William Smith at War
While classes at William Smith were not disrupted like those at Hobart, William Smith students also participated in the war effort. They started a Red Cross class to learn how to make bandages and other materials, and formed a current events club at which Professor Lawson gave talks.
On December 9, 1917, Miss Kyle Adams of the National Board of the Y.W.C.A. visited campus to talk about the Student Friendship War Fund. The William Smith students created a fundraising thermometer in Smith Hall and donated money they had saved for clothes and sold baked goods. Traditionally, first year students would save money for their first unsupervised visit into town on Founder’s Day. They donated this money as well. In the end, the students raised $1,189.
The students also printed many war-related pieces in the Ridge, the William Smith literary journal. These included poems, essays, and articles sent by the Committee on Public Instruction on Woman’s War Work. The June 1918 issue published Martha Morgan '20’s translation of Guy de Maupassant’s “La Mere Sauvage”. The short story is about a French mother forced to quarter four Prussian soldiers during the Franco-Prussian War. When she learns that her son has been killed in battle, she burns the Prussians alive in her barn.
In September 1918, the William Smith students also donated $25 to send Margaret Shuttleworth ’16 to France to work for the Y.M.C.A. She wrote them letters describing her time working in a canteen set up in a casino in Nancy, France. "We are open from eight to eight and frequently serve fifteen hundred in four hours. Four of us are stationed in this canteen... The work isn't selling behind the counter, that's a small part. It's sewing on buttons or mending a tear, playing checkers, or looking at the family portraits. The boys love to talk of home and naturally we encourage them to do so and to write often. I wonder if I have given you any idea of our work? It’s so big and I feel so inadequate."