Women’s Work: How the Women of M. A. C. Contributed to World War I

14 05 2018

The needs of the war effort were vast and varied, which meant that there were plenty of ways to help that were opened up for women and women’s departments. Whether staying home or travelling the country and the world, women found a way to help.

In the fall of 1918, two young women joined the Red Cross in order to serve as army nurses.  Alice Latson, ‘09, and Elizabeth Palm, ‘11, became nurses in order to help with medical needs.  Latson was trained as a dietitian in Asbury Hospital in Minneapolis and would be stationed at Camp Gordon in Georgia while Palm would train at Camp Custer’s base hospital.

Mary M. Harrington of the class of ‘18 moved from Flint, Michigan to Fort Riley, Kansas to become a Red Cross dietitian at the U. S. A. Base Hospital. She worked to help feed 2,100 patients, all suffering from influenza. Harrington noted that there were “several other dietitians here, but none are from M. A. C.” In her letter to the newspaper, she asked for a copy of the Record to keep up with her Alma Mater, for “Michigan seems quite far away when one is out here.”

 

canning participants

Canning Course Participants, 1917

The home economics department stepped up during the war in the whatever ways they could, especially when it came to teaching the community how to help in crucial ways at home: “Fifty senior girls are taking a special course in canning this term, most of them with the idea of offering their services this summer as demonstrators when the canning season opens up.” During the summer of 1917, the home economics department made two food talks and canning demonstrations available for the East Lansing community. The July talk was available to women with two years of training from the home economics department and would later be volunteer canning demonstrators. The August class was open to everyone. The classes were taught by former home economic students who were contacted with emergency registration cards asking “the amount of their training and experience, whether they were available for summer or winter emergency work, and the approximate amount of time that could be devoted to the work.” The ladies were also asked if they would be willing to help “without remuneration or with expenses only.” All over the state, former M. A. C. women agreed to volunteer their time and energy into helping teach “kitchen thrift” to the East Lansing community. The talk in July had 3,419 attendees, and the August demonstrations had 3,000.

 

The women also gave their time and money to help everyone, soldier and victim alike.  In order to help, “about 200 co-eds” volunteered for the Red Cross Association, using their time to knit “helmets, wristers and scarfs for the navy.” When sickness began to take its toll on the student soldiers, the co-eds of M. A. C. didn’t have any access to the new gym during the influenza epidemic. It was where Company B was housed as everyone was moved around and buildings were used as bunks for the sick.

War often leaves orphans, but some of the women of M. A. C. decided to do something about it. They adopted two french children whom they raised money to care for. It cost $36 a year to care for each child. With an average donation of 40 cents per person, the women raised $130 for the care of the children. The extra money was “used to buy delicacies for the convalescent soldiers.”

They also took over the jobs that typically went to men. With all of the secretaries for the class of ‘17 in the men’s sections serving in the war, a young woman named Lou Butler took over for the entire class as long as the war lasted.

With so much needing to be done, women were able and willing to help in any way they could. The ladies of M. A. C. sacrificed and gave whenever they saw an opportunity, and their creativity in finding where their help was needed is admirable.

Written by Catharine Neely

“Two M. A. C. Girls Entered Red Cross,” MAC Record, 30 September 1918, vol. 24, no. 1, pg. 3.

“From Mary M. Harrington,” MAC Record, 25 October 1918, vol. 24, no. 4, pg. 7.

“News and Comments,” MAC Record, 8 May 1917, vol. 22, no. 28, pg. 7.

“Home Economics Department Active in War Work,” MAC Record, 28 September 1917, vol. 23, no. 2, pg. 3.

“MAC Coeds…,” MAC Record, 22 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 8, pg. 3.

“Two French…,” MAC Record, 1 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 5, pg. 3.

“For Class Secretaries of ‘17,” MAC Record, 1 November 1918, vol. 24, no. 5, pg. 5.

“Some of those in Attendance at the Canning Course,” MAC Record, 17 July 1917, vol. 22, no. 34, pg. 7.

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Registration open for SAA’s Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP workshop

2 05 2018

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections is hosting the Society of American Archivists’ workshop “Tool Integration: From Pre-SIP to DIP” on Friday, June 1, 2018.

This course is perfect for archivists, records managers, special collections curators ,and other practitioners or managers responsible for stewarding digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle.

Course Description

The digital curation “ecosystem” is large and complex. Made up of tools that perform small, discrete tasks, those that cover particular format groups or functional areas of models (such as OAIS), and even those that claim to be more or less comprehensive, this ecosystem is in a constant state of flux. Although there is great potential in common data formats, open standards, and APIs to facilitate systems integrations that support end-to-end digital archiving workflows, the myriad tools—and possible combinations of those tools—can make it difficult to know where to begin!  In this course, you’ll explore options for suites of tools that can work together to steward digital archives and electronic manuscripts through the digital curation life cycle.

More importantly, our goal is to empower you to critically evaluate these options, successfully implement them at your institution, efficiently manage “handoffs” of data and metadata from one system to another, and plan for the future. Because more and more systems are designed to connect, we’ll also cover the basics of system integration with real-world examples of both proprietary and open-source software integrations. Hands-on components will include group discussions, use case and functional requirements development, and tool demos.

 

Additional information about the workshop, and registration are available on the SAA website: https://saa.archivists.org/events/tool-integration-from-pre-sip-to-dip-18a2/875/

 

 





Upcoming Closings

25 04 2018

The University Archives & Historical Collections has several upcoming closings to announce.  We apologize for any inconvenience these closings may cause.

Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1, 2018 we will be closed for staff professional development.  We are hosting two workshops through the Society of American Archivists – Arranging and Describing Photographs (April 30th) and Arrangement and Description of Audio Visual Materials (May 1st).  Information about these workshops, and other SAA events can be found on the SAA Continuing Education Calendar.

We will also be closed May 7-11, 2018 for our annual Spring Cleaning Week.

A002302

Please refer to our website for up-to-date information on our hours.





Editors from “Tales from the Archives” Recognized during Authors Reception

20 04 2018

On April 19, 2018, MSU Archives & Historical Collections employees were recognized during the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception for our book “Tales from the Archives, Volume One: Campus and Traditions” that was published during the 2017 year. The MSU Libraries have two copies of our book: one for the Main Library and the other for the MSU Faculty Book Collections, located in the Stanley C. and Selma D. Hollander Faculty Book Collection on the first floor of the Main Library. MSU Libraries honor MSU faculty and staff whose books, multimedia works, musical scores, and recordings were published during the year.

Book Display

Our book on display with the other faculty books during the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception.

 

The editors of the Tales book were honored to be recognized among our MSU peers. We are extremely proud of the book and that working on the Tales book was a fun experience! Due to the success of Volume One, we are currently working on “Tales from the Archives, Volume Two.”

The editors would like to thank current and former MSU archivists and students that wrote the original articles that appear in the book; Bill Castanier, who wrote our Foreword; our supervisor, Cynthia, for letting us pursue this project; Julie Taylor from the MSU Espresso Book Machine; our graphic design student, Heng-Yu Chen, for creating our amazing book cover; our proof readers, Renee and Leigh; and most importantly, our fifth editor, Hillary Gatlin. Hillary left MSU to head for warmer weather but she was the driving force for designing the layout of the book and for pushing us to get our photos selected and articles fact checked in time. Even though Hillary couldn’t be present at the MSU Libraries Faculty Authors Reception, she was a valuable editor of the Tales book team!

Faculty Book reception

Tales from the Archives editors Susan, Megan, Jennie, and Ed.

 

If you would like to purchase a copy of “Tales from the Archives, Volume One: Campus and Traditions”, it can be purchased by ordering online at http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/arc-04.htm, by contacting the Archives at 517-355-2330 or by emailing archives@msu.edu, or you can purchase a copy in-store at Schuler Books.

Written by Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist





A M. A. C. Legacy, Part 3: Mary Crocker

16 04 2018

 

 

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America entered into World War I on April 6, 1917 and put out the call for young men to join in the fight.  Michigan Agricultural College, later to be known as Michigan State University, answered this call with its own students who both served and contributed at home.  Of those many, three in particular stand out: the Crocker siblings. Thanks to a collection housed in the MSU Archives building and the correspondence between these three, Mary, Emory, and Martin, we are given a unique look into the life of M.A.C. students who stayed and went “over there.”

Mary Yearbook PhotoMary Crocker graduated in 1918 from the home economics division and wrote avidly to her brothers while they served in France.  While Mary herself did not serve overseas and stayed home to finish her education at Michigan Agricultural College, she is an interesting participant to consider in this trilogy because of her collection of letters and her scrapbook.  Her contribution to the narrative of her family and the college was a quiet but crucial one.

During her education she enjoyed what is assumed to be an active social life, joining the Omicron Nu society while she was at school and attending dances. She kept some of the letters from young men asking if she would like to join them in attending dances or football games.  These all date from 1916, before America would enter the war, but several of them are from young men who would in the next year enlist in the armed services, such as Ralph Johnson, ‘16, A. Hopperstead, ‘18, and Harold Parks, ‘18.

She also enjoyed a constant relationship with her brothers. She exchanged letters with Emory and Martin when they were home just as she did when they were across the ocean. Emory wrote Mary a note about thanksgiving plans and how he had told Martin that he couldn’t get together later that afternoon. He also complained that when he tried to visit Mary at Howard Terrace, he was snubbed by some of the other women who were living there.  He wrote, “I rapped at the door and no-body came so I stepped inside and pushed the button and then some of those girls wouldn’t come and find out what I wanted.” He tells her that he’ll be going on a hike with Ralph Johnson, but then continues venting his irritation with her dorm mates: “If a girl would be in the same position the worst rough-neck in the dorm would be decent to her. If there is anything makes me sore it is to have some girl try to make a fool out of me. They knew I was there so all they did was giggle and whisper. The dickens with them.”

A few weeks before America entered the war, Mary sent her brother some sweets to enjoy, and as a thank you, she received a silly letter filled with flowery language from the men that were lucky enough to have Emory share with them: “Due to the fact that Emory is the only ‘Sir Galahad’ in this ward, the rest being nonchalant Knights of the Loyal Order of Jilted and Disappointed Youths, we must look upon him as our only benefactor and champion of our worthy and uplifted cause…Humbly and Confectionately yours.” The men who signed were Emory, Harry Weckler, Frank Warner, J. E. Foess, Cosmer LeVeaux, K. C. Beake, and Frank E. Hausherr.  Every man who signed his name would enlist in the war, and Cosmer LeVeaux would lose his life in the fighting.

During the war, writing to soldiers was encouraged in order to keep up morale, and Mary wrote to other soldiers besides her brothers. One was a M. A. C. graduate, Corporal John F. Galloway, ‘17. In a show of dark humor, probably in response to a question Mary posed in a previous letter to him, John begins with, “Dead? No, not just yet. Just busy, that’s all.” He goes on to tell her he’s proud of her and her accomplishments at school and the people he’s run into. He tells her a humorous anecdote about searching men for alcohol when he was on guard duty:

“Another time I was corp. of the guard and our post was at the terminal of the car line. Our duty was to search every one for booze. As they got off the car we would line them up and pat them in the chest, and hips, etc to see if there were any bottle on them. Usually there would be a bunch of women and girls there too, and you ought to have seen the expressions on their faces as we looked the men over. Must have thot [sic] their turn was next but we do not search them. It sure was comical to see them.”

After his story, he continues by talking about the football team and why they were doing poorly that year and about a messy training session he had on the rifle range. Overall, his tone is a lighthearted one written to a friend more than a letter of a soldier writing home.

Not all the letters Mary received were from friends or family.  One was marked “Dear friend” and was signed by a Pvt. Ray E. Dulmage. Having most likely already gotten a letter from Mary, Dulmage wrote back, “I suppose you already know much more than I can tell you about this country since you have two brothers here. I may tell you another side of the story, which may be of interest to you.” He goes into detail about the people and how they live, that “the houses are of stone and cement” and “very old and just as odd looking” with “ no furniture to speak of, no carpets only dirt, dirt, dirt.” He talks about the people, how the women “seem to be degenerate” and “all the men I have seen are the older ones,” which would make sense since it would be assumed that any man capable of fighting was fighting. He noticed the children were able to quickly learn english. Many of them would sing “Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here” when the soldiers would go back to camp, and Dulmage suspected that the children thought it was their national anthem.

The earlier letters Mary collected show a life expected of young college students, which furthers the understanding of how thoroughly the war would change life for the individuals that are introduced through her photos and correspondences. While only a few letters written by Mary were collected, her contribution is crucial and her viewpoint is more of that of the narrator in this saga.  She herself is silent, and her words are read minimally, but she is the vehicle that allows for a deeper understanding through this intimate look at the life of students, soldiers and how the everyday was changed with America’s entry into the war.

Written by Catharine Neely

Sources:

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 21 November 1915, Box FD, Folder 1, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker, et al. to Mary Crocker, 19 March 1917, Box FD, Folder 1, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

John Galloway to Mary Crocker, 1 December 1917, Box FD, Folder 7, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Ray Dulmage to Mary Crocker, 21 June 1918, Box FD, Folder 7, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Mary Crocker Scrapbook, n. d., Scrapbook #244, Boutell Mary Crocker, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Box FD, Folder 14, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.





Summer 2018 Digital Humanities Internship available at the MSU Archives

12 04 2018

The Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections seeks a Digital Humanities intern for May-August 2018 to work 15-20 hours per week with an hourly pay rate of $10.

The intern will be responsible for renaming and transferring digital files, and migrating metadata associated with those files from Excel spreadsheets to an Access database.  The intern will also watch digitized video and listen to audio to create succinct descriptions of the content of the files.

Time permitting, the intern may also work on other projects, such as scanning images and documents according to established archival standards, uploading content to the On the Banks of the Red Cedar website (onthebanks.msu.edu), and researching MSU history.

Minimum Requirements

  • Ability to work on a Windows platform, including the use of Microsoft Office Suite software such as Word, Excel, and Access.
  • Excellent analytical, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Strong research skills with attention to detail.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to recognize own strengths and weaknesses and utilize constructive feedback to improve performance.
  • Ability to both work independently and proactively seek assistance.

Preferred Skills

  • Interest in the history of Michigan State University.
  • Familiarity with digital imaging software such as Photoshop.
  • Demonstrated ability to enter metadata using a content management system.
  • Experience working with archives and manuscript materials in a variety of formats.

 

MSU Students apply online: msu.joinhandshake.com/login  (Job #1461650)

For more information about the MSU Archives, please visit our website: archives.msu.edu.





A M. A. C. Legacy, Part 2: Martin Crocker

2 04 2018

America entered into World War I on April 6, 1917 and put out the call for young men to join in the fight.  Michigan Agricultural College, later to be known as Michigan State University, answered this call with its own students who both served and contributed at home.  Of those many, three in particular stand out: the Crocker siblings. Thanks to a collection housed in the MSU Archives building and the correspondence between these three, Mary, Emory, and Martin, we are given a unique look into the life of M.A.C. students who stayed and went “over there.”

 

Photo of Martin

Yearbook photo of Martin from 1917 Wolverine

 

Martin Crocker was a member of the M. A. C. class of 1918 and Truck Company no. 6, 23 engineers during World War 1. Both he and his brother Emory left to serve and wrote their sister Mary, who stayed behind to finish school.  Unlike Emory, Mary didn’t have any letters from Martin while he was at school, either because he didn’t write or she didn’t save them. Before joining the armed forces, he was going to school to be a surveyor and asked Mary to look after his drawing tools, but there isn’t much beyond that. He did send her notes while he was in the service that add to the complexity of
understanding military life during this time.

Martin wasn’t exempt from having to deal with disease.  Like any other soldier, he received his inoculations when entering into the army, and he “got all through at 4pm, even had a uniform and a shot in the arm for typhoid and smallpox.” His opinion of military care was tepid at best. He wrote to Mary that “The hospital has two cure alls. If they can see anything on the outside, like a broken arm, they paint iodine on it. If that isn’t the matter they give you a dose of castor oil.” With diseases like measles and the Influenza epidemic running rampant through barracks and civilian homes alike, Martin’s flippant attitude towards healthcare can be understood. But the need for some kind of attempt to curb sickness was constantly apparent.  One night before shipping out to France, after Martin had been enjoying a brief leave to go into Brooklyn, he came back to find out that his entire barracks had been quarantined for diphtheria and spinal meningitis. Martin would also get word about how the other camps were fairing, including the one his brother was in: “If Emory is at Camp Merritt he is good for ten days more at least.  The camp has a measles quarantine on. The head nurse told me about it.” Martin would eventually be hospitalized with mumps, saying that his “face is swelled up like a freshman’s chest.” Earlier, Martin had been hospitalized for rheumatism, and while there, he saw that not everyone who was hospitalized made it out:

“There has been lots of excitement here lately, two fellows had pneumonia with their scarlet. One goes out of his head. I was in bed all the time he was sick so didn’t see him. One night the [sic] brot [sic] over a straight jacket in case of emergency. They called out the reserves about four in the morning and about six of the fellows put the jacket on him, but didn’t tie him down. In the morning the trousers were on the floor. He told them that they got too hot so he took them off. Imagine that? The other fellow with pneumonia died, he just got in from Ft. Leavenworth when he was sent over here, had just three weeks in the army.”

Envelope from Martin to Mary

Envelope of letter Sent from Martin to Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin’s letters of being an engineer show a very different side of military life than what Emory experienced as a gunner. Once in France, Martin began to write more about what it was like for him to be a military man, and his related experiences are relatively pleasant, especially when compared to what his brother Emory was enduring at the front. One of Martin’s experiences that Emory notes with a little bitterness is that Martin has an easier time than him with the Engineers: “Got a letter from Mart today. He tells how he has a motorcycle to ride around with and French chefs to cook for them and women to wait table [sic]. Pretty soft I would say. We eat our beans sitting on mother earth and want to go to the front to get away from taking care of horses.” There may be some doubt as to how truthful Martin’s situation is, especially since Emory was at the front and in the trenches fighting in the French mud, but Martin’s letters home show that Emory isn’t that far off concerning Martin’s situation: “It is the swellest place in the world.  There are less than a hundred soldiers and a lot of laborers (civil). We aren’t getting our meals from the army but have french cooks using stuff that can be be bought and some from the QM. So the meals are great.” Most people don’t consider a base near the front lines to be “the swellest place on earth,” but Martin seemed to be enjoying himself, nonetheless.

Being in charge of taking care of the trucks, which were still a novelty at this time, Martin enjoyed local attention when the trucks were driven from one place to another: “We make a little sensation everywhere. When we pull through a little town the people all come out and collect the kids and chickens and animals out of the road.” His interactions with the townsfolk was limited by language, but he managed to still make do.  He drank a little since “wine and beer flows like water outside of the camp, but I haven’t found any that I care about yet so haven’t had any trouble finding my pass when I get back to camp.” He also would buy goods from local vendors but was aware that they would treat soldiers differently.  After he bought his sister a watch as a graduation present, he asked his mom to find out how much is was worth in American dollars: “I think it was worth all I paid for it because I got it in a good store, the better the store the less you have to be careful about being charged the ‘OD’ prices instead [of] french prices.”

censored letter from Martin to Mary

Censored letter from Martin to Mary

Despite all of the moments that were written in amusement, there are still reminders that a war was going on.  When Martin was writing to Mary about being in a French hospital, he writes a name of either an area or city, but it is censored thoroughly.  There is a section cut out and the name of the place is eradicated with no possibility of knowing where he was. Despite the somber reminder, it is humorous considering Martin’s next sentence is “I don’t know where that is.” Now, neither will we.

 

Martin’s letters show a different, more lighthearted side of working during the war.  Balancing the darker moments with humorous oversimplifications of common wartime occurrences, he makes for a unique conveyor of his experiences and what it was like for someone in France who was not necessarily fighting, but still a crucial part in the war effort.

By: Catharine Neely

Sources:

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 24 January 1918, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 9 January 1918, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 10 December 1917, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 28 December 1917, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 25 February 1918, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 26 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 6, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 15 March 1918, Box FD, Folder 5, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Emory Crocker to Mary Crocker, 6 July 1918, Box FD, Folder 4, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 25 June 1918, Box FD, Folder 6, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

 Martin Crocker to Mary Crocker, 2 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 6, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

Martin Crocker to Mother, 12 May 1918, Box FD, Folder 6, Boutell Mary Crocker Papers, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

 

Mary Crocker Scrapbook, n. d., Scrapbook #244, Boutell Mary Crocker, collection UA 10.3.104, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.

1917 Wolverine, Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan.