With the advent of World War I, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was organized by and for mothers who had lost a son or daughter in the war. Known throughout the country by the marker of a flag containing a gold star, members were engaged in various volunteer activities. President Wilson approved the organization May 26, 1918 upon suggestion from the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense. The first national meeting was held June 4, 1928 in Washington, D.C. with 25 members present. The organization was formally incorporated January 5, 1929. The first members included only mothers who had lost a son or daughter in World War I. In 1941, membership was extended to mothers of World War II, and again extended during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Currently, members also include those who have lost a son or daughter in Beirut, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia and all Strategic Areas.
Both the national organization and local chapters hold yearly conventions seeking to improve the quality of volunteerism within the Gold Star organization. The group strives to accomplish a number of objectives. Members hope to "keep alive and develop the spirit that promoted world services; inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, State, and Nation; [and] perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in our wars." The Charter contains ten objectives, which can be found in Section 3 of the American Gold Star Mothers Federal Charter issued by the 98th Congress of the United States on June 12, 1984.
While the national organization is still active, the Cache County chapter remained active only for 17 years. The chapter was organized in 1948 due to the efforts of Alice Boman Pond. Pond organized the group after losing a son in France. On September 22, 1948, she gathered nine local women who had also lost sons in World War II to be the first officers for Cache County's chapter. The chapter was active until 1965. Like the national organization, Cache County chapter developed activities to "keep alive and develop the spirit that promoted world services." The group focused its volunteer efforts on the annual Rose Memorial, which was held to honor mothers, fathers, and soldiers. Having their names read by a dignitary, the soldiers were recognized, while the parents received a rose. The memorial also included a speech given by a local community member followed by a reception. The group also donated food and clothing to the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Salt Lake City. Besides providing services for Veterans' groups, the members held monthly meetings to help in "bearing up under the burdens we Gold Star mothers have been called upon to bear."
Born in Lewiston, Utah, 18 August 1897, Alice Boman Pond was involved in several Cache Valley organizations. After losing a son during World War II she joined the Salt Lake County chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, then later organized a local Cache County chapter. She served as president of the Cache County chapter from 1948 to 1950. She remained an active Gold Star member until 1959. Besides involvement in Gold Star Mothers, Pond worked as president, historian, and chaplain of the Lewiston Post No. 50 of American Legion Auxiliary. Pond was also devotional director of Utah Girls State. She died in Logan on 10 October 1988.
This collection has three items: two bound volumes of the minutes of the organization from 1948 to 1964, and the scrapbook covering the same time frame. The scrapbook has pictures, newspaper clippings, and general information about the veterans from Cache Valley killed in the Second World War. Also included are the activities of the group in the period covered.
The bound volumes are the minutes of the meetings held by the organization from September 22, 1948 to September 25, 1964. All entries are handwritten by a number of secretaries.
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Permission to publish material from the American Gold Star Mothers minutes and scrapbook must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
American Gold Star Mothers minutes and scrapbook, 1948-1964. (COLL MSS 49). Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
Arranged by category of material and chronologically.
Detailed Description of the Collection