1883 Women's Relief Corps Medal - Inventory Number: VET 127
The initials "F.L.C." appear on the face of the top bar of the badge and represents the Woman's Relief Corps' motto of Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty. The back of top bar has pin hanger. Beneath the bar is red, white and blue silk ribbon with a Maltese cross shaped drop. The drop has a GAR Coat of Arms at center surrounded by "WOMANS, RELIEF, CORPS, 1883". "PATENED MAY 6 and SEPT. 28, 1886" appear on the reverse of the medal.
The center holds the American Flag, and is encircled in a wreath of stars, depicting five outstanding figures: Goddess of Liberty, Soldier, Boy, Woman, and Child.
The Soldier symbolizes Fraternity because the Comrades created their organization as their Auxiliary in 1883. The Boy is emblematic of the youth and strength of the future life of the Nation.
The Woman is emblematic of motherhood, the very source of all civilization throughout the world. She has taught mercy, kindness, and has extended Charity from the beginning of time.
The Child is emblematic of the hope of the world, with our patriotic teachings of Loyalty to the nation's laws and principles, with Freedom and Justice for future generations yet unborn.
The Woman's Relief Corps (W.R.C.) is the official women's auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, recognized in 1883. The W.R.C. is one of the many women's organizations that were founded after the American Civil War. In 1879 a group of Massachusetts women found a "secret" organization and its members were to be women who were loyal to the North during the Civil War. From 1879, the Woman's Relief Corps held as the primary means to identify women who were eligible to become members was remaining loyal to the Union. It didn't matter where the applicants lived during the Civil War as long as they could prove loyal to the Union. While it might be easy to assume that this organization was only for white women, there were many Posts across the country that had African American women as members. The only challenge identifying these women is that the Woman's Relief Corps records do not specify the races of its members very often. The organization was designed to assist the GAR, promote and help run Memorial Day (alongside the GAR), petition the federal government for nurses pensions, and promote patriotic education.
Inventory Number: VET 127