November 14: Epiphany Red Cross Auxiliary (1917-19)

After America entered World War I in April 1917, parishioners of the Church of the Epiphany became involved in a variety of actions in support of the war effort. For two years an Epiphany Auxiliary of the Red Cross with 125 or more members met three or more times a week to make garments, surgical dressings, and other items for service members. In 1918, the Navy’s Surgeon General specifically assigned Epiphany’s chapter the task of making “comfort and surgical pillows” for two hospital ships. Even after the fighting ended, the ladies of the Auxiliary continued to make dressings. A Parish Guide recruitment ad for auxiliary members in late 1919 stated, “’Nine by nine’ compresses for Walter Reed Hospital are being made in full determination to ‘carry on’ till the need is over, and it is predicted that some of our poor lads will be under repair for two years longer. Epiphany Branch urges old and new members to join in this work and good fellowship.”

A report of the Epiphany Church Red Cross Auxiliary for the period 1917-1919 gave the following accounting of items made: Surgical dressings – 22,209; Garments – 2,232; Linen Articles – 1,616; Comfort and bedside bags – 490; Knitted articles – 570; Pillows – 555; Socks mended, pairs – 824; Quilts given – 2; Pairs socks given – 60.

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