from which the Red Cross grew into hundreds of workers.

ON May 1, 1917, a meeting was held at the Lincoln Commercial club to talk over the plans for organizing a local chapter of Red Cross. Out of it came the largest Red Crocs chapter per capita of any city in the country. Up until this time a chapter had not been formally organized, although all of the civilian relief work was done by what is now called the Red Cross organization. Before the war H. H. Wilson was treasurer of this Organization and was authorized to use funds for the benefit of people who had been injured in tornadoes and floods. Later in May of 1917 the Lincoln chapter of the American Red Cross was organized. 

W. E. Hardy was elected president; Charles Mayer, vice-president; L. E. Hurtz, secretary; and H. H. Wilson, treasurer. The organization started without any capital and relied upon its members for the work which was done, and also for contributions. The first Red Cross drive took place in May, 1917, when $65,700 was pledged to Washington. On Christmas of the same year, a Christmas roll call, or Red Cross drive was held and several members and dollars were pledged to the American Red Cross. The fee was $1 for annual membership or $2 for membership and the Red Cross magazine. 

The first department to be organized under the American Red Cross was the canteen service with Charles Schwartz as chairman, the next was civilian relief which had for its chairman Mr. N. z. Snell. The com- fort kits were taken in charge by Mrs. H. M. Bushnell, Mrs. W. E. Hardy was chairman of the surgical dressing committee. E. R. Danielson acted as field director. Miss Ida Robbins was chairman of the garments committee. Mr. C. W. Little had charge of headquarters which were located at Scottish Rite temple. 

The Junior Red Cross was in charge of Superintendent J. H. Newlon. Mrs. Fred Gardner was chairman of the knitting committee. Dr. B. F. Bailey was chairman of the nurse committee. Mr. L. M. Ward acted as purchasing agent and J. R. Moyer had full charge of salvage headquarters.

The bureau of personnel was in charge of Mrs. C. F. Ladd. The members of the executive committee were Mrs. A. H. Armstrong, Dr. B. F. Bailey, Mrs. H. M. Bushnell, Dr. I. G. Clapp, Mrs. Fred Gardner, Mrs. W. E. Hardy, Mr. W. E. Hardy, L. E. Hurtz, Mrs. C. F. Ladd, John J. Ludwig, Mrs. C. W. Little, Mrs. Lew Marshall, Mrs. Charles Mayer, Mr. J. R. Moyer, Superintendent J. H. Newlon, Miss Ida Robbins, Mrs. J. C. Seacrest, Mr. N. Z. Snell, Mr. L. M. Ward, Mrs. W. So Yates, Mr. H. H. Wilson, Mrs. E. R. Danielson and Mrs. Martha Taylor. 

With a very few exceptions there have been no changes on the executive committee and the chairmen of the other committees are the same now as. they were when the chapter was first organize1. In September, 1917, the first class in surgical dressings was organized and had as its instructor Mrs. W. F . Kelley of Washington, D. C. Fourteen ladies from Lincoln were present at this first meeting, one from Waverly, one from University Place, and one from York. Eight of the sixteen women finished their course in surgical dressing and took an examination in order to be able to teach. 

These women were appointed captains over the new members that registered for surgical dressing work. From time to time new members came in until finally several tables were filled every day and all day at Red Cross headquarters. In the same way that the surgical, dressing classes were organized, so classes were formed for hospital garments. The quota of these hospital garments, or as they are more commonly called "military relief" quotas, were sent from central division headquarters at Chicago. They came ready to be cut with minute instructions for the making. 

Miss Ida Robbins, chairman of the hospital garments committee, supervised the cutting out and distributing of the garments. After they were completed they were shipped back to headquarters and from there were sent on their way to France. Besides the Lincoln chapter of the Red Cross, twenty- eight branch chapters were organized throughout the country. 

Each branch had its own chairman. who, in turn, reported to the chairman of the Lincoln chapter. At the present time Lincoln chapter has approximately 25,000 members. It has collected more. than $321,000 dollars, over $20,000 of which has been invested in securities in the name of the Lincoln Red Cross. Up until March 1, $276,000 had been paid out in expenditures, $23,000 of which was for military relief supplies alone.

(Reprint from the Lincoln Daily Star, Sunday, March 23, 1919)