1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 Records of the National League for Woman's Service, Rhode Island Branch

 Service organization, Rhode Island

 Correspondence, 1917-1918

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 104

 Processed by: Harold Kemble, Cindy Bendroth, May l992

Revised by Rick Stattler, December 2000

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The objective of the National League for Woman's Service was:


"to coordinate and standardize the work of women of America along line of Constructive Patriotism; to develop the resources and to promote the efficiency of women in meeting their every-day responsibilities to Home, to State, to Nation and to Humanity; to co-operate with the Red Cross and other agencies in meeting any calamity--fire, flood, famine, economic disorder, etc., and in time of war to supplement the work of the Red Cross, the Army and Navy, and to deal with questions of women's work and women's welfare."

            On April 22, 1917 the National League branch in Rhode Island was organized. Their first mission was to provide census takers for the legislated military census of all men over sixteen. The League decided that the women over sixteen also needed to be counted in order to enlist their help and support for the war effort. Mrs. Rush Sturges, head of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense oversaw the census.

            Under the direction of Mrs. Robert Hale Ives Goddard, the League provided service to promote the war effort. Besides the YMCA sponsored classes on "motor care" for women and the British-American exposition, the League organized a Soldiers and Sailors Club. The League began the Club because many servicemen traveled through Providence and had no source of legitimate entertainment. Located on Benefit Street, the club was dependent on donations of money, phonographs, blankets and other goods. Signs advertising what later was know as the Canteen, were posted at train stations. In 1918, after the Club was well under way, the War Camp Community Service provided a director, with salary, for the Service Club who reported to Mrs. Goddard.

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Scope and content:

            The collection contains copies of correspondence to donors, reports and letters from the National League, newspaper clippings and some fliers, dating from 1917-1918. It is arranged alphabetically. "Correspondence N" has a list of Rhode Island woman and organizations, including church-affiliated, women groups. The "A" file contains an undated letter from Theodore Roosevelt as temporary chairman of the brand-new American Legion (although the signature appears to be a secretary's). The "G" file contains an April 27 1918 letter from Theodore Francis Green, allowing the League to advertise its fund-raising dance on the trolley cars of the Rhode Island Company.

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            The provenance of this collection is unknown. The papers end in 1918, and were first processed before 1987, so the gift must have been between those dates. The collection consists of the correspondence files of Mrs. Margaret Hazard Goddard, and probably arrived from her or an heir. The Goddard family has made many gifts to the RIHS, but this one is not listed.

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            Correspondence, A-C

            Circular letter to Forts, etc. (about the Soldier and Sailor's Club)

            Correspondence, E-F

            Forms, Blank

            Correspondence, G-N

            National League for Woman's Service-Letters from

            National League for Woman's Service-Letters to

            Correspondence O-P


            Correspondence R

            Reports-RI DAR, Mrs. Albert Calder, 1918

            Correspondence S

            Samuels, Mrs. Leon

            Correspondence T-W

            Women's Committee

            Correspondence Y

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American Legion

Goddard, Margaret (Hazard) (1886-1969)

Green, Theodore F. (1867-1966)

Soldiers and Sailors Club (Providence, R.I.)

Women - Societies and clubs - Rhode Island

World War, 1914-1918 - War work - Rhode Island

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