Sep6

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In my previous post Comforts Committee of the Navy League I spoke briefly of my grandmother May’s involvement in knitting sweaters and such for submariners in World War I.

Recently I’ve found there are some terrific images and resources online relating to the Comforts Committee and just wanted to share a few favorites here.

First, to whet your appetite, I suggest this  short series of articles written by David Vergun for the Navy League’s SeaPower magazine written in celebration of their centennial anniversary. (I’ve linked to a Google search as they link to the articles on an older version of the web site. I have been unable to locate them on the newest version of their site.)

Mr Verdun includes the following poem and description from the time:

During World War I, Navy Leaguers enthusiastically answered the call to duty by either signing up in the armed forces or volunteering for duty on the homefront. Leaguers in cities and towns across the country recruited shipworkers for the war effort. Others assisted armed forces recruiters. Thousands of women worked with the Navy League’s Comforts Committee to make hand-woven garments for U.S. forces and their allies. The Navy League became so well known for its work that the Hempstead Inquirer of Long Island, N.Y., published a poem of tribute:

The Navy League

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir; yes, sir!
Three bags full!

When you want a sweater
What do you do?
Go to the Navy League
And they’ll give you two!

When you want a helmet
And no one else has any
Just ask the Navy League
And they’ll say “How many?”

If the boys are freezing
And need 60 mufflers more,
Go ask the Navy League
And they’ll give you sixty-four!

When the cry goes up for help–
“Have you any wool?”
“Sure!” says the Navy League
“Three bags full!”

–Mary Youngs

Comforts Committee of Navy League - Ladies Knitting

At left is a photograph of some ladies volunteering their time to the cause. There are many wonderful images on the Library of Congress site that are both historical and more personal – I suggest you make it a regular destination when working on your own family history research.

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