Category: World War I

Wilma Wallace, Army Nurse Corps, World War I

Wilma Mae Wallace (1889-1972) was an early graduate of Reid Hospital’s Nurses’ Training School.  At that point it was a three-year course, and she and four others graduated in June 1914.  She remained at Reid Hospital after her graduation.  Soon after President Wilson’s declaration of war in April 1917, Wallace registered with the American Red Cross

Wartime Halloween

  Halloween around the turn of the century often involved youngsters playing pranks on their neighbors, heaving cabbage and other excess vegetables at houses, attending masquerade parties, and generally making merry in the streets on All Hallow’s Eve.  In 1918, all these activities were curtailed. Mayor William Zimmerman proclaimed that Halloween of 1918 would be

Influenza Pandemic

One hundred years ago Richmond was dealing with the so-called Spanish Flu.  The rest of the world was dealing with it as well, which made it a true pandemic. The story of this particular influenza strain is tied to the story of the World War.  What might have been a harsher than usual flu outbreak,

Back to School – 1918

Cartoon from the Richmond Item September 8, 1918 It wasn’t until after Labor Day that Richmond’s students returned to the classroom in the fall of 1918, and this return was different than it had ever been before. Richmond’s large German population had ensured the presence of German-speaking institutions, including churches, a newspaper, and a bank.

July 4, 1918

Richmond has always loved parades, and never more so than during the Great War.  One hundred years ago, the city put on possibly its largest in history. This parade had eight divisions which formed up on the side streets between Third and Sixth Streets and stepped off at 11:00.  As was often the case, the

Commercial Club Training Detachment

Richmond’s Commercial Club wanted the city to be involved in the war effort beyond buying war bonds and planting gardens.  A unique opportunity presented itself in May of 1918. Automobiles were still a novelty at the start of the Great War, but it didn’t take long for the new technology to show its wartime value. 

War Gardens

Many people are at least familiar with the Victory Gardens of World War II, but a generation earlier, the federal government, in a nearly identical program, urged citizens to plant gardens and raise as much food as possible. Richmond’s effort was spearheaded by the War Garden committee of the Commercial Club.  Even before the United

Wayne County Service Flag

 After several cancellations due to inclement weather, Richmond finally unfurled its Community Service Flag on February 4, 1918. The ceremony was part of a day-long war conference staged by the Wayne County Council of Defense.  The Coliseum was the venue for most of the day’s speeches and rallies, but around noon participants walked the block

“Smokes for Sammy”

In this season of Christmas shopping, I want to share what patriotic gift giving looked like in December 1917. It’s pretty jarring by today’s standards, but there it is, Monday, December 3, 1917 was Tobacco Day.  At that moment in time — long before anyone knew of the long-term dangers — it was a patriotic duty

War Library Campaign

Library of Congress World War I Poster Collection   In the Summer of 1917 the War Department asked the American Library Association to head up efforts to provide libraries to army training camps.  The first step was to raise funds and the first nation-wide campaign kicked off in September. The poster above came from Massachusetts,