JFK+50: Volume 7, No. 2399FIRST AMERICAN WOMEN VISIT OUR BOYS IN FRANCE
Paris, France (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, August 13, 1917, "the first American women to visit the camps of the United States expeditionary forces in France" arrived here in Paris.
The women had just completed an automobile tour under the direction of the American Red Cross which included a visit to the Front.
At the American camps, scores of soldiers "gathered around" the cars bearing the women seeking to shake their hands. After their arrival, the women joined the boys for lunch in the mess tent.
The women learned the boys were most in need of tobacco, chewing gum and candy which were almost impossible to obtain.
Among the women visiting the camps were Mrs. Isabel Lathrop, Mrs. Helen Crean, Miss Caroline Stephens, and Miss Frances Joliffe.
The American Red Cross website says...
"The Army and Navy...requested thousands of surgical dressings and..."comfort" items for their men. Between 1917 & 1919, over 8 million (Red Cross) chapter women (&) Junior Red Cross members produced over 370 million relief articles for the Allied armed forces & civilians in Europe."
According to the National Museum of American History...
"Thousands of women in the United States...worked to bring relief to the war-torn countries in Europe, even before official American entry into the war. After the United States joined the Allies, women continued to join these organizations and dedicate themselves to supporting and expanding the war effort."
"A History of Service: The American Red Cross During World War I," by Susan Watson, April 10, 1917, American Red Cross, www.redcrosschat.org/
"First American Women Visit The Boys In France," The Chicago Daily Tribune, August 14, 1917.
"Women in World War I," The National Museum of American History, www.americanhistory.si.edu/