Amazing Amy

Amy Robbins on her father's estate in the 1890's.
Amy Robbins on her father’s estate in the 1890’s.

In 1921 Amy Robbins earned this entry in “American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Vol. 9”, by William Richard Cutter. The book was published by The American Historical Society, Inc of New York.

WARE, Amy (Robbins),

Author, Red Cross Worker in France.

Amy (Robbins) Ware, of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, daughter of Andrew Bonney and Adelaide Julia (Walker) Robbins, is of Colonial ancestry. She is a lineal descendant of the “Mayflower Pilgrim,” John Howland, through Captain Abraham Shaw (American Revolution), Captain Shaw’s daughter being Mary (Shaw) Robbins, mother of Andrew Bonney Robbins.

It was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, under the hospitable roof of her mother’s brother, Thomas Barlow Walker, that Amy Robbins was born, September 7, 1877.

Much of the active interest in art which has motivated the life of Amy Robbins originated in the hours spent from earliest childhood among the art treasures of the T. B. Walker Collection. From the age of eight she was a devotee of the violin, studying and later teaching that instrument. She graduated from East Minneapolis High School, 1896, specializing in architecture, which profession she practiced until 1898. She was graduated from the University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Science, 1901. She studied applied-design, woodcarving, leather and jewelry, in summer schools of Minneapolis Handicraft Guild, 1905-06. She received the degree of Master of Arts, University of Minnesota, 1907; major in dramaturgy, historic-design, archaeology.

She married J. R. Ware, August 14, 1907. Residence, “The Orchard,” Robbinsdale. She established “Orchard Crafts Guild,” 1908. She traveled on the continent, 1913-14.

Coming of a family who for generations have “served with the colors,” it was inevitable that Amy (Robbins) Ware should take part in the World War as soon as her own country became involved, and devote herself to the cause. April 6, 1917, (the day the United States declared war), Mrs. Ware entered the American School of Telegraphy, studying Morse and Radio Telegraphy, remaining until July, 1917. She conducted the Radio Department, Women’s Naval Service Inc. Training School, teaching both day and night classes from September, 1917, to March, 1918. She was accepted as a canteen worker, American Red Cross, and sailed for France on “La Touraine,” March 14, 1918.

Her first assignment to 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun, enabled her to continue teaching radio, nights, to prospective “observers,” while serving in Red Cross Canteen through the day. The officer in charge of the classes being transferred elsewhere, this work was important. When the Red Cross called for volunteers to the front, September, 1918, Mrs. Ware went and served in emergency canteen and nursing throughout St. Mihiel and Argonne drives, “under fire” with Field Hospital No. 41, where there were no other women than her unit, at Sorcey-sur-Meuse. She had learned the manoeuvers of the aviators at the Aviation Center, and in her book “Echoes of France,” describes the first air battle she saw, at Sorcey, under the title “Birds of the Night.” She continued with Evacuation Hospital, No. 9, Vaubricourt; and No. II, Brizeaux-Forestierre in the Argonne, until December 8, 1918.

Amy2
Author, Red Cross Worker in France.

 

In her zeal, Mrs. Ware overworked, and in January, 1919, gave up her canteen at Quai d’Orsay, and was sent to the Riviera to recuperate. She was transferred from Red Cross to army, April 15, 1919. For four months after her recovery she was a member of the faculty of the University established for the American Expeditionary forces, and was stationed at Savenay Hospital Center, where she taught architecture, mechanical drawing, and lettering. Mrs. Ware had been on overseas duty sixteen months to a day when she received her discharge from the army, in New York, on June 14, 1919, when she returned to Robbinsdale.

On May 12, 1920, she again entered the Government service, teaching in the Army School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. In connection with this position she did notable work in the E. and R. Special Summer School at Camp Grant, 1920, and is now (March, 1921) supervisor of education at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Even in times of peace she is following in her father’s footsteps in civic ways, as an active member of the Hennepin County Republican Speakers’ Bureau, and other political organizations.

Mrs. Ware is a member of the Maine Society Descendants of the Mayflower; Old Trails Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Minneapolis; National Greek Letter Sorority, Pi Beta Phi; College Women’s Club, and Association Collegiate Alumnae; Lydia Whitside Post, American Legion; American Women’s Overseas League; Tourist, Le Marianda, and Business Women’s clubs of Minneapolis; and Westminster Presbyterian Church.

She is the authoress of “Echoes of France,” (The Farnham Company, Minneapolis), a book of verse written “in the darkened ship and in the roaring forest of Argonne” and dedicated “To the Lads who Went West.” Her experiences are told with much feeling and some humor. A wild search in a pouring rain for eggs to feed her patients, and making puddings and chocolate on an army stove whose pipe was too short, are among the incidents which show that Mrs. Ware was capable of taking her duties gracefully. The terror, the grilling work, the agony of pity which must have depressed the women who were there, all find their place. Gifted with a rare clarity of vision, Mrs. Ware vividly portrays the horrors of war, but also pictures clearly the wondrous beauties of the sights and sounds of the great adventure, and pays feeling tribute to the incomparable spirit of the American soldier. In this little book is revealed the inspired devotion of American women who went with the boys to the very end of the journey, and it must ever be a solace to bereaved and aching hearts, for it is a veritable message of hope.

The little volume is graced by an introduction from the pen of Richard Burton, University of Minnesota, and a preface by Edmund Baehr, University of Cincinnati, a co-worker “over there.” The cover bears a design by the author, in the ‘real atmosphere of France.’ ”