[Pennsylvania:]: Published for the Benefit of the Memorial Home, Brookville, PA…Tidioute, News Steam Printing House, `89`. First edition. Woodcut title-page. Some marginal toning and some toning on a few pages where newspaper clippings had been laid in. The previous owner, Elena Burdick, filled in several of the blank pages with her own recipes. Included with this book is a collection of twelve newspaper clippings, five additional leaves of manuscript recipes, a shopping list for herbal medicines, and a 1916 Woman’s Relief Corps dues invoice made out to Burdick by Ida F. Homer, Treasurer. A very good, tight copy from the library of a WRC member, with accompanying contemporary material. Publisher’s blue cloth, somewhat rubbed at joints and extremities. Octavo. 212 pp., [4, blank for notes], pp. 213-224, [4, blank for notes], pp. 225-240. Item #16763
The Woman’s Relief Corps was founded in 1883 as an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, an advocacy group for veterans of the Union Army. The WRC specifically focused on establishing pensions for the women who provided medical care to the Union Army and on supporting the families of soldiers who had been killed or injured during the Civil War. In 1892, the WRC and its president, Annie Wittenmeyer (1827-1900), successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Army Nurses Pension Law, which granted pensions to Wittenmeyer and other Civil War nurses. Some state chapters of the WRC, like the New York chapter and the Pennsylvania chapter, operated care homes for elderly veterans, army nurses, and their families. The Pennsylvania Memorial Home was the first veteran’s home in the state and is still operational as the WRC Senior Services. As the decades passed since the end of the Civil War, the WRC broadened their goals and advocated for women’s suffrage and other women’s rights issues. The organization operates today as the National Women’s Relief Corps, a historical society dedicated to remembering the contributions of women to the Union Army.
Elena Burdick (1861-1936) was an active member of the James M. Brown Post of the WRC in Chautauqua County, New York. Her husband, William H. Burdick (1840-1923), was a Union Army veteran and amputee who lived for years in the Pennsylvania Memorial Home. Ida F. Homer is listed in both the 1911 and 1914 issues of the Journal of the National Convention of the Woman’s Relief Corps as a Delegate of the New York chapter and as a resident of Jamestown, Chautauqua County. Based on the invoice included in the present collection, she must have acted as Treasurer of the chapter in 1916, though we have been unable to find any more information about her involvement in the WRC in that year specifically. OCLC lists four copies.