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 Post subject: American Red Cross help
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 19:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 14
Hi,

I tried posting this in the American section but didn't get much of a response so I thought I would try the ladies!

I recently acquired an American Red Cross nurses ward dress by accident (grey material with white collar and cuffs; the red cross on the breast pocket and patch on the arm - the fabric is synthetic/cotton) which captured my interest in American uniforms for the first time. I also recently saw a seersucker version of this uniform for sale and as I am new to the American uniforms I wondered if anyone could tell me anything about the seersucker version. Were they worn at the same time period as the cotton/synthetic uniform etc or introduced earlier/later, that sort of thing and what are the asking prices for them generally?

The below pic is an example of the seersucker uniform I am asking about but I took the picture off the Internet so I hope it's ok to post!

Image


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:32 am
Posts: 168
Location: Suffolk
Real Name: Georgie
Hi, the seersucker uniform was introduced during the war. I'm not sure of the exact date but it was later rather than earlier. It was certainly around by 1944. My Sister knows more about this but she's not on the forum. I'll e-mail her for you if you like.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:32 am
Posts: 168
Location: Suffolk
Real Name: Georgie
OK, seersucker ward dresses started to be worn by all American nursing services (including military) around 1942/43. Apparently they weren't very popular and a lot of the military nurses objected to wearing them. This in part was because they were initially used for student nurses, but also because they just weren't as 'nice' to wear as the cotton ones and some of the styles and colours (an army version was brown!) were less than flattering. I believe the American Red Cross followed the same trend and these uniforms started to be worn around 1943. They were more commonly worn by nurses serving overseas, probably because once issued with a uniform it was harder to get another being so far away from home (and the possibility of getting one made at an approved tailors/department store. They became more commonplace following the war and through into the 60s when the revolution in man made fibres took hold. The one you have a photo of appears to be the war time design, but it was worn through into the earl 50s. I don't know enough about them to tell you exactly. There were some minor changes.
Prices? Well there seems to be a huge variation. If buying from eBay it really depends how lucky you are. Some red cross dresses attract a lot of attention and go for quite a sum (£100 to £200). Having said that, my Sister got one from the US (although it was a British Red Cross dress and light weight wool not seersucker) for £25 including the postage!
One thing to consider. I don't know if you are planning to wear a Red Cross uniform to an event or not, but if you are you might be interested to know that the Red Cross are very sniffy about this. When my Sister was researching the area she asked the Red Cross for information, indicating that she would like to display the uniform for educational purposes. They were quite rude in their reply, made a point that they had taken legal advice and in a round about way made threats to take legal action! I don't think they seem to be aware that people are buying up old uniforms on eBay and elsewhere. Anyway, consequently, my Sister has never used this particular uniform in our display! Which is rather a shame.....


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 22:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 14
Oh wow thats great info thanks! The seersucker dress i saw for sale was on american ebay for £50 and im kicking myself for not bidding. I didn't bother as I have seen the cotton ones go for up to £200 and thought there was no point but it went for its asking price! I guess you live and learn. That surprises me about the Red Cross reaction to your sister though, especially as it was for educational purposes! I really admire and respect the Red Cross and this is why I am interested. I have 2 American Red Cross cotton uniforms and one British. My friends and i were actually planning to wear them to a show and provide all the info and history but now I am not sure. Do you think it might be worth asking them first? Especially as it will be part of the main show and to be photographed?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 15:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:32 am
Posts: 168
Location: Suffolk
Real Name: Georgie
That's a good question. I'm tempted to say just go for it. I mean are they really likely to prosecute someone for wearing a wartime uniform? It was the wearing of the red cross logo they had a real beef which, is rather odd given that anyone portraying a medic or nurse at WW2 and WW1 events wear the red cross either on a brassard or an apron! They were also worried that the reputation of the Red Cross might be compromised!! I mean, it was an educational display for heavens sake....
If you contact them they might give you the same reply. I suspect it might depend who answers the e-mail though. My Sister contacted their museum. Maybe you would get a different answer if you contact their headquarters.
Since this, I have noticed that films and dramas that portray the Red Cross do have an acknowledgment to them in the credits, so it might be that they are happy if you do something similar. For example, have a sign up saying uniforms are displayed and worn for education purposes and by kind permission of the Red Cross.
If you do contact them I would be interested to know what their reply is.
Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 19:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 14
I think I'll just wear it and contact them after! Good idea about the crediting though, I'll see if we can get that into the info. I'm quite excited now! Seems like a few of our group are interested in this to so hopefully we can put together a good display! What do you display as?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 20:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:32 am
Posts: 168
Location: Suffolk
Real Name: Georgie
Several things. ATS, WRNS, WAAF, QAIMNS and Civil Defence. I display my original uniforms with my Sister's and we have a bit of historical information to go with it all. We try and let people know what women in the Forces actually did in the war as most people have no idea!
I think you're right to just go ahead and wear it. I would. I mean, who in reality is going to say anything?
Enjoy it. It's good fun (although it can be exhausting).


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