Friday, December 22, 2017

100 Years Ago: War Relief Bazaar Closes

One hundred years ago today the doors closed on the Seattle Girls War Relief Bazaar. As previously described the purpose of the Bazaar was to raise the necessary funds to outfit Base Hospital 50. The long-awaited authorization from the Red Cross received in October 1917, included the stipulation that Seattle raise all the money for the necessary equipment for the unit.

The Bazaar was held in downtown Seattle in the Arena and the Hippodrome. The Arena was the home of the Seattle Metropolitans, a professional ice hockey team based which played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 to 1924. The Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917. The Hippodrome located across the street was a popular dance hall. Neither building is standing today. The streets in-between were closed while the Bazaar was open providing additional entertainment including No Man's Land, a replica of the wartime trenches in use in France, and a carnival game area known as the Sammies Sector.

Seattle Daily Times, Wednesday, December 12, 1917, pg. 21.
The Bazaar opened on Monday, December 17, following a parade led by organizers on horseback through downtown and ran through Saturday, December 22, 1917.

Each day had a theme to encourage Seattleites to attend including:
  • Monday: Girls Night 
  • Tuesday: Army & Navy Day 
  • Wednesday: Fraternal Night 
  • Thursday: University Night 
  • Friday: Art Students' Day 
  • Saturday: Children's Day1
In addition to the daily parade, the program included food conservation demonstrations, bayoneting, dramatic readings, dances, war movies and a wide variety of concerts from diverse groups such as the Victoria Pipe Band and the Whangdoodle Quartet. The Arena was described as a veritable fairyland as the result of the combined efforts of Seattle architect Carl Gould and local artist Irene Ewing.

The Arena was outfitted with many booths designed to inspire attendees to part with their money by purchasing donated knitted clothing, baked goods and more. The Daughters of the American Revolution devoted their booth to the re-creation of an 18th-century tableau. University of Washington instructor Mary F. Rausch developed a popular cookbook featuring recipes enabling families to comply with the wheatless, meatless rationing.

When all the proceeds had been tallied, the bazaar had raised over $120,000 dollars and was declared an unmitigated success. Fifty thousand dollars was turned over to the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross to equip Base Hospital 50 and the remainder was designated to support dependents of soldiers and sailors from King and Kitsap counties. Just six months later many of the same women would join forces to organize the Seattle Girls Victory Carnival!


  1. "Program of Week's Events," Seattle Sunday Times, December 16, 1917, pg. 4.

Friday, December 15, 2017

100 Years Ago: Enlistment Closed

On December 15, 1917, enlistment for closed with 150 men enrolled; 81 were graduates or students from University of Washington. The group included college instructors, high school teachers, chemists, bacteriologists, bank cashiers, bookkeepers, stenographers, clerks, dentists, pharmacists, undertakers, engineers, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, painters, auto drivers, automobile repairmen, cooks, tailors, and barbers.

In addition, the majority of the medical staff would come from Seattle and the greater Northwest, as well. The exceptions were the required military officers including the Commanding Officer, from the regular Army Medical Corps, and the Quartermaster, assigned from the Army Quartermaster Corps, in addition to a chaplain.

Friday, December 1, 2017

100 Years Ago: Base Hospital 50 Enlistments Begin

Dr. James Eagleson had traveled to Washington, D.C. in October of 1917 to meet with the Department of Military Relief of the Red Cross and the Surgeon General's office about the organization, enrollment of personnel, and equipment of the Base Hospital.

Dr. Eagleson returned to Seattle and immediately began to arrange for the enrollment of the personnel of the unit. Initially, the unit was to consist of twenty-six officers, selected by the Director except for the Commanding Officer, assigned from the regular Army Medical Corps when the unit was called into active service, and the Quartermaster, assigned from the regular Army Quartermaster Corps. All officers selected by the Director had to be commissioned in the Medical Reserve Corps, U.S. Army, and assigned to Base Hospital No. 50. A chaplain was also to be appointed for service with the unit.

The nursing personnel originally consisted of a chief nurse and sixty-four nurses. Before the unit was called into active service, this number increased to 100 in anticipation of increasing the number of beds in the hospital. All nurses were enrolled in the Red Cross nursing service and then were assigned to Base Hospital 50. Other positions authorized included a dietician, laboratory technicians, and stenographers, if there were not enlisted personnel who could take these roles.