Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Elizabeth Hayward Causes: Service Star Legion

After World War I drew to a close, a group of women in Baltimore formed an organization called the Service Star Legion. The organization was founded in 1919 to assist servicemen and their families, support the United States government, and lend their efforts to related projects such as veteran's hospitals.

In Salt Lake City, a group called the War Mothers, organized in 1918, merged with the Service Star Legion in 1920. Elizabeth Hayward's son John Ewing Hayward had served in the war, and she joined the Service Star Legion. She served as corresponding secretary, chaplain, and parliamentarian for the Chapter.

The Salt Lake Chapter created Memory Grove Park in Salt Lake City in the 1920s. I cannot find the entry in the Marriott Library catalog at the University of Utah, but I see this description of a collection in the library on a genealogy site in Pennsylvania (Tri-Counties Genealogy):
Service Star Legion, Salt Lake County Chapter Papers (Ms 222)

University of Utah Marriott Library, Manuscripts Division

The Service Star Legion, Salt Lake County Chapter Papers (1923-1975) holds material regarding the Salt Lake County Chapter, the Utah Division, and the national organization. Included are annual rosters for the Salt Lake County Chapter, a 1951 handbook, and three convention programs from the 1940s. Also present are histories of projects and programs. Papers from the Utah Division include a constitution, by-laws, articles of incorporation, and convention programs and minutes. There are also two programs from the Utah-Wyoming Division from the early 1930s. A constitution and convention programs for the national organization are included, as are brief histories of the organization, copies of the national magazine, The Service Star, and an autobiography by Cora Baker, a national charter member. News clippings from 1923 to 1968 provide information about the activities and people associated with the Service Star Legion. Two scrapbooks also hold news clippings, as well as photographs, reports and other items. The Service Star Legion was organized in Baltimore, Maryland in 1919. In Utah, the original group was known as the War Mothers (organized 1918) that affiliated with the Service Star Legion in 1920. The group's purpose was to bring comfort and aid to servicemen and their families, and to support the U.S. government. They pursued civic projects, such as assistance with veterans hospitals. The Salt Lake County Chapter, beginning in 1926, improved and supported Memory Grove Park. The organization planted trees honoring Utah's war dead and Memorial House is dedicated to their memory. A register is available. 
The Service Star Legion does not seem to exist any more, but two similar organizations exist today, Blue Star Mothers for mothers with a child in the armed services, and American Gold Star Mothers, for mothers with a son or daughter who died in the service.

Memory Grove Park, to the east of the Utah State Capitol Building


Photo of the ribbon from Wessman cousin Toni. Photos of Memory Grove Park from http://www.flickr.com/photos/tyreseus/146710249/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/tyreseus/146715231/.

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