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American Red Cross overseas uniform

American Red Cross overseas uniform

This is an American Red Cross overseas uniform in charcoal wool twill, consisting of a jacket, a skirt, an overseas cap, a shirt, a tie, and a collar. The uniform was worn by Margaret MacLaren of St. Paul, when she served in Brest, France in 1918. MacLaren was studying as an organist in New York when the United States entered the war, and soon after, she left for Minnesota to apply to the Red Cross. She enlisted as a hospital worker, but while in France, she also ran a canteen and drove a supply truck. After she returned home, she continued to serve the Red Cross until she was in her eighties.

On the jacket's collar, there are three pins: a "U.S." pin, an enamel Red Cross emblem pin, and a foreign service medal. Also attached to the jacket, at the shoulder, is a red felt circle with white embroidery. The embroidery represents "duck board," which were walkways laid on wet and muddy ground. Brest, France was extremely muddy, and MacLaren likely crossed over many duck boards while she was in the service.

Learn more about Margaret MacLaren and other Minnesota women who served overseas during World War I in this Minnesota History article (2012).