Rash's Surname Index


Notes for Elsie YANDELL

BARBER, ELSIE YANDELL (Mrs. Donn Barber, daughter of Dr. Lunsford Pitts and Louise Boddie (Elliston) Yandell, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where she had her early education before entering upon a year's training at the Packer Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother, who was noted as a reformer and philanthropist, established the first free kindergartens and the first schools of reform in Kentucky, and opened the first free babies' hospital in Louisville, in memory of her husband, Dr. Yandell. The latter was the son of Dr. Lunsford Pitts Yandell, Sr., who established the first medical school south of the Mason and Dixon line and wrote a comprehensive history of medicine in the South before the Civil War.
When the plans and program of the National League for Woman's Service were first formulated in February, 1917, Mrs. Barber was appointed National, State, and City Chairman of the Canteen Division. The original idea of canteen service was to fill an emergency by feeding the men at the trains and docks before their departure for camps and overseas. The military forces of the country required the services of a Refreshment Unit, and the New York County Chapter of the American Red Cross with which the National League for Woman's Service co÷perated, appointed Mrs. Barber to organize this unit and to recruit the personnel from the volunteers of the National League for Woman's Service. Owing, however, to the fact that thousands of soldiers and sailors who were at camps within accessible distance of New York were daily passing through the city, the plan was conceived of establishing "Service Clubs" in addition to the emergency service. This idea was included in the plans and program of the National League for Woman's Service which co÷perated with the War Camp Community Service in the organizing of these Service Clubs. The Service Clubs provided a comfortable and attractive place in which the men could read, write, dance, play billiards, and otherwise amuse themselves, and a canteen where they could purchase food at a nominal price. The canteens in these Service Clubs were under the direct supervision of the Canteen Division of the National League for Woman's Service, and were all self-supporting. There were fourteen National League Canteens in New York City and many others within a short distance of New York. During the war approximately 800,000 men were fed at these canteens. Most of them were near the great terminals of the city and at other important points. In addition to these, several canteens were opened at the request of the Government to serve the staffs of various Governmental Departments, notably the Hudson Street Canteen, which was opened for the Medical Supply Department, and the Wall Street Navy Canteen which was kept [p.323] open day and night for the staff of the Naval Intelligence Office. All the canteens were for enlisted men, with the exception of the Pershing Club for Officers. Of the ten thousand women who enrolled for service in the Canteen Division, 2500 were assigned to the various canteens. These women prepared the food, served the meals, and furnished the friendly and hospitable atmosphere which contributed so largely to the canteens' success. They were so efficiently trained that they were called upon by many other war organizations, not only for canteen service, but for service in many other capacities, including relief work and entertainments for the men.
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