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Local News

Historic poster a nod to Salvation Army's past

Dan Kallan donated a 1918 Salvation Army poster to be displayed at The Salvation Army Center in Joliet.
Dan Kallan donated a 1918 Salvation Army poster to be displayed at The Salvation Army Center in Joliet.

JOLIET – Dan Kallan thinks "the lassie" looks pretty good for 96 years old.

"She's very fetching, but the doughboy looks like Alfred E. Newman to me," Kallan said when he presented a 1918 Salvation Army poster to The Salvation Army in Joliet this month.

Kallan recently found the poster at an antique market in LaSalle and thought it would make an interesting display in the center at 300 Third Ave.

"I have an interest in history and World War I, and I support The Salvation Army for the work that they do," Kallan said.

The soldiers called the women of The Salvation Army who supported them at the front "lassies." Besides writing letters home and praying over fallen soldiers from both sides, the lassies were responsible for the soldiers' iconic description.

Ensigns Helen Puriance and Margaret Sheldon rolled dough with wine bottles, cut it in strips and twisted it into a cruller, Kallan said. The lassies fried the dough on potbellied stoves and, at times, in iron military helmets, eventually producing up to 9,000 doughnuts per day.

The doughnuts became the symbol of The Salvation Army and the soldiers who took comfort from them became known as "doughboys."

Capt. Ruth Sellen said The Salvation Army still marks "Doughnut Day" on the first Saturday of June.

The poster was painted by George Mather Richards and shows the doughboy enjoying a doughnut while asking viewers to "keep the lassie on the job" with donations.

Sellen said the poster will be soon be put on display at the facility.

"It's very nice to receive a gift that reflects our history like this," she said.

The Salvation Army was also giving. Sellen said 486 families received gifts for Christmas from the Salvation Army center in Joliet.

"That's 844 kids under 13 who needed clothing and a toy we could provide," she added.

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