The Women’s Auxiliary

Taking a trip down history lane I would like to bring back the memory of Hayswood Hospital. But not to really focus on the building and what it was now and then but the ladies that worked in the Women Auxiliary. That might sound weird and might make you question what they were doing within the hospital but what Women’s Auxiliary means is a women’s corps that operates within a service or fraternal organization.  They would do a variety of jobs and even helped provide funding to get some of the equipment. These ladies would not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done to make sure things are going smoothly. The best part of this it that it is all on a volunteer base, so you knew that these women loved what they were doing.

After the dedication of the new hospital Mr. N. S. Calhoun who was currently one of the trustees suggested that there be a foundation of woman’s organization. Some of the wives of the trustees took it upon themselves to help find these women. This is how it started on May 23, 1925. There was a newspaper solicitation that was able to get a large gathering of women together to meet at the new hospital. They all came together and made the Women’s Auxiliary they even elected officers and created bylaws. The first officers were President, Mrs. N. S. Calhoun, Vice President, Mrs. William h. Rees, Treasurer, Mrs. S. P. Browning, Secretary, Mrs. George H. Fitzgerald. The reason why a Women’s Auxiliary was formed was to help render material assistance for those who worked in the hospital and those who were patients.

The Auxiliary was composed of 200 women that would contribute hundreds of hours to the hospital and even provided thousands of dollars toward medical equipment so the hospital could really run it full potential and help save lives. They alone had purchased oxygen tents, a portable X-Ray unit, refrigerators for nourishment and supplies at the nurse’s station, lamps for the pediatric section, furnished and contributed to construction of the sun porches, aided in the organization and building of the Nursery in the Obstetrical Department and much more so that the patients could receive the best care that they could. Now these women would provide to services with the hospital. One of the beings to provide snack and supplies from a cart that would be pushed around to see if any of the patients or staff would need anything. On this cart they had anything from candies to shaving kits. The second service they provided was to sit a t the switch board and provided escort and transportation services for patients coming or leaving the hospital. Now after listing all these task that these women would do, I would like to remind the readers that they were volunteers and still had their daily lives to live when they left there.

Since bringing up that they were volunteers you are probably wonder how they were able to raise all this money to get the equipment for the hospital. They actually put on fundraiser for the hospital and one of the ways was to hold a fashion show and luncheon. One of the more different ways the raised money was holding a recent trash to treasure sale. It is where you take objects that have been gently used or that you might not want anymore and basically turn it into a yard sale. These women did an amazing job and ended up making $1,000. Going back to the fashion shows and luncheons it was clearly proven that they were no novices when it came to putting the money the raised to good use. Alone in a ten-year span they were able to purchase a range of thing for the hospital from redecorating materials, furniture, and high technical machines that saved lives.

These women were able to do amazing things to help Hayswood Hospital. They were hard working and very dedicated to what they were doing. The Women’s Auxiliary would always have meetings to discuss what they were going to be doing to raise money and even when they were coming into a new era of technology, they tried to figure out how to stay together and work through it. Just to state again most of these women were voluntaries and they would work together whether it would be in the hospital or working one of these fashion shows or a shift in the hospital.  These women worked and hard and they worked with one another to make sure the hospital had what it needed whether is be big or small. When women support each other, incredible things happen.

Brought to you by the Buffalo Trace District Health Department:

This article was written by Emma White for the Buffalo Trace District Health Department. Published March 29 , 2021.