Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

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Nurses perform a Maypole dance, Base Hospital 21, Rouen, France
The “Unit 21 Circus” in June 1918 included a Maypole Dance (“A historically accurate reproduction of this symbolic spectacle of beauty and Fantasy”) featuring the unit’s nurses. Retta Snyder, a nurse with the unit, described their costumes: “Cordelia Ranz designed our dresses. White gauze from the Red Cross, shortwaisted, shirred on the shoulder, V-neck, flowing sleeves, gathered skirt twelve inches from the ground. Cordelia is making huge butterflies to tack on our backs. They are in pastel shades and we will wear shoes and belts of the same shade.” Note the array of flags that serve as a backdrop.