Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mystery Photo: Girl Scouts and the Red Cross

This is an intriguing photograph. It shows two women in a group of what are most likely high school girls. One of the women is in a nurse’s uniform and the other a scout leader’s uniform. The girls are also in uniform, half Girl Scout and the other half in a type of uniform that we can’t identify. Kenneth Loyal Smith, our trustee whose background is textile conservation, has worked with Girl Scout uniforms in the past and thinks that the ones pictured here date from about 1955.

The presence of the nurse and the Red Cross flag suggested at first that the photograph might represent the Junior Red Cross, a group that was sponsored by the Hastings branch of the Red Cross and met in the school. But the fact that every girl appears to be in uniform makes this unlikely.

Only one person in the photograph has been identified. Her name is Dorothea “Kamm” Gould. Do you recognize anyone else? Do you have any idea what this other uniform could be, what the occasion was, or why this photograph was taken? We’d love to know!
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  1. Thanks to everyone who has e-mailed us about this photograph so far!

    Thanks to Carol Hayward and Joan (Illmensee) Haubold, who recognized the girls in blue sailor suits as “Mariners.” The Mariner Girl Scout program “was designed for older Girl Scouts interested in outdoor water-based activities,” according to Wikipedia.

    Thanks to Diggitt McLaughlin and her e-mail posse (Barbara Morrow, Liz Hogan, and Ruth Lesley), who knocked into a cocked hat any idea that Kamm Gould (born in 1909!) was in this photograph. We take it back!

    Thanks to Bill Ewen and John Kennedy for identifying about half the girls in the photograph, and leading me to the 1961 yearbook, which includes photos of the girls as seniors. They both suggested that the photograph was probably the late rather than the mid 1950s.

    And thanks especially to Janet Aluisio D’Alio, who is herself in the photograph and gave us the whole story. The photograph was taken probably about 1958 after the Hastings Girl Scouts and the Mariners had finished a training course in first aid, possibly as a graduation photograph. It was not at the school, but possibly in one of the churches. The girls met every Saturday for 8 to 10 weeks and learned how to bandage wounds, make splints, and how to make up a hospital bed, which Janet says she still remembers! And she adds, “Many of us went on to volunteering at Dobbs Ferry Hospital on Saturdays.”

    Here is a compilation of all the suggested identifications to date, left to right:

    Front row (kneeling): Trudy Daley, Margy Jenkins, Valerie Frye, Judy Sottile or possibly Marilyn Einsel

    Second row: Ann Burr, unidentified nurse, unidentified blonde, Janet Aluisio, Virginia Silvestri, Mrs. Sottile, Cindy Kuser or possibly a Devlin (Elizabeth?)

    Back row: (hidden) possibly Mary Cragan, Ann Willis, possibly Margo Loizeaux, Savo Tseros, Joan Cronell

    Bill Ewen added that he thought the “victim” in the stretcher might be a Paretti. (What about Joyce or Arline? Both in the class of 1961. Or Joan Ann from ’59?)

    Everyone is welcome to cast their vote over the suggestions. Leave us a comment using the comment form on this page. Use the “Comment As” menu to select “Name/URL”, then enter your name and type your comment in the open box. Or send us an e-mail at hhscottage[at]hastingshistorical[dot]org. Thanks!

  2. John Kennedy thinks that the Paretti on the cot is Joyce -- keep it coming, folks!

  3. And Ruth Tarr has identified the girl next to Anne Willis as Mary Giles. Thanks, Ruth!

  4. Janet D'Alio agrees about Joyce Paretti and thinks the girl kneeling in front of her is Joan Benchat. Thanks, Janet!