HISTORY OF THE GREY LADIES: The term "Gray Ladies" refers to American Red Cross volunteers who for many years provided friendly, personal services of a non-medical nature to sick, injured, and disabled patients in American hospitals, other health-care facilities, and private homes. Their work ranged from writing letters, reading, tutoring, and shopping for patients to serving as guides to visitors and as hostesses in hospital recreation rooms and at information desks. Gray Ladies also provided hospitality services in Red Cross Blood Centers and joined forces with other Red Cross workers in caring for disaster victims. The Gray Lady service began in 1918 at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Women volunteers acted as hostesses and provided recreational services to patients, most of whom had been injured during World War I. The women wore gray dresses and veils as uniforms and the soldiers affectionately called them "the gray ladies." The name stuck although the service did not become officially known as the Gray Lady Service until after World War II. Originally it was called the Hostess and Hospital Service and Recreation Corps of the American Red Cross. The name was shortened to Hospital and Recreation Corps in 1934 and changed to Gray Lady Service in 1947. Some men also enrolled in the Service and were called the ... read more