Saturday, June 1, 2013

Women's National Relief Association / Blue Anchor Society

“The object of this organization is the furnishing of clothing, food and other necessaries to the shipwrecked, through supplies constantly sent on requisition from the Government agent in Washington, DC, to the 269 life saving stations on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and the lakes. It has been the sole resource of the rescued by the brave life savers of our United States Life Service for twenty-one years past.” ~Mrs. Mary Graham Young, Treasurer, 14 Aug 1901

This organization was founded in 1880 for the purpose of extending aid and comfort to the victims of shipwrecks and other marine casualties on our shores. It found its widest area of usefulness in conjunction with the rescue and relief performed by the crews of the United States Life-Saving Services. The work of looking after the comfort of those whose misfortune placed them in the care of the United States Life-Saving Services (later the U.S. Coast Guard) was undertaken to meet a most serious need: the Government never made any provision for furnishing clothing to victims of accidents and disasters upon the water.

The value of the organization’s endeavors in this regard may be best understood when it's known that people rescued from stranded vessels and given succor by life-saving stations were often without personal effects and nearly always drenched to the skin, scantily clad or with badly torn clothing. In severe winter weather, they were sometimes subjected to long hours of exposure. The stations had no money or supplies to aid them, except what these women collected and forwarded in the way of clothing, blankets and restoratives.

The organization was altogether a private philanthropy with no salary list. It was managed by a body of ladies who depended entirely on voluntary gifts and gave all its receipts to aid persons, passengers or sailors shipwrecked on the United States coasts. Practically all donations that were distributed through the life-saving services consisted of wearing apparel. An order from any station of the service was promptly honored and supplies were forwarded to their destination entirely at the organization’s expense. Station keepers were required to report to headquarters the circumstances under which they were expended.

1 comment:

  1. My aunt wrote an unpublished book on Hannah MacLaren Shephard who founded the Women's National Relief Association. Do you know anything about her?
    Tim Bennett: