click to enlarge

Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall in her Red Cross uniform,
Resson-sur-Matz, France, February–March 1918
2 11/16" x 1 13/16"
Eleanor Saltonstall photographs, photo #33.3368

Women in World War I

During World War I, while women in the U.S. supported the war effort in a variety of ways, more than 25,000 American women went to Europe as soldiers, sailors, Red Cross and Salvation Army workers, and other kinds of volunteers. Those pioneers—many of them from Massachusettshave left behind a rich legacy of manuscripts and published memoirs, and their role has been permanently fixed in the popular imagination through the vivid poster art of the period.

One Red Cross worker from Massachusetts who served in France was 23-year-old Eleanor "Nora" Saltonstall. A 1911 graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, Saltonstall went to Paris in October 1917 to work for the Bureau of Refugees and Relief of the Red Cross. Early in 1918, her desire for a more active role led her to transfer to a mobile Red Cross hospital attached to the French army. There she served as a "chauffeur" (a truck or ambulance driver) and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for service under fire. Nora Salstonall's wartime letters, diary, photographs and memorabilia will be on display at the MHS as part of the Women and War exhibition.


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Women and War

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