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Short History of Military Nursing : World War I, 1914-1919

American Red Cross

At the beginning of the war, the American Red Cross was a small organization still in the process of developing its identity and programs. When the United States declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917, the organization began a period of extraordinary growth. By the time the war ended in November 1918, the Red Cross had become a major national humanitarian organization with strong leadership, a huge membership base, universal recognition, and a broad and distinguished record of service. Here are some of the highlights of that remarkable period in Red Cross history.

Photos of Nurses in Action

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Internet Resources

"Sacred Twenty"

The Sacred Twenty were a group of exclusively female nurses who, during World War I, were the first female members to ever formally serve in the United States Navy representing the Nurse Corps. Officially formed in 1908, the Sacred Twenty made broad contributions during wartime, not only including training of field nurses and disease treatment, but also providing education programs for nurses abroad and professional publications to the field of nursing."Sacred Twenty"

Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (located on the 4th floor) provides access to collections of unpublished materials about the history of Wisconsin and a wide array of topics related to North American history. These collections include letters, diaries, organization records, state and local government records, photographs, films, oral histories and many other kinds of unique materials documenting American history.

All unpublished personal or corporate manusctips will be located in the Archives Reading Room.  For more information about visiting the Archives and using the materials, please consult the visition page to learn how to access the collections.  It is important to understand that ArCat and UW's Library Catalog are two separate catalogs. Searching the Library Catalog will not provide information on Archives sources.

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Two Wisconsin Nurses Receive Silver Star--Press Release