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Gertrude Dienst Papers

 Collection
Identifier: M031

Gertrude Grabowsky Dienst (Mrs. George Dienst) headed the American Red Cross Production Unit and War Service of the Denver Turner's Auxiliary for the Denver Federation of Federated Women's Clubs. She organized the auxiliary to send relief packages overseas during World War II.

The papers include letters from civilians living in postwar Germany to the American Red Cross Production Unit and War Service of the Denver Turner's Auxiliary asking for assistance. The collection also includes thank you notes, correspondence, a print draft of an oral history interview with Gertrude G. Dienst and a history of the Auxiliary.

Dates

  • 1947-1950

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in German and English.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet (1 letter document box)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists largely of letters from civilians living in postwar Germany asking for assistance. The letters are organized according to the occupation zone of the person asking for assistance: American, British, French, or Russian. Additionally, one folder contains letters and thank you notes from the teachers and students of the Freie Waldorfschule (the Free Waldorf School) in Marburg, Germany (American Occupation Zone), which received over 800 pounds of school supplies, clothing, food, and candy from the Auxiliary. Finally, the collection contains an early and final draft of a history of the Denver Turner's Auxiliary and an early and final draft of an oral history interview with Gertrude Dienst conducted by Bartholomew Rice, giving anecdotes and information concerning her early life.

Biographical / Historical

Gertrude G. Dienst (1887- ), daughter of Theodore Grabowsky of Ratibor, Germany, and Julia di Bernell of Manheim Baden, Germany, was born April 5, 1887 in the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago, en route to Denver, Colorado. She and her brother were raised by their father, a miner in Silverton, Colorado, and stepmother. Her education began in the two-room 29th Street School. Dienst continued her elementary education at the Gilpin School and the Boulevard School before attending North Denver High School. She graduated in 1907 and was sent to the University in Breslau, Germany. Due to financial constraints, she left the University and worked as an English governess until her marriage to George Dienst at the American Consulate in 1911. She enjoyed working at the Joslin's department store between 1912 and 1940, first as a sales clerk, then as an assistant buyer. During World War I, she was responsible for the Red Cross Relief Collections to benefit warhorses and dogs. She also taught salesmanship classes and applied psychology at an opportunity school for soldiers returning from the war.

On January 20, 1942, under the leadership of Gertrude Dienst, 25 women organized a women's auxiliary Red Cross unit in Denver to help with World War II relief efforts. Officially titled ''The American Red Cross Production Unit and War Service of the Denver Turner's Auxiliary for the Denver Federation of Federated Women's Clubs,'' the group immediately began work collecting donations, as well as sewing and knitting for the needy in Europe, both soldier and civilian. After the war, this same group of women continued to help the German people by forming a Colorado branch of the American Committee for the Relief of German Needy. All told, this group of women sent more than three tons of relief packages overseas through August 1951.

Arrangement

This collection is partially arranged.;

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Gertrude Dienst, 1969.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428