The History of Donut Dollies
by Andrea Gilmer, Community Engagement Librarian
Last week I was watching a baking competition show that I love (The Great British Baking Show – I highly recommend it, friendliest competition show I’ve ever watched, and we have several seasons on our shelves at the library), when the hosts announced that the contestants would be making doughnuts in this round. It was not the first time this challenge had been issued in the various seasons I’d seen, so it wasn’t until the hosts began giving us a bit of historical trivia that I turned my full attention to the show. Something they mentioned intrigued me and I had to know more; so, being the librarian that I am, I hopped on a couple of our history databases (History Reference Center and Explora, to name two) and typed in my search term: “Donut Dollies”.
It seems that during World War II the American Red Cross set up recreation clubs in large cities to help with GIs’ morale and homesickness; but as soldiers were stationed further from cities a new plan was necessary, which is how Clubmobiles and their “Donut Dollies” came to be. Clubmobiles were vehicles that had been equipped for coffee and doughnut-making and included a phonograph and supplies of gum, newspapers, and a few other comforts from home. The women who served on these vehicles were college graduates, at least 25 years old, had excellent interpersonal relations and came to be known by the name “Donut Dollies”. A Donut Dolly’s main role was to provide an escape from the realities of war; they could carry on a conversation, sit and listen in silence as a soldier spoke of experiences impossible to share with family and friends back home, banter, joke, jitterbug to the current hit, and serve coffee and donuts with a smile.
These women were among the first, non-military, to get close to seeing the front during war because they went where the soldiers did in a time when women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. This remained such an effective program for boosting morale that the Red Cross continued it through the Korea and Vietnam conflicts. As December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, approaches it seemed a fitting topic to recognize those who volunteered their services in any capacity they were able in order to serve our country. Thank you to those who defend us, and those who support them.
Now, to end on a cheeky note (in case you’re now hungry for doughnuts): check out our A to Z World Food database for a variety of recipes from around the world!
Wed., Dec. 5 @ 1:00p.m. – Home School Class with Red River National Wildlife Refuge, ages 6-12
Fri., Nov. 30 @ 11:00a.m. – Preschool Story Time, ages 3-5
Bossier Central 746-1693
Thur., Dec. 6 @ 5:30p.m. – Christmas Social, ages 18 and up
East 80 949-2665
CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS – We’re working on the parking lot now and adding an access ramp to the front door to make the branch accessible from both entrances.
Sat., Dec. 1 @ 1:00p.m. – Reading to Duke, all ages
History Center 746-7717
Fri., Dec. 7 @ 1:00p.m. – Bossier Parish 175th Anniversary Holiday Open House, all ages
Plain Dealing 326-4233
Sat., Dec. 1 @ 3:00p.m. – Teen Mentoring: Paint Your Dream, ages 13-17
Mon., Dec. 3 @ 11:00a.m. – Chicken Foot Dominoes, ages 18 and up
- Art Matters: Because Your Imagination can Change the World by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Non-Fiction; Book)
- Beauchamp Hall by Danielle Steel (Fiction; Book, Audiobook)
- Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb (Non-Fiction; Book)