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1944 Period, US, American Red Cross, Blue And White Pin Striped, Summer Weight, Long Dress, Belonging To A Woman, Nurse, Named "Annabel Meyers", Serving As A Volunteer In The Panama Canal Zone
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This uniform grouping is 1 of several that this Tank Museum obtained that all belonged to a W.W.II period, U.S. nurse named "Annabel Meyers". Ms. Meyers is known to have served as a volunteer in the American Red Cross in W.W.II and was stationed at the Panama Canal Zone. We only know bits and pieces of Ms. Meyers career as is listed here. For more biographical career information more research would have to be done by the pruchaser. Evidence seems to indicate that these styles of uniforms (long dress) were still being worn after W.W.II until such a time as they were worn out from hard use. The 1950's pattern long dresses were of a different type - so this long dress is definitely of the W.W.II period.
This long dress is in
It has some light age toning and a small snag or 2. This dress is classified as summer weight (material), and thus is also short sleeved. There is a pocket at the top left breast that has a hand sewn on white patch. On this patch is a direct embroidered on red cross. This is correct for the period and for the A.R.C. Below the waist line are 2 hip pockets, which, by some quirk of nature, have no stains at their bottom seam. After inspecting many dozens of these uniforms over the years - it is uncommon to find one that has no pocket bottom staining. This was due to the fact that working nurses often put leaking pens and/or dirty medical equipment in these pockets during their work shifts. These implements very often left indelible stains at the pocket bottoms that would not clean out. Many of those other dresses that were inspected showed staining witness marks for patients blood and/or body fluids. This long dress appears stain free.
There is the usual removable, white color collar found on this dress. If still has all of it's attaching buttons. And what is odd about this removable collar is that it is still there. Many of these uniforms had these collars permanently sewn on to prevent loss. Also, many personnel also discarded these removable collars altogether as they were a cleaning nightmare, and they often got lost "in the wash". Period photos often show these collars as missing - but this one is here, and intact! These uniforms came with removable, white color, button down epaulettes, and they are still here on this uniform and in great shape. The waist line of these uniforms had a removable, matching color belt that incorporated 2 removable buttons. Well on this dress it is still present, and with its 2 removable buttons. After examining so many of these uniforms over the years, most of these belts were lost in the "shuffle". We even need 1 or 2 for other of our similar uniform dresses (got any?). This belt is matching and in
The front of this dress has 11 removable plastic buttons, but only 10 are present. This is not incorrect! Many women removed the lowest 1/2/or 3 buttons so walking in such a long garment would not be restricting leg movements. Their removal also opened up the lower hem line, thus showing a glimpse of leg - a nice added bonus for the "goils" of that time. All of the buttons appear matching, and all have the correct type of metal retaining clips that are used to hold them on. These clips, by the way, are almost always missing, or at the least mismatching. Often common safety pins were used as replacements - but on this dress they are all there. The lower hem line on this dress is well below the knee so it is no wonder that some of the removable buttons were left off for ease of movement.
There is no rear slit on the hem line of this dress. These uniforms originally has white color cuff ends that were removable for washing. On this dress they are present, but in this case they are permanently sewn down (I wonder why she did not sew down the white collar as well?). Found hand sewn on the left sleeve is the what and red embroidered patch for "American Red Cross Volunteer". Found sewn just below that round patch are 2 slightly dissimilar sized, red color "has marks", which means that Annabel served for 2 years. Since this is a summer weight dress it has no lining. On the plus side there are also no arm pit stains, although each arm pit seam has been let out a tad.
There is a small hand sewn on, bevo-like tailor's tag found in the inside neck area. The tag reads: "USA, Dilly Uniform". This uniform came with a matching pin striped and white ward hat. It has 2 very tiny stains, otherwise it is in
. It has the usual small white and red color corss hand sewn to the front. On this style of a hat the back side has 2 button down side flaps. They are present, but in this case the flaps were also sewn closed to obtain a closer fit. And now for the really cool part - as with many uniforms of that period, people often had bevo-like, hand woven cloth name tags made for themselves and then sewn in their garments. We have seen many of these hand made name tags on many garments/items over the years. And there is one inside of this hat too. But it has the name of "Gary Schlierf" enbroidered on it in red (the usual colors are lettering on white backing). We have been told that the name "Gary" can also be a woman's name as well. We will leave you to decide if this "Gary" is in fact a woman or .....
When this uniform was acquired along with others belonging to Annabel, there were several aprons, but not enough for all of the uniforms. SInce the A.A.F. Tank Museum had several spare aprons in inventory, we have added a correct one to this dress. These aprons are almost always hand made and no 2 are ever exactly alike in small features. Also, since these aprons were constructed of multiple pieces, the melding of the pieces from different sets was quite common. Often materials and the shades of the white color will not match. Communal washing of garments along with those of others often resulted in wrong pieces being returned to the owner. And they nevermatched. The replacement of stained, torn, and/or worn out pieces added to this mish-mash of sets. On this apron set, the larger lower section is in
. It is intact and not stained, but is a little yellowed from age. It still has its 2 removable buttons, but in this they are held on by 2 antique safety pins (not modern safety pins - you can tell the difference!). There is also a small cloth, bevo-like name tag found in this apron, but it is embroidered in blue on a white backing. It has the woven name of "Miss Krout" in black letters (lettering and fonts are often diverse on these name tags). We obtained many items from a W.W.II period nurse named Miss Krout, and this is a spare from that grouping. As for the upper bib section of this apron set, it is matching and came with the above mentioned bottom piece. This apron came with an optional 1 piece waist belt which is in perfect shape, however it is much whiter in color, obviously originating from another apron.
Found in the pocket of this uniform was a single, spare, white color removable cuff which is included (there was no second piece to the pair). To help complete this grouping the museum has added a pair of correct style, low heeled oxford shoes in white color. They are white duck on leather soles and are in
. They have been blanco-ed white to maintain their very-easy-to-soil original white color. As is usual, they are of a incredibly small size. Their lacing is matching and original. These types of shoes are almost impossible to find these days as the "goils" back then wore then until they wer junked. We could use many more pairs for other of our nurse's uniforms (got any?).
The last item(s) added to this uniform are a pair of white color, silk, full fashioned stockings for the director's personal stocking collection. White thigh high stockings are impossible to find as they did not last very long during arduous work shifts. These stockings are in crappy condition showing snags, runs, stains, etc. - but they are all still original! Since the hem line is fairly low, the defects in these stockings does not show very much. These silk stockings are
rare. They have heel and toe reinforcements, but hand sewn on and constructed of white linen. The heels have reduction stitching as found on higher grade full fashioned stockings. There is no toe or heel bag as found on some types. The silk stockings are seamed and show the hand stitching lines along side each seam. These stockings are of the 2 (top and bottom) welt design, and the top welt is silk and not linen like the toe and heel reinforcement. They have no welt or toe/heel logo, and both have the normal key hole found on the top welt. Since these stockings are silk, no mention needs to be made of their denier or gauge.
Comments from the Curator:
The A.A.F. Tank Museum has over 300 "goils" in its collection that are now being offered for sale. These uniforms were not purchased for the purpose of resale, but were purchased by the directors for the museum's many unique displays. Cost was not a factor in their acquisition, but rarity and quality were. Therefore these uniforms are some of the best ever seen in over 30 years of collecting. The museum searched endlessly for spare hats, stockings, shoes, etc. - and now has thousands of these items instock. This uniform from Annabel Meyers is impossible to beat. Finding all of the manu smaller pieces would be almost impossible to do today without incurring great expense in price and travel. Here is your chance to acquire the very best of the best.
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