Inventory
 

GAR Morton Woman's Relief Corps No. 11
Dates: 1885-1980
Accession Number: 20020130
Donor: Vigo County Historical Society
Description: Six document cases
 

History

The Woman's Relief Corps traces its roots back to 1869 when a group of women in Portland, Maine formed an auxiliary organization to collaborate with the local Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) post in providing relief to sick and impoverished Civil War veterans, their widows, and families

The title "Woman's Relief Corps" was first officially adopted in 1879 upon the formation of a statewide organization of GAR auxiliaries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 1881, after 12 years of informal association, the Grand Army of the Republic officially recognized the state-level departments of the Woman's Relief Corps during the GAR's 15th National Encampment (annual convention) in Denver, Colorado. The National Encampment approved the work of the Woman's Relief Corps and authorized the national organization and its local chapters to add "Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic" to their names. The movement that began in Portland, Maine in 1869 culminated in the formation of the National Woman's Relief Corps in 1883. The national WRC modeled their structure after that of the GAR, with local groups to be known as "Corps" (the counterpart of GAR "Posts") and the state organizations to be known as "Departments".

In the History of the GAR (1888), the goals of the National Woman's Relief Corps and its state and local organizations were outlined as follows:

To specially aid and assist the Grand Army of the Republic and to perpetuate the memory of their heroic dead; to assist such Union veterans as need our help and protection, and to extend needful aid to their widows and orphans; to find them homes and employment, and assure them of sympathy and friends; to cherish and emulate the deeds of our army nurses, and of all loyal women who rendered loving service to their country in her hour of peril; to inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country among our children, and in the communities in which we live; to maintain true allegiance to the United States of America; to discountenance whatever tends to weaken loyalty and to encourage the spread of universal liberty and equal rights to all men. (Source: Beath, History of the Grand Army of the Republic. 1888. SpC 369.151B )

According to the Woman's Relief Corps' membership application, members had to meet the following requirements: (1) be a female American citizen; (2) assist in perpetuating the principles of the organization; (3) swear to "have never given aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States of America"; and (4) be 16 years or older.

The National Woman's Relief Corps was a strong advocate of inculcating patriotic feeling in the United States. The national Corps encouraged the creation and recitation of an "American Creed" and was diligent in determining the origins and author of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The National Woman's Relief Corp was incorporated on September 7,1962 by an act of Congress. The society currently maintains a national headquarters and museum in Springfield, Illinois. As of January 2002, there were 1125 members in 74 corps around the United States.

 

History of the Morton Woman's Relief Corps No. 11

Records of the first meeting of the Morton Woman's Relief Corps No. 11 were not found among this collection but according to the minutes from later years, the Corps was founded in April 1885. In keeping with the mission of the national organization, members of Morton Woman's Relief Corps provided aid to veterans, their widows, and their families. The corps also participated in the observation of Memorial Day. In addition, the corps furnished American flags to local public buildings (including schools) and parks.

From 1885 to around 1915, the Morton Woman's Relief Corps met the first and third Fridays of every month in halls around downtown Terre Haute. After 1915, the Morton Corps' address is listed as Memorial Hall on 219 Ohio Street (1915-1916 Terre Haute City Directory). As the minutes in this collection show, the corps combined Christianity with a strong sense of patriotism. Meetings began with the reading of a Bible verse and the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and ended with a salute to the American flag.

Candidates interested in membership were visited at their homes by investigating committees appointed by the local corps. The committee reported back to the next meeting of the corps on whether to accept candidates into the membership. Members then cast ballots by using white balls to approve the nominee and black balls to cast a negative vote.

Unlike the GAR, the Woman's Relief Corps opened its membership to a broad population base. Their less-restrictive requirements (outlined above) enabled the Corps to operate more flexibly and when necessary modifying its missions over the several decades that it operated. For one, the Corps was open to any woman sixteen years and older so the organization was able to recruit new members with new ideas well into the 1960s. The original mission of the Corps' relief committee was to provide relief to veterans and their families in the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century. After the 1930s, particularly when its own members were aging, the relief committee's mission was to monitor the health of its members and send cards to those who were sick (at home or in the hospital) and to the families of recently deceased members. In its early years, the Corps collected funds for a Southern Memorial Fund, a Child Welfare Fund, and a Flower Fund. By the 1960s, the Corps had added an anti-narcotics fund. One mission the corps never abandoned was its combination of strong adherence to Christianity and strong patriotic pride in America which was exhibited in its meeting minutes from the 1880s to the 1960s.

For related material, see Morton Post No. 1 (Accession Number 20011111) and Memorial Hall Association (Accession Number 830824).

 

Donor Information: These records were donated by the Vigo County Historical Society which received the materials from Mr. Damon, 201 East Miller in Rosedale, Indiana. The records were delivered along with material from other organizations that used the former Memorial Hall (219 Ohio Street in Terre Haute) as a meeting site.

 

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection is presented in the following order: (1) records of the Morton Woman's Relief Corps No. 11, (2) publications of the Woman's Relief Corps, Department of Indiana and (3) publications of the National Woman's Relief Corp.

The records of Morton Woman's Relief Corps No. 11 consist of membership records; financial records; reports of Corps officials; minute books for the main Corps and the adjunct Past Presidents Club; a Bible; and miscellaneous files.

The records of the Woman's Relief Corps, Department of Indiana, consist of general orders; officer rosters; and journals of proceedings of the state organization.

The records of the National Womans' Relief Corps consist of general orders; a list of accomplishments of the national organization; booklets of burial and memorial services; ritual books and journals published by the national organization.

Document Case 1

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Membership applications

1928-1969

 

 

 

Folder 2

"Roll of Members"

1885-1893;

1928-1929

 

 

 

 

"Roll of Members"

(information is presented alphabetically and chronologically; includes the post's officer lists and attendance records)

1885-1928

(large gap in years)

 

 

 

Folder 3

List of members

Jan. 1935

 

 

 

 

"Roll of Members"

n.d.

 

 

 

Folder 4

"Roll of Members"

1912-1938

 

 

 

Folder 5

Minutes, MWRC

Aug. 9, 1927-
Aug. 2, 1929

 

 

 

Folder 6

Minutes, MWRC

Aug. 4, 1933-
March 18, 1938

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Case 2

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Minutes, MWRC

April 1, 1938-
Oct. 1, 1943

 

 

 

Folder 2

Minutes, MWRC

Oct. 15, 1943

 

 

 

Folder 3

Minutes, MWRC

Aug. 20, 1943-
Nov. 18, 1948

 

 

 

Folder 4

Minutes, MWRC

Dec. 2, 1949-
Sept. 3, 1954

 

 

 

Folder 5

Minutes, MWRC

Sept. 17, 1954-
Oct. 16, 1959

 

 

 

Folder 6

Minutes, MWRC

Nov. 6, 1959-
Sept. 16, 1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Case 3

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Minutes, Past President's Club,
MWRC

Nov. 21, 1933-

Dec. 11, 1945

 

 

 

Folder 2

Minutes, Past President's Club,
MWRC

(These pages were found separated from the bound minute books.)

Sept. 12, 1944;

Oct. 10, 1944;

Nov. 14, 1944;

Dec. 12, 1944;

Jan. 9, 1945;

Feb. 13, 1945

 

 

 

Folder 3

Minutes: Past President's Club, MWRC

Jan. 8, 1946-
June 13, 1958

 

 

 

Folder 4

Minutes: Past President's Club, MWRC

July 1958-
Dec. 11, 1967

 

 

 

Folder 5

Record Book: Past President's Club, MWRC

1941-1967

 

 

 

 

Attendance records

1941-1959

 

 

 

 

Cash book

1941-1967

 

 

 

Financial Records

 

 

 

 

Folder 6

Cash book, MWRC

1892-1894

 

 

 

Folder 7

Cash book, MWRC

1937-1945

 

 

 

Folder 8

Cash book, MWRC

1957-1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Case 4

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Receipts for payment

1894-1978

 

 

 

Folder 2

Receipts for payment of rent to the
Memorial Hall Association

1965-1971

 

 

 

Folder 3

Reports from MWRC officers

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary's report (membership tallies)

1931-1980

 

 

 

Folder 4

Reports from MRWC officers

 

 

 

 

 

Treasurer's report

1979-1980

 

 

 

 

Chaplain's report

1962, 1963

 

 

 

 

Press Correspondent's report

n.d.

 

 

Miscellaneous Files

 

 

 

 

Folder 5

American Creed/American Flag

n.d.; 1936

 

 

 

Folder 6

"Boys of Sixty-One" by Anna Morris Clark,  National Chaplain, National Woman's Relief Corps

Feb. 12, 1930

 

 

 

Folder 7

Department Delegate cards

n..d

 

 

 

Folder 8

District Meetings

1961-1969

 

 

 

Folder 9

Fundraisers

n.d.

 

 

 

Folder 10

Indiana Soldier's and Sailor's Childrens Home in Knightstown, Indiana

1952

 

 

 

Folder 11

Morton Post No. 1's last surviving members

n.d.

 

 

 

Folder 12

National Federated Patriotic Societies:

By-Laws

Installation Service



n.d.

1936

 

 

 

Folder 13

National Soldiers' Home, Tennessee: Souvenir book

n.d.

 

 

 

Folder 14

Miscellaneous correspondence

 

 

 

 

Folder 15

Newspapers

March 12, 1954

 

 

 

Loose

Bible and Concordance ("presented to Morton Relief Corp. No. 11 by Frances Lewis in December 1947")

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Case 5

 

 

 

 

Woman's Relief Corps, Dept. of Indiana

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

General Orders

1901,
1943-1958

 

 

 

Folder 2

General Orders

1962-1980

 

 

 

Folder 3

Circular

Feb. 20, 1952

 

 

 

Folder 4

Officer Rosters

1944, 1948-49
1949-50, 1960

 

 

 

Folder 5

Officer Rosters

1962, 1966
1968, 1969

 

 

 

Folder 6

Officer Rosters

1971, 1972-73
1976

 

 

 

Folder 7

"Journal of the Forty-ninth Annual Convention,    Department of Indiana, Woman's Relief Corps,   Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, Richmond, Indiana"

June 20-23, 1932

 

 

 

 

Folder 8

"Journal of the Fiftieth Convention, Our Golden Jubilee of the Department of Indiana, Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, Huntington, Indiana"

June 11-15, 1933

 

 

 

Folder 9

"Journal, Sixty-first Annual Convention, Department
  of Indiana, Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the
  Grand Army of the Republic, Indianapolis, Indiana"

June 25-29, 1944

 

 

 

Folder 10

"Journal, Sixty-first Annual Convention, Department of Indiana, Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, Indianapolis, Indiana"

June 25-29, 1944

 

 

 

National Woman's Relief Corps
(Document Cases 5 and 6)

 

 

 

 

Folder 11

"Activities and Services of the National Woman's Relief Corps"

1958

 

 

 

 

"Activities and Services of the National Woman's Relief Corps"

1964

 

 

 

Folder 12

General Orders

1944-1962

 

 

 

Folder 13

General Orders

1965-1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Case 6

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Memorial Orders

1957-1966

 

 

 

Folder 2

"Corps Services: Institution - Installation - Inspection"

"Services of the Woman's Relief Corps"
(incomplete, pp. 3-36)

1937


n.d.

 

 

 

Folder 3

National Woman's Relief Corps:

"Burial and Memorial Services"
(3 copies)



1928

 

 

 

Folder 4

Ritual Books

1919 (2 copies)

 

 

 

Folder 5

Ritual Books

1921, 1923

 

 

 

Folder 6

Ritual Books

1929, 1933

 

 

 

Folder 7

Ritual Books

1936 (2 copies)

 

 

 

Folder 8

Ritual Books

1936 (1 copy)

 

 

 

Folder 9

Ritual Books

1941, 1953

 

 

 

Folder 10

Ritual Books

1957 (2 copies);
1967

 

 

 

Loose

"A Journal of the Forty-eighth Convention of the National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic at Cincinnati, Ohio"

Aug. 24-28, 1930

 

 

 

Loose

"A Journal of the Fiftieth Convention of the  National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, at Springfield, Illinois"

Sept. 19-22, 1932