As of Saturday, March 14 the John Brown House Museum, Museum of Work & Culture, Aldrich House, and Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center will be temporarily closed until further notice. All programs and events have been moved to virtual formats, postponed, or canceled. Please see our events calendar for updates. Thank you for your understanding.

She did more than make doughnuts…

she rocked a gas mask like a boss!!!


The Rhode Island Historical Society’s latest display at the Arcade building in Providence showcases the Gertrude Bray and her service during World War I.


Gertrude Cottrell Bray (1888-1975) was the daughter of Ferdinand and Mary T. (Cottrell) of Pawtucket, R.I. and was a graduate of Pawtucket High School and Wheaton College (1909). Prior to her deployment to France, Bray worked from approximately 1909-1917 as a clerk for William H. Haskell Mfg. Co. , a nut and bolt manufacturer located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. On January 26th, 1918, Bray began her service as a militarized member of the Armed Services YMCA of the American Expeditionary Force in France and Germany. As a canteen worker, Bray was attached to the 167th Regiment of the famous 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division under Colonel Douglas MacArthur. She spent over a year in the front lines during World War One as a volunteer in the American Red Cross and for the Y.M.C.A. After the war, she worked as a psychiatric investigator for the Veterans Administration.


 
 
 

 

 
Former RIHS Staff members have shared some awesome stories of Ms. Bray in the past…
James Damico:
https://rihs.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/hot-doughnuts-and-the-front-rhode-island-and-the-first-world-war/
Kirsten Hammerstrom:
https://rihs.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/somewhere-in-france%e2%80%a6part-1/
https://rihs.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/somewhere-in-france%e2%80%a6part-2/
 
MSS 144 Gertrude Bray Papers:
http://rihs.minisisinc.com/rihs/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/RIHS_M2A/LINK/SISN+1046?SESSIONSEARCH
 
Jennifer L. Galpern, Special Collections Research Associate

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