MT’s Women Veterans of World War One exhibit at the MonDak

Thursday, May 21, 2020
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In recognition of National Nurses Week, the MonDak Heritage Center has developed a historical display with items from our collection and the research from Ed Saunders. The Montana’s Women Veterans of World War One display will be at the MonDak Heritage Center from May 19 through July 20.

Edward E. (Ed) Saunders researched in the accessible archives and found that 215 women entered World War I military service from Montana. Most were nurses in the Army Nurse Corps. These 215 women were born in eight countries (including America), twenty-states, and one US Territory with 50 being born in Montana. All 215 called Montana their home when they enlisted. Many of these women served in France during the war; most in harm’s way. Two of the women, Elizabeth D. Sandeliou, Cokedale, Montana and Harriet M. O’Day, Billings, Montana were cited for heroism under fire on the front lines of France as nurses in the Army Nurse Corps. Cora V. Craig, Glasgow, Montana, another Army Nurse Corps nurse, was cited for distinguished service in war by the King of Siam, present day Thailand.

After the war most of these women returned to Montana and faded into history. Saunders found eighteen buried in US National Cemeteries. This display shows the eighteen by maiden names. Although there were no enlistees from Richland County; there were nurses from the following neighboring counties, Fallon, Roosevelt, Valley, Dawson, Phillips, Custer and Daniels.

Saunders spent many hours researching the women, countless hours photographing their headstones and also contacting other volunteers across the United States who assisted in the photograph project. Without Saunders and the volunteer’s contributions, this history would not exist for future generations to enjoy.

The MonDak Heritage Center is located at 120 3rd Avenue SE in Sidney and is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-4 and will be open Saturday’s from 1-4 beginning June 6. Admission is FREE. For more information call (406) 433-3500 or e-mail mdhc@richland.org.

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