World War I -- Life Histories/Section 018/Elle Goode Hardeman

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Hardeman's Keepsake Photograph

Overview[edit]

Elle Goode Hardeman was a patriotic women’s activist who grew up in the early 1900s. She and her family lived social lives in Charlotte, NC and repeatedly demonstrated strong support for the soldiers abroad.

Bio[edit]

Family[edit]

Elle Goode Hardeman grew up on Queens Boulevard in the Myers Park neighborhood in Charlotte, NC in the early 1900s [1] alongside two siblings, Elizabeth Hardeman and Isaac Hardeman the 3rd. Her parents grew up in Macon, Georgia and then moved to the Hardeman family home in Charlotte, NC [2]. Her daughter, Elizabeth Hardeman, got engaged to Waring Best in 1935 [3].

Women’s Activist[edit]

Hardeman appeared in the section of the newspaper titled “In the Realm of Women” almost weekly as she worked for the rights and equality of women [4]. She was at the head of the Liberty Hall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) located in Charlotte, NC during World War I. She served as chair of the Committee on Friendly Cooperation with Ex-Servicemen for the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs in the early 1920’s [5]. Hardeman was also named hostess of the Archer House in 1937, which was a home for female graduate students of the University of North Carolina [6]. She also became a member of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) advisory board in 1939 [7].

Patriot[edit]

The DAR chapter Hardeman led sponsored the 5th Company Coast Artillery of the North Carolina National Guard. They sent soldiers food and letters and magazines from home during battle. Hardeman personally wrote to every soldier over the holidays, and organized events for their families in their honor [8]. She kept patriotic poems such as “Your Flag and My Flag” and “The Candidate” in her personal belongings, in addition to scraps of soldiers’ uniforms and pieces of American flags. Hardeman also kept an image of a Red Cross nurse with a fallen American soldier in her arms with the caption “The Greatest Mother in the World” which referred to the sculpture La Pieta [9].

Socialite[edit]

Hardeman and other members of her family appeared monthly in the “Society” section of the newspaper as they frequently organized and attended social gatherings like weddings, dances, honorary ceremonies, and birthday and holiday celebrations. The events publicized in newspapers ranged in extravagance from a town-wide Christmas party to a small tea party [10]. She included the soldiers’ families in many of these events, some of which were thrown solely for their recognition.

Social Context[edit]

Women During Wartime[edit]

Women were crucial to the military effort and the maintenance of a well-running society during World War I. Both those who went abroad and remained on the home front contributed to American success.

Despite their absence on the battlefield, women contributed to the war. Those who went overseas took part in the Navy, Marines, and Red Cross [11]. The Navy experienced a shortage of yeomen because most men were needed in battle, so in 1917 they allowed women to fill those positions. These women became the “first officially recognized military enlisted women in the country’s history” [12]. The Marine Corps began accepting women in 1918 into clerical positions due to low levels of available men. They adopted a new slogan as they began recruiting women; “Free a Man to Fight,” indicated new positions for women in the war effort. Women also took part in the Red Cross abroad as nurses and administrative workers, providing immediate relief and aid to wounded soldiers [13]. Women who stayed home helped by selling bonds and running charity organizations to raise money and supplies to send abroad. As faithful wives, they also contributed to the mental stability of their husbands in battle [14].

Increased female participation in society during wartime changed social norms. Because men went off to fight, “women were offered job opportunities that challenged the traditional patterns of sex segregated labor” [15]. The male-driven power dynamic shifted when the war ended and the men returned to see women in their positions. Women began to feel independent and empowered [16]. Those who had been sent overseas to help with the war effort lived near barracks and engaged in sexual activities with the soldiers, and illegitimate births abroad rose by 30 percent. Due to metal shortages, the constrictive corset turned into a more revealing undergarment, a brassiere, and women started to embrace their new independence [17].

Soldiers’ Support Systems[edit]

There were multiple support systems put in place for the soldiers during World War I. Three primary welfare organizations were the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross [18]. Initially they each worked independently. The YMCA was to worry about the amusement and moral wellbeing of the soldiers, the Salvation Army was to focus on social welfare, and the Red Cross was solely to look after the sick and wounded. As the war progressed, however, these organizations broadened their work-base and provided more diverse services to the soldiers [19].

The YMCA was primarily focused on the morale of the military camps. They worked out of structures called “huts” which ranged in size and shape from a hole in the ground to a sturdy building. These huts became theatres, gymnasiums, post offices, schools, churches, stores, and any other facilities the men wanted. There were always decorations too, like paint on the walls or a vase of wildflowers to “keep the place cozy” [20]. The YMCA also provided the first military counseling services and gave the soldiers writing utensils and magazines and newspapers to keep contact with home. The Salvation Army focused on social service and preserved the patriotism of the armies. Commander Booth, a supporter of the Salvation Army, declared “The Salvationist stands ready, trained in all necessary qualifications in every phase of humanitarian work, and to the last man will stand by the president for the execution of his orders” [21]. They also collected supplies to send overseas, at times extra workers were hired just to process the enormous quantities of donated goods. The Red Cross focused on caring for the sick and wounded with nurses and hospitals and immediate aid throughout the war [22].

In response to the Great War, around 18,000 new charities were established. Their goals varied from providing massage therapy for wounded soldiers to giving them cigarettes and money. Fundraising became a part of one’s daily routine, and as it was unprecedented, several organizations were exposed as inefficient and fraudulent [23]. World War I started the notion of fundraising for all wars to come.

  1. "Party for Miss Morrison." The Charlotte Observer 2 Jan. 1921. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/74194623/?terms=elle+hardeman+queens+charlotte>.
  2. "Mrs. Hardeman Honors Visitors." The Charlotte Observer 2 Jan. 1921. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.<http://www.newspapers.com/image/74194623/?terms=elle+hardeman+queens+charlotte>.
  3. "Engagements of Local Interest are Announced." Statesville Record and Landmark 1 Nov. 1937. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/3086021/?terms=elle hardeman>.
  4. "In the Realm of Women – Old Hickory New Year Dance." Salisbury Evening Post 3 Jan. 1922. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/80537564/?terms=hardeman+in+the+realm+of+women>.
  5. "Elle Goode Hardeman, 1917-1946." Elle Goode Hardeman, 1917-1946. The Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/h/Hardeman,Elle_Goode.html>.
  6. "Mrs. Elle Hardeman Named Hostess At The Archer House." Statesville Record and Landmark 1 Nov. 1937. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/3086021/?terms=elle hardeman>.
  7. "YWCA Group to Give Tea This Afternoon at Dormitory No. 2." The Daily Tar Heel 9 Nov. 1939. Web. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/67845641/?terms=hardeman+ywca>.
  8. "Liberty Hall D.A.R. Adopts Artillerymen: Enjoyable Evening Spent by Fifth Company Coast Artillery at Mrs. Hardeman's." The Charlotte Observer 15 June 1917. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/76154028/?terms=5th+company+coast+artillery+hardeman>.
  9. Hardeman, Elle Goode. Personal Scrapbook. 1917-1946. Box 1 Folder b. F2a1 Elle Goode Hardeman, 1917-1946 . Southern Historical collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. 10 February 2015.
  10. "Miss Hardeman Gives Bridge for Attractive Visitors." The Charlotte News 15 Aug. 1922. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://www.newspapers.com/image/61779919/?terms=elle hardeman>.
  11. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  12. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  13. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  14. "Daughters of the American Revolution." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 241-242. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
  15. Dumenil, Lynn. "American Women and the Great War." Magazine of History 17.1 (2002): 35-9. ProQuest. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
  16. Lewis-Stempel, John. "WW1: Why the Homefront was Nothing to Write Home about." Express (Online)Oct 19 2014. ProQuest. Web. 19 Mar. 2015 .
  17. Lewis-Stempel, John. "WW1: Why the Homefront was Nothing to Write Home about." Express (Online)Oct 19 2014. ProQuest. Web. 19 Mar. 2015 .
  18. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  19. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  20. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  21. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  22. Gavin, Lettie. American Women in World War I : They Also Served. Niwot, CO, USA: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 19 March 2015.
  23. Harris, Carol. "1914-1918: How Charities Helped to Win WW1." Third Sector (2014): 38. ProQuest. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.