Mildred Allen Carter helped pave the way

Photo submitted to Times Observer Mildred Allen, National League Women’s Service Ambulance Corps, WWI, 1917-1920.

As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we remember the women who came before us and paved the way for us today. Strong women bucked the trends and fought for equal rights, and, because of them, women were given the right to vote in the 19th Amendment ratified in 1920.

It was during this same time frame that the National League for Women’s Service was created to help in the World War I war effort. The Motor Corps, a branch of the NLWS, specialized in fulfilling transportation needs during this time by conveying patients, medications, and servicemen.

The women who signed on for this duty were typically upper-class, as the conditions needed for the service were more than what the average woman could afford, requiring special licenses, a medical exam, vaccinations, and, typically, a vehicle. While serving their country, they also fought discrimination, including the backlash brought about by their uniforms which were comprised of a long coat, boots, a belt, a cap, and the controversial pants. It reached the point that it became policy for women to hide the fact that they were wearing pants by also wearing skirts long enough to cover them. Despite distractions such as this, these women served proudly and courageously.

Mildred Allen Carter was such a woman. Born in Warren in 1896, Mildred Allen joined the NLWS Motor Corps and served from 1917 to 1920. She later married William Carter and continued to serve the Warren community in the Warren Relief Association and is credited with coming up with their slogan, “Give for the Baby the Milkman Missed.”

Mildred passed away in 1967 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

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