Story by Jill Michaelree/American Red Cross
Happy for the promise of spring and social respite from this lion of a winter, 50 cheerful ladies gathered on a recent Saturday at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis to attend the Tiffany Circle Spring Fashion Social. This brunch featured a spring fashion preview curated by experts from Macy’s by Appointment, makeup tutorials from Chanel on making the “Perfect Red (Cross) Lip” and a look at Red Cross women leaders throughout history.
For these Red Cross philanthropists and their guests, the surprise bonus models, decked out in vintage Red Cross uniforms, were the highlight of the day. These amazing volunteers donned historic garments from the 1920’s-1950’s that were donated by Minnesotans whose mothers and grandmothers served during times of peace and in war.
Volunteer model Katherine Lewiston (above center) shows Barbara Gauhan (left) and Dee Rasmussen (right) her Viet Nam-era summer suit and garrison cap. This style was worn by young women who served in the American Red Cross Supplemental Recreation Overseas program during the Vietnam War. Also known as “Donut Dollies,” these college-educated women served one-year tours intended to boost troop morale.
Models Jacinta Lagasse (above, far left) and Amanda Burgdorf (far right) join Tiffany Circle Co-Chairs Cyndi Lesher (center right) and Carla Paulson (center left) around a wartime recruitment poster.
During World War I, American Red Cross volunteer services faced rapid expansion. To delineate the lines of service, the Red Cross employed a color coding system for the uniforms and service pins. Jacinta’s gray, crepe dress denotes her as a non-medical hospital volunteer in the “Gray Lady Service.”
Amanda is wearing a Volunteer Administrative dress from the Second World War. The American Red Cross enrolled more than 104,000 nurses for service, prepared 27 million packages for American and Allied prisoners of war, and shipped over 300,000 tons of supplies overseas. At the military’s request, the Red Cross also initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces.
Like the women who wore these dresses in the 20th Century, thousands of volunteers throughout American Red Cross history have served our country. In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, we’d like to thank our volunteers and the Tiffany Circle Members for their dedication to making the Spring Fashion Social and all American Red Cross efforts successful. It is an honor to work with such caring individuals who continually dedicate their time and efforts to alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.
The women of the Tiffany Circle invest $10,000 annually in their local American Red Cross chapters, following in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training and countless other community assistance services. For more information about the Tiffany Circle, contact Megan Dulgar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.872.3246.