Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. During WWI and WWII, Centenary College was an all girls’ school, and they supported the military force by staying ‘war conscious’. It doesn’t sound like much, but aiding in the war effort was important for those on the ‘home front’ and Centenary did whatever it could to help.
Top: Patriotic promotion was everywhere during wartime, as can be seen by the Callilogian Society Open Meeting program, 1918.
Left: A page from a war-era scrapbook highlights the work of Centenary’s Junior Red Cross.
The school organized the Junior Red Cross of Centenary Collegiate Institute during WWI that saw its hundred members providing garments and ‘comfortbags’ for French refugee children. The JRC of CCI also created Surgical Dressing classes and trained over fifty to prepare dressings for the Red Cross.
During WWII, girls were urged to improve common wartime skills such as typing, home nursing, knitting, and first aid to promote defense work. The Guild, a Centenary club whose purpose was to unite its members in a spirit of friendliness and service, hosted several events to aid the war effort. Its members collected money, old clothes, stamps, paper, and tinfoil, knitted sweaters and scarves, and hosted events at the Red Cross.
Centenary also focused on improving the minds and bodies of its students. Nutrition classes stressed better eating and buying habits. Phys. Ed. emphasized building strength and endurance. The college offered home nursing classes to teach students about health and sickness. First Aid classes trained students to be of aid in an emergency.
“Right here at Centenary we can begin to learn the right habits, acquire the best attitudes, and form the most correct opinions about the situation at hand. We cannot blindly ignore the conditions of war, neither can we fail to see the results that will inevitably arise from it. Let us learn to appreciate what we now have and let us also resign ourselves to the fact that perhaps we may have to relinquish some of the pleasures that we are now taking for granted. “ (Spilled Ink 1942, Vol 1 No 1).