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Chapter X





Post exchanges were established and maintained at practically all the large hospitals,1 under regulations promulgated by the War Department.2 They were provided to afford opportunities to both members of detachments and patients to purchase at reasonable prices articles in ordinary use, wear, and consumption not supplied by the Government, as well as means of rational recreation and amusement.3

Though the War Department provided buildings for exchanges, initial stock was obtained on credit.4 This necessarily caused a modest beginning on

FIG. 69.-A post exchange building

such articles as candy, soft drinks, and tobacco. Essential fixtures for the adequate storage or display of the stock, as well as for adjuncts like the barber shop, were gradually obtained as business grew.

The features of post exchanges included a well-stocked general store, in which such goods were kept as those usually required at military posts, and a barber shop.


The exchanges accomplished considerable in aiding the upkeep of the morale of those in hospitals during the war period.

The system of operating them provided for the extension of credit through the use of checks or coupons representing values and exchangeable for merchandise or other charges at the exchange to the enlisted man.5 The authorized credit could not exceed one-third of the pay, of the soldier to whom it was given, for any one month.

Each hospital exchange was directly in charge of an officer detailed from the personnel of the hospital and operated by enlisted men from the detachment. A council of administration, which met at least once monthly and which comprised the officer in charge of the exchange and officers in charge of the detachments of the hospital, audited the financial records of the exchange, checked the stock and funds on hand, outlined the business policy to be pursued, and, with the approval of the commanding officer, determined the dis?

FIG. 70.-Interior of a post exchange

position of profits; that is, that portion which would be given the general mess or otherwise utilized for recreational benefit of the enlisted men of the hospital.5


Immediately after war was declared by the United States the Young Men's Christian Association tendered its services for the promotion of the social, physical, intellectual, and moral welfare of the enlisted men. As a result of this, official recognition of the association was given in an order of the President issued in May, 1917.6 The scope of the duties accomplished by the Y. M. C. A. included the Army as a whole, but among its features were regular forms of service to the patients and duty personnel of hospitals, promoted through Y. M. C. A. hospital buildings or visits made by secretaries, the use of Y. M. C. A. buildings for overflow sick, and the institution of a system of rehabilitation gymnastics.7 There were variations in the geographic location of the Y. M. C. A. building in the groups of structures representing the hospi-


tals, as well as the use to which it was put. The following description of the activities of the Y. M. C. A. hut at the base hospital, Camp Devens, Mass., may be taken as a fair sample to picture the accomplishments of the association in the military hospitals of this country:8

The Y. M. C. A. is a building about 50 by 75 feet, located opposite the enlisted men's barracks and connected with the wards by a covered corridor. This building has been freely used by both the enlisted men and the patients. Basket ball and other indoor sports were carried on during the winter, and an hour for the officers was reserved twice a week. Entertainments of some sort are given nearly every evening, such as moving pictures, addresses, concerts, and an occasional dramatic entertainment. On Sundays religious services are held in this building by the chaplain or some visiting clergyman. There is also a room for reading and writing.

Other religious or fraternal organizations were also desirous of performing a service largely concerned with the recreation of both patients and personnel of hospitals. These organizations had been given an official standard by the Secretary of War in January, 1918.9

The Knights of Columbus established social service "huts" at a few of the hospitals and at others maintained its social service through representatives from neighboring clubs.10 The Jewish Welfare Board likewise contributed its share to recreational facilities, by erecting buildings in some of the hospital groups or by the establishment of recreational centers in the vicinity of a hospital.11 These organizations provided special ward entertainment for men confined to bed, and distributed fruits, lemonade, and other refreshments.


Red Cross convalescent houses were built by the Red Cross, in connection with each hospital, to provide a place of recreation and amusement for sick and wounded who were convalescent. In these convalescent houses personnel was provided for Red Cross work among the patients.12 This work included all manner of personal service to the men, entertainments, games, and the teaching of handicraft. The Red Cross houses were turned over to the commanding officers of hospitals, and became, to all intents and purposes, wards of the hospital, intended primarily for the use of convalescents.

There was also built, in connection with each of the larger hospitals, recreation house for the nurses.13


Amusements and recreations were variously evaluated by the commanding officers of hospitals and, though amusements were systematized somewhat by the correlated activities, there were ample opportunities for the display of initiative in the provision of both of these features. Moving pictures, band concerts, phonographs, and entertainments played a prominent part in the amusement of those in hospitals generally, and though there were some in which there was a paucity of variety, many reports evince earnest and highly successful efforts made to provide every available form of amusement suitable not only for patients but duty personnel as well. Social activities were intelligently managed at many of the hospitals, with a view to maintaining the highest possible degree of morale. Athletic fields were an adjunct of most of the hospitals,14 whereon baseball, football, track meets, etc., were participated in. At some hospitals bowling alleys were constructed15 and at others swimming pools were installed.16


FIG 71.-A base hospital bowling alley

FIG. 72.-A swimming pool at Base Hospital, Camp MacArthur, Texas



In the hospitals of this country, the American Library Association developed a well-organized service which provided for free distribution of library books to both duty personnel and patients.17 Books, magazines, and newspapers were supplied to approximately 150 hospitals, in each of which expert administration or supervision was provided by trained librarians. In reconstruction hospitals the association strongly supported educational work by supplying every technical book for which patients demonstrated a real need.


Toward the latter part of the year 1918 a distinct need was felt for some means of disseminating items of news, not only to the patients, now beginning to return to the United States from hospitals abroad, to their relations and friends, but to the personnel of the hospitals as well. To fulfill this need the publication of newspapers and magazines by the hospitals was encouraged; and in November, 1918, the General Publicity Board of the Surgeon General's Office was charged with the duty of the establishment and supervision of newspapers at Army hospitals.18

On December 5, 1918, the first of these papers The Come-Back, was published at Walter Reed General Hospital, Takoma Park, D. C. In rapid succession other hospital publications appeared; and ultimately there were those which are shown in the following list:  




General Hospital No. 42, Spartanburg, S. C.

The Chevron

General Hospital No. 25, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind.

The Caduceus

Base Hospital, Camp Greene, N. C.  

The Base Hospital Daily Bulletin

Base Hospital, Camp Custer, Mich.

The Cure   

Base Hospital, Camp Upton, Long Island, N. Y.

The Fort Bayard News

General Hospital, Fort Bayard, N. Mex.

Fort Porter Reporter

General Hospital No. 4, Fort Porter, N. Y.

Gee Aitch 43

General Hospital No. 43, Hampton, Va.

The Orphan

Keep the Cadence

Fort Des Moines Post

General Hospital No. 26, Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

The Hospital Breeze

Base Hospital, Fort Riley, Kans.

The Fort Sheridan Recall

General Hospital No. 28, Fort Sheridan, Ill.

The Mess Kit

Base Hospital, Camp Merritt, N. J. 

McPherson Booster

General Hospital No. 6, Fort McPherson, Ga.

The Listening Post

Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif.

The Oteen

General Hospital No. 19, Oteen (Azalea), N. C.

The Open Window

General Hospital No. 8, Otisville, N.  Y.

The Hustler

General Hospital No. 16, New Haven, Conn.

Over Here

General Hospital No. 3, Rahway, N. J.

The Stimulant

General Hospital No. 9, Lakewood, N. J.

'Tenshun 21

General Hospital No. 21, Denver, Colo.

The West's Recall

General Hospital No. 20, Whipple Barracks, Ariz.

Up Grade

General Hospital No. 31, Carlisle, Pa.

Under the Dome

General Hospital No. 35, West Baden, Ind.


General Hospital No. 10, Boston, Mass.

The Ward Healer

General Hospital No. 12, Biltmore, N. C.

The Trouble Buster

General Hospital No. 2, Fort McHenry, Md.

The Right About

Debarkation Hospital No. 3, Greenhut Building, New York, N. Y.

The Come-Back

Walter Reed General Hospital, Takoma Park, D. C.

As You Were

General Hospital No. 24, Parkview Station, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Plattsburg Reflex

General Hospital No. 30, Plattsburg Barracks, N. Y.

The Star Shell

General Hospital No. 17, Markleton, Pa.

The Pill Box

Debarkation Hospital No. 1, Ellis Island, N. Y.

Ontario Post

General Hospital No. 5, Fort Ontario, N. Y.  

The Hospital Review

General Hospital No. 1, Williamsbridge, New York City.

Base Hospital Journal

Camp Sherman, Ohio.

Home Again

Debarkation Hospital No. 2, Fox Hills, Staten Island, N. Y.

Over the Top

Base Hospital, Camp Zachary Taylor, N. Y.

Heads Up

Debarkation Hospital No. 52, Richmond College, Va.


General Hospital No. 36, Detroit, Mich.

The Reclaimer

General Hospital No. 34, East Norfolk, Mass.


Debarkation Hospital No. 51, National Soldier's Home, Va.  

The Hospital Records

Base Hospital, Camp Cody, Deming, N. Mex.

The Post Post

General Hospital No. 11, Cape May, N. J.

The Reveille

General Hospital No. 29, Fort Snelling, Minn.  

Here and There

Base Hospital, Camp Meade, Md.

The Silver Chev'

Camp Hospital, Camp Grant, Ill.

Weekly Inspection

Base Hospital, Camp Lewis, Wash.

The Camouflage

Base Hospital, Camp Wheeler, Ga.

About Face

Base Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

The Bomb Proof

General Hospital No. 18, Waynesville, N. C.

Many of the names of these newspapers suggest the implied, cheerful nature of the contents of the pages they captioned. Indeed, cheerfulness was the consistent watchword of all of them without exception. Within their pages were to be found interesting articles which dealt with the Medical Department at large, with the hospitals concerned, and with the individuals within them. They were used for the more serious purpose of affording the opportunity to patients to mentally or manually benefit themselves by the training and education embraced in any branch of printing and the mechanical operations of newspaper work, as well as in reporting, advertising, circulating, editorial writing, illustrating, cartooning, and story writing.  

The newspapers were aided by the General Publicity Board in obtaining an advertising patronage which resulted in making it possible to issue an attractively appearing publication that could not but be appreciatively welcomed by those for whom it was intended.  



(1) Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U. S. Army, 1918, 318. 

(2) A. R. 345, 1913.  

(3) S. R. No. 59, 1917, Par. 12. 

(4) Ibid., Par. 15.

(5) Ibid., Par. 22.

(6) G. O. No. 57, W. D., May 9, 1917.

(7) Galley proof of Official Report of War Activities of the Young Men's Christian Association. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(8) Taken from a statement in History of Base Hospital, Camp Devens, Mass. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 314.7 (Base Hospital, Camp Devens) D.

(9) G. O. No. 2, W. D., January 7, 1918.  


(10) "Medical Care Provided by National Catholic War Council." On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(11) A Handbook of Economic Agencies of the War of 1917. Memo. No. 3. Historical Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, 1919, 240-241.

(12) The American Red Cross Assistance to the Medical Department of the Army in the United States, by Lieut. Col. C. H. Connor, M. C. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(13) The American National Red Cross Annual Report for the Year Ending June 30, 1918, 65.

(14) Taken from Histories of Base Hospitals at Camps Jackson, Lee, McClellan, Sevier, Shelby, and Taylor. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(15) Taken from History of Base Hospital, Camp Jackson. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O. 

(16) Taken from Histories of Base Hospitals at Camp Bowie and Camp MacArthur.  On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(17) Special Report from the American Library Association, War Service. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(18) Memo. of conference with General Munson, chief of Morale Branch of the General Staff, November 15, 1918. On file, Record Room, S. G. O. 250-2 (Morale).