Polk County

Evelyn Anderson


Des Moines in the Services

Evelyn Anderson, American Red Cross assistant club director, has arrived safely in North Africa, according to word received by her mother, Mrs. N.E. Anderson, 1003 Sixty-third st.

Source: The DesMoines Tribune, March 22, 1944 (photo included)

Evelyn Anderson, Des Moines, was the first American girl to enter Livorno, Italy, following occupation by he 34th Infantry Division, and "the only American girl for miles around," on the push through the country she has written.

An American Red Cross assistant club director for more than a year, Miss Anderson has been putting together service centers on the heels of the Nazis so Yanks might have sandwiches, coffee -- and ice cream -- almost as soon as the smoke of battle clears.

Miss Anderson, daughter of Mrs. Nelle E. Anderson, 1003 Sixty-third st., was graduated from East High school and form Iowa State college, Ames.

She was a dietitian for four years in Newcastle, Australia before the war brought her to this country. She was chief dietitian at Doctor's hospital , Washington, D.C. at the time she went into Red Cross war work.

Drove from Rome

Miss Anderson wrote July 18, from a club then closet to the front lines, that she and the director had loaded cleaning equipment and a few office supplies on a weapon carrier to drive there from Rome.

Selecting a school building for the club, the two converted classroom desks and seats into lounge furniture. They were able to have the club going in three days, rather than three weeks the reed Cross had estimated.

"We had worked steadily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, Miss Anderson wrote, "Most of the boys in this area have had as much combat as any group in the army and this is their first break.

"The town has been well bombed by us, and you should see what we can do. There was not a thing available in the way of equipment. The town had been evacuated. We still have to truck our water in and have no lights. The commanding officer let us take the piano out of his villa."

Miss Anderson salvaged canvas from the devastated city to make an awning, and beneath it she place chairs and tables, when a truckload of supplies arrived from Naples.

'Top Ranking Person'

Through the co-operation of "the top tanking person of this part of the world", as Miss Anderson phrased it, she was able to obtain a special generator to operate the three ice cream freezers.

Miss Anderson has become famous for her ice cream, as she stared making it in Algiers -- when everybody said it could not be done and has continued right through Sicily and Italy.

In appreciation of the ice cream, the men wired her room, found an air mattress for her and had "scrounged around" to find other furnishings.

Source: The Des Moines Register, August 23, 1944 (photo included)