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Local History Department - Photo of the Month

Volunteer Nurses, 1917.

Continuing with the Library's commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the United States' entry into the Great War - World War I, here is a look at activity "back home." This photo captures a look at American Red Cross nurses recruiting women over 16 years of age for volunteer duty at home.

As wounded troops began to return home to receive medical care, the call went out to the women of America, who were eager to serve their country. The country needed new nursing volunteers to relieve the trained, graduate nurses leaving town to either serve at soldier hospitals to care and comfort the sick and wounded men, or those who were accepted by the Red Cross for Foreign Service in France.

The Red Cross arranged to train all new volunteers in "Home Care of the Sick" and "Elementary Hygiene Throughout the Country." The local Red Cross held classes starting in November 1917. The Home Nursing Classes consisted of fifteen lessons, three times a week for five weeks. For a class of ten students, the cost was $7, but would be only $5 if there were fifteen students.

Plainfield women, both Black and white, responded to the call. The course was held for $5 at the Red Cross Headquarters, located at 1107 Watchung Avenue, three days and/or nights a week. It was under the direction of Miss Budd, and all who passed the final examination successfully received a Red Cross certificate, which enabled the bearer to volunteer for service in convalescent homes for soldiers.

Photo ID: C10498 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.


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