Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project


The Just Us Girls Club

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Just Us Girls

   The Just Us Girls Club and the quilt which they made for the Red Cross.
Mrs. Edson in center, reading left to right:  First row—Dorothy O’Leary, Eileen Carey, Eileen Connor, Katherine Padden, Louise Connor, Esther Millard, Helen Lewis, Helen Mittlestadt; Second row—Angela Padden, Erma Mittlestadt, Vivian Lewis, Mabel Kennedy.

A group of fifteen little girls rendered a service of splendid spirit.  These little maids, banded together as the J. U. G. (Just Us Girls) Club, seeking an opportunity to do something useful, approached Mrs. Arthur Edson to direct their efforts when they learned that she was the lady who had charge of the making of layettes for Belgian babies.  She first assigned them to the duty of hemming napkins, which they did so well that they were soon given the making of bootees, crocheting, the making of layette bags, running the tape in jackets and hoods, rolling binders, and many other little things.  They also assembled the material and made fourteen crib quilts.  In April the Des Moines Capital asked for donations of jelly for the hospital at Camp Dodge, and the club sent a box of twenty glasses.  This exhibition of willingness to do for the soldiers brought a request from a Des Moines lady for knitted afghans for invalids at Fort Des Moines.  Thereupon the girls knitted two for Camp Dodge, two for the base hospital at Fort Des Moines, and were asked for others, to be used by convalescents who go about in wheeled chairs.

The little girls have many friends who have helped them in every way possible, so have had much material; but it has been necessary to buy considerable yarn and other materials. In order to meet this expense the girls pieced and sold one comfort top for $3, one woolen comfort for $6.50, another for $5, and two silk quilts which sold for good figures.

They also sold "Conservation cake" recipes which netted about $20, pop corn for $2, and made and sold kitchen holders for $7.50, all of which was [sic] placed in and disbursed through the bank.  With the returns of this fund they filled sixteen Christmas boxes for the returned wounded soldiers at the base hospital at Fort Des Moines, and bought linings and cotton for comforts and yarn for afghans.  Even after this was accomplished money was left over which was spent for providing comforts for boys in hospitals.  At the time of the "flu" epidemic the club collected rags and cut them into squares for the local Red Cross hospital.  The girls hemmed twenty-five handkerchiefs for the Red Cross and collected forty used phonograph records for base hospitals.

Club membership is limited to fifteen girls, all of ages between nine and twelve years, and they met every Thursday afternoon after school.  They continued their work of providing comforts for wounded men long after the signing of the armistice.

"Thank you" letters for Christmas boxes came from men between nineteen and twenty years of age, who had lost either arms or legs, with the exception of one, who was suffering with an affliction of the spine.

Two members of the club, Margaret Van Wagenen and Virginia Mack, were ill with the influenza when the picture was taken. Soon after the photograph was made Eileen Connor resigned to become a member of a club of older girls, and her membership in the J. U. G. Club was taken by Mary Putnam.