The Gray Lady service began in 1918 at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Women volunteers acted as hostesses and provided recreational services to patients, most of whom had been injured during WW I. The women wore gray dresses and veils as uniforms and the soldiers affectionately called them "the gray ladies." The service did not become officially known as the Gray Lady Service until after World War II (1947). The term "Gray Ladies" refers to American Red Cross volunteers.
A poster promoting safety and orderly conduct during WWII civil defense air raid drills: "An orderly line is a safe line!" A Federal Art Project poster by Christopher DeNoon from the New York City Works Progress Administration War Service, between 1941 and 1943.
c. 1942-1947 Mercantile Uniforms, New York:WWII "Gray Lady" Red Cross Uniform/American Red Cross Volunteer Outfit. AKA Hospital and Recreation Corps. Uniform. The gray and white thin striped cotton dress and additional pieces of the white epaulets, white collar, gray matching belt and cap are all separate pieces. The American Red Cross Volunteer pin is pinned on the chest pocket above the large red cross embroidered patch. This one is dated 1942; the year they removed the veil from the…
The government-led mobilization of women for World War II (1939-1945) expanded women’s roles to include those traditionally considered “men’s work,” highly skilled jobs such as pilots, mechanics, and radio engineers. Nearly 400,000 women served in the military over the course of the war; ten times the number who served during World War I (1914-1919). Women also joined humanitarian organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Service Organizations (USO).
26 Oct 42: American Red Cross "clubmobiles" begin service in England. Affectionately called "Doughnut Dollies," the clubmobile women will be a source of tremendous morale-boosting comfort to war-weary troops through the end of the war.