In May 1918, Reed College in Portland, Oregon, published its brochure1 for a summer program, training women to become Reconstruction Aides. According to the brochure, Reed College was selected by the U.S. Attorney General as the only institution on the west coast that summer to offer the program.
Applicants to the program needed a high school diploma, and were warned that they would not likely be admitted if they were older than 40 or younger than 25. There were also height and weight restrictions; students had to be between 60 and 70 inches tall and 100 to 195 pounds. This was verified by a physical examination.
The course included instruction in anatomy, psychological aspects of recovery, military hospital management, massage and corrective gymnastics, among others. Daily physical training was also required so that graduates were prepared for the “arduous work in military hospitals.”
There was also a significant clinical portion, as the women spent mornings training in hospitals and clinics in the area.
Tuition was $50 for the entire course. Room and board was $30 for the summer, plus $5 a week. The locker deposit was 50 cents, and textbooks were $6 to $8.
Upon completion of the program, graduate reconstruction aides could become civilian employees of the Medical Department of the Army, as they were trained specifically to work with injured military personnel. After appointment to the post, all of their living expenses would be paid by the government, in addition to a $50 to $60 monthly stipend.
Reconstruction aides would provide treatments related to wound care, “keeping up muscular tone,” paralysis, fractures, amputation and massage.
See full brochure.
1. Reed Digital Collections, Reed Centennial Archive. Reed College Record, War Work for Women, 1918. http://cdm.reed.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/reedhisttxt&CISOPTR=2325&REC=1. Accessed February 1, 2014.