Well, not exactly.
The original Veterans Day was observed as Armistice Day on November 11, 1918, the end of World War I. I thought you might like to know how the Smith community helped during the war. Students created the Women’s Land Unit and helped local farmers harvest their crops. They knitted socks, sweaters, mittens, afghans; they rolled surgical dressing in rooms of the Students Building (their version of the Campus Center). Smith College Alumnae organized the Smith College Relief Unit, and 27 women were sent to the Somme Valley to the town of Grecourt to help re-establish the village that was destroyed by the Germans. The Unit stayed in the area until 1929 and had to re-establish the village, not once, but twice. Students and alumnae also sold Liberty Bonds to help finance the war. On campus, Smith students, faculty and staff did their part. House mothers weighed food; students pledged not to purchase items with white sugar in it; flour was rationed. New courses were offered “Scientific Principles of Cooking” and in spring semester 1918 was added “Food and Nutrition in Relation to the Great War.” A course in auto mechanics was given in the spring of 1918–the most famous student was Amelia Earhart, living in Northampton briefly.
When the war ended, thousands of people in Northampton flooded the streets during the Peace Day Parade held on November 12th. Smith students and faculty paraded, the faculty in academic robes; students in white dresses and blue blazers and arm bands. They headed to campus where they participated in a ‘sing-in’ and heard an impromptu address was given by President William A. Neilson. The Smith community was joyful for the end of the war.
Relief work was continued by Smith women in France, the Near East, Serbia and Turkey. Women worked with the Red Cross, the YWCA and religious organizations to help those in need get back on their feet.
There is much more information about how the Smith community worked together during World War I in the College Archives. Come visit us and we’ll steer you in the right direction to learn more about the efforts of Smith during this time.
Having been professionally shamed for my lack of keeping up with the College Archives blog [don’t worry, I can handle it!], I submit a little list of our activities this summer and fall semester in the College Archives. These activities don’t include those of the daily operations of the College Archives: reference duty, processing, file requests, supervision. So, take a quick look into our active world.
–pick up of 70 linear feet of Clarence and Ruth Kennedy family materials
–presentation on student leadership/activism at Women’s Education Worldwide Conference at Mount Holyoke College
–presentation to Smith Club of Lexington, MA on the use of photography in teaching at Smith.
–Exhibit preparation and installation of the 90th anniversary of the Smith College School for Social Work in the Nolen Arts Room/Campus Center.
–“Women of Color” presentation to members of the Smith College Bridge pre-orientation program
–paper read at the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA
–“Smith Traditions” talk to Sophomore class
–Class Presentations:Introduction to Archeology; Scribbling Women; Feminist Public Cultures; Women & World War I: Smith College Relief Unit; Excavating Women; African American Biography;
—House Tea Talks: Hubbard, Park, Gillette; Duckett
–presentation to UNITY Council on history of UNITY organizations.
–campus walking tour “Missing, Moved and Things You Might Not Known About Smith” for Library Wellness Committee
–Class presentation: Reading the Earth
—House Tea Talks: Tyler, Laura Scales
–presentation to the Black Student Alliance (BSA)
–presentation at Otelia Cromwell Day panel
I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring for us! Keep checking this blog–and I’ll make a more concerted effort to supply short, interesting text for you to read!