|FOR THE first two Liberty Loans the New England committee did not realize what an important place Topsfield was, so they merged it with Danvers, and the Central Committee has no record of the amount of money subscribed by the town. Unquestionably a considerable amount subscribed by our citizens was not credited to the town and this same uncertainty extended over the Third Loan when we were better organized for the drive. Andrew L. Peirce kindly took charge of this drive and made the first real campaign in the town for the Liberty Loans. The town was credited with $79,300, and unquestionably much more was subscribed that was not credited.
For the Fourth Liberty Loan still more elaborate preparations were made. The Essex County Chairman visited the town and helped in planning the work. This drive lasted for three weeks--from September 28 to October 19, 1918. Topsfield was assigned a quota of $199,000. The following officers constituted the Executive Committee in charge:
Bertram C. Gould, Chairman
Raymond S. Roberts, Vice-Chairman
Miss Katharine F. Wellman, Vice-Chairman
Miss Elizabeth D. Peabody, Secretary
William C. Long, Treasurer
COMMITTEE ON PUBLICITY
Charles R. Wait, Chairman
Mrs. James Duncan Phillips
Miss Miriam Gould
John L. Fiske
For the purpose of making a house-to-house canvass, the town was divided into eight districts, in charge of committees with the following captains:
District No. 1
Miss Helen Poor, Captain
District No. 3
Miss Annie P. Gleason, Captain
District No. 5
Andy F. Jackman, Captain
District No. 7
Thomas E. Elliot, Captain
District No. 2|
Mrs. William H. Herrick, Captain
District No. 4
Mrs. Harry W. Poor, Captain
District No. 6
Mrs. Russell C. Smith, Captain
Arthur H. Wellman, Captain
Topsfield reached its quota on October 19, the last day of the drive, and further returns continued to come in during the next three weeks. Officially Topsfield's total, subscribed by 327 people, amounted to $246,550, but there were additional subscriptions of $3500 in Boston to be credited to Topsfield, which failed to be reported officially, so that the total amount subscribed was really $250,050. At least thirty per cent of our population participated in the loan and the per capita subscription amounted to $210.
Substantially the same committee worked for the Victory Loan in May, 1919. the quota charged to the town was $149,250 and this was well over-subscribed before the drive was finished. The total subscription was over $155,000, contributed by about 135 persons, making a per capita subscription for the town of about $140.
TOPSFIELD CANNING CLUB
THROUGH the efforts of the Public Safety Committee in May, 1917, a committee toorganize a Community Canning Centre was appointed consisting of Mrs. James Duncan Phillips, Chairman; Mrs. Frederic Ayer, Jr., Mrs. Wilfred Hay, and Mrs. Frank Smith. Mr. Lawrence generously lent his bungalow for the work and Mrs. F. Percy Smerage, of Topsfield, was engaged as regular supervisor, having two paid helpers.Mrs. J.D. Phillips, President
The Club opened in June with a tea and business meeting at Mrs. Lawrence's, at which operating plans were discussed and approved. By the rules, a member could, upon payment of fifty cents fee,
First--Order and buy from the Club any finished product at four percent discount from the regular retail price.
Second--Send her vegetables, with or without jars, to the Club to be put up at actual cost of labor, plus twenty percent for overhead.
Third--She could do her own work at the Club and profit by Mrs. Smerage's advice, at a charge of two cents per jar, for the use of the container. Members were entitled to buy jars and rubbers for their canning from the Club, and if they desired, could pay for such supplies by their finished product, provided it was put up under Club supervision.
The Club was open for four days a week from June 20 until October 20. Of its 106 members, two or three volunteers helped the regular workers each day and it is realized that without the assistance of these volunteers such splendid results could not have been obtained. Once a month a demonstration was held, always largely attended and most successful. In addition to local an coöperative work, a great number of outside orders were filled. From all the customers only one complaint was received.
The total output during the summer amounted approximately to 3000 jars of fruits and vegetables, 1800 glasses of jelly, and 500 pounds of jam. The record output for one day, six people working, was 184 jars and 45 pounds of jam (8.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M.).
Fifteen members came to the Club to do their own canning under supervision, only two leaving payment in finished products. Fourteen members sent produce from their gardens to be canned and 42 members bought jars and rubbers.
The Treasurer's report at the end of the season showed a surplus of $584.30, after having paid the loan advanced through the Public Safety Committee, as well as all debts incurred.
During the winter 1917-18 the activities of the Club were confined more to home economics. Monthly meetings were held, the Grange very kindly furnishing room and fuel. After a basket lunch, lectures on dietetics or home economics were given, and at all of these meetings food problems were freely discussed, receipts and experiences exchanged, and papers read upon the topics in question. Such subjects as wheat and fat substitutes, demonstrations on drying, canning, and jelly-making, were given, and at the end of the summer an exhibition of canned products was held, at which prizes were awarded for the best display of canned goods and jellies.
In June, 1918, a Junior membership was added and Mrs. Smerage conducted classes during the summer for the fifteen Junior members, instructing them in canning fruits and vegetables.
At the November meeting the Juniors exhibited with the Seniors and were also awarded prizes by the Club. At the same time their exhibits were judged for the County and State prizes.
During the summer a Book Club was organized under Miss Annie P. Gleason as Chairman of the Committee. The town was divided into districts and books on food problems and home economics were distributed for circulation among the members.
In October "soldiers' Week" was observed. Almost every member of the Club assisted in making jam, marmalade, and fruit butters for the Base Hospital at Camp Devens. One hundred and twenty-three gallons of jam were produced and taken to Ayer by motor, where it was most gratefully received and heartily appreciated by those in charge of the Hospital.
Thus the Canning Club, through its various branches, justified its existenc. The economic value of canning and its possibilities were demonstrated and advertised. Encouragement and help were given to those who had not canned before, and the veterans were spurred on to greater effort. And so, in its own way, it helped to win the War.
The following officers were elected at the annual meeting in June, 1918, for the ensuing year:
Mrs. John S. Lawrence, Vice-President
Mrs. Charles W. Taintor, Vice-President
Mrs. Charles Grinnell, Committee
Mrs. Frederick Ayer, Jr.
Mrs. W. Chester Long
Mrs. Harris E. Perkins
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TOPSFIELD BRANCH OF THE AMERICAN FUND FOR FRENCH WOUNDED
THE Topsfield Branch of the American Fund for French Wounded was organized in the fall of 1915, and was supported by subscription and kept its workroom open all winter with an attendance of about twenty regular workers. In summer, the attendance was larger. It shipped surgical dressings, knitted articles and garments to the Boston Headquarters and also sent comfort bags at Christmas time.
In April, 1917, when the Special Aid Branch was organized , the two branches were carried on in harmony, using the same workroom. In October, 1917, it was voted to merge the French Wounded Branch with that of the Special Aid, turning over to one Treasurer the united funds, and continuing to ship to the French Wounded Branch as the Executive Committee of the Special Aid decided.
The total output of the workroom for A.F.F.W. from start to November 1, 1917, when it merged with the Special Aid, was:
11, 427 packages surgical dressings
1183 hospital supplies, including draw pads, binders, wash cloths, towels, mosquito nets, stork sheeting, blankets and old linen
337 hospital garments (shirts, vests, and pajamas)
850 knitted articles
160 Christmas bags
15,306 total articles
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