Archive for Sunday, July 9, 2017

World War I in Lawrence: Lawrence misses goal in fundraising drive

July 9, 2017

Editor’s note: As the U.S. marks the 100th anniversary of its entry into World War I this year, local writer Sarah St. John will compile reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence at that time.

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As the Red Cross fundraising campaign drew close to the end, it became clear that citizens of Douglas County, specifically in Lawrence, had failed to reach their assigned goal of $35,000.

The local committee initially intended to extend the drive, as the county was “not within several thousand dollars of half the sum asked of it, and the biggest delinquency by far [was] in Lawrence,” according to a Journal-World report. In an attempt to bring Lawrence citizens to a proper realization of their duties, one of the drive managers pointed out that Eudora, “a little town made up largely of Americans of German stock,” had made a 100 percent better showing, while “Lawrence, which prides itself on its pure American stock, gave proportionally less. ... And this for an American cause that aims at the vanquishing of German.”

Baldwin was reported to have raised $1,700, at least $100 more than its assigned goal. The Lawrence shortage, organizers claimed, came through “some of the big interests. Quite a few of the wealthy men of Lawrence came through liberally, but a number of others failed miserably to live up to their duty. Do men have to be begged to do their duty?”

For comparison, an organizer offered the story of “a poor woman who keeps a boarding house and to whom a dollar above bare necessities is a very rare thing. She already has given a son to the army.” When asked for her donation, she was reported to have said, “I want to give $5, but I haven’t it and don’t know where I can get it. I want to give that much at least. Won’t you come back tomorrow and I’ll try hard to have $5 for you. I want to give all I can.”

World War I in Lawrence
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