Saturday, November 11, 2006

The P&C Goes To War

In its own small way, the P&C contributed to the American national effort in the Great War of 1914 to 1918.

The club took part in the Preparedness Day parade of 1916--one of a series of parades nationwide that rallied support for American entry into the war. (The photo above is from the Preparedness Day parade of June 3, 1916 on South Michigan Avenue. You can see one of the Art Institute's lions to the right of the photo. Check out the huge flag the men are holding up.)

The club exempted its members from paying dues while they were "doing their duty at the front," and members of the club offered their services in making war posters. An exhibition of "war pictures" was held at the club on October 15, 1918.

One contribution made by the P&C is reflected in the minutes from October 8, 1918: "Club decided to act on Mr. Blumenschein's suggestion that we paint targets for use in machine-gun and musketry practice. Pres. Ullrich agreed to furnish materials and various members promised to donate their services in carrying out the work. Mr. Hake was made director in charge of the work."

Many members of the club at that time had been born in Germany and Austria. Hake was born in Germany, for example, and Oskar Gross was from Austria. And of course Carl Mauch had fought for the German army in the Franco-Prussian war. Cyrus Baldridge, on the other hand, volunteered for the allied cause and became a staffer of Stars and Stripes when America entered the war.

In the end, some 21 of about 100 members entered the active service, according to an article in The Women's Press of November 1922.

I don't know how many did not come back from France.

(Poster designed by John Allen St. John, a member of the P&C--I have confirmed his membership--who can be seen here.)


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