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Ray42

WW1 Goodwill find US Public Health Service Olive Drab

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This WW1 officers Jacket came out of a goodwill today, it is in fairly decent shape despite missing the collar devices and rank pins which can be expected from anything found at goodwill. It is named and dated 3-5-18 in the pocket which was a nice surprise. I am unfamilear with the buttons that are on the uniform however, I don't know if they hold any significance indicating the officer was a doctor or are just private purchase buttons added by the officer. Overall I am happy to add my first WW1 uniform to my collection because I have been searching for one and am happy to have a new research project.

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Picture of the strange buttons.

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Public Health Service buttons.......

The health progressives had some successes. Between 1880 and 1920, public health bureaucracies took root in state and city governments, and national non-profit health advocacy organizations flourished. World War I especially spurred the expansion of the federal government's role in public health, and public health film production, in the name of the war effort. After the war, many of the programs introduced during the war were discontinued, in an effort to reduce expenditures to pre-war levels.

 

See page 20 here

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Cool pickup

 

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LOOKING FOR ANY AND ALL ITEMS RELATED TO
THE 305TH BOMB GROUP FROM WWII.

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Public Health Service stuff from this period is near impossible to find. Nice pickup even with some damage


Check out my eBay page, I sell military insignia and just about anything else I come across

Link: https://www.ebay.com/sch/fitzkeemilitaria/m.html?item=223497878518&hash=item340982fbf6%3Ag%3ASs4AAOSw-llcxhqe&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

 

Please check out my web page as well for more items for sale

 

https://fitzkeemilitaria.com/

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Well thats a surprising explanation, I'm a little disappointed that it is not from a ww1 vet, especially since it coincidently had an early 1918 date. Thanks for the information, is this still technically a military uniform then? It seems like this organization part of the navy at one time? Suddenly the research and possible restoration process got a whole lot more complicated lol.


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Oh thank you! That is a very helpful illustration. Luckily for me the pin holes are still present so I know where to place them once I find them, it seems like they were removed recently so I wonder if the Goodwill still has them in the back. I have always wondered what becomes of the missing parts. The ranks might be the hardest to find depending on if I can even identify the individual.


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Absolutely wonderful pickup. You never know whats down at the local GW. Well done!


Kind Regards, Michael .S

 

WW2 77th Division Researcher and Collector

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Thank you, I know I am always surprised by what I find at Goodwill, especially around Halloween time. I thought that since I already have this thread going I would ask and see if anyone knows the value of this type of uniform and insignia to help me plan a budget for it's restoration. The only WW1 example of a USPHS collar insignia I have seen which has sold recently was for 24$, but that strikes me as maybe someone found a great BIN deal that doesn't reflect the true value. Beyond that I can't find an example of any WW1 era insignia or completed uniform which I can use to estimate costs so anyone here with information would be greatly appreciated


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Amazingly I was actually able to find individual who wore this uniform listed in the 1916 Annual Public Health Service report. He is listed as an assistant surgeon under the rural sanitation section on pg 352. Apparently at the end of 1916 there were only 200 commissioned officers in the Corps which would explain why everything seems so difficult to find.

https://books.google.com/books?id=nYDraawx8qYC&pg=PA370&lpg=PA370&dq=annual+report+of+the+surgeon+general++public+health+service+1916&source=bl&ots=PDcav7Ajlg&sig=ACfU3U2rMXXu_NBh8t1_Zoc1OAV6cceeYw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj_x4qYpZXnAhUPHM0KHW2kAwYQ6AEwCHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=annual%20report%20of%20the%20surgeon%20general%20%20public%20health%20service%201916&f=false

 

Additionally I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who might know if there was any difference between the assistant surgeon rank and a first lietenant? The two look and from the description sound the same to me, I thought I would ask on this thread first before posting it in the appropriate rank forum. Thanks for all of your guy's help!


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If a moderator could move this somewhere in the Uniform section I would appreciate it because I plan to update this post with the finished uniform and I feel like it could be a useful resource for anyone who may come across another of these uniforms in the future. Thanks!


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Well thats a surprising explanation, I'm a little disappointed that it is not from a ww1 vet, especially since it coincidently had an early 1918 date.

 

Plenty of important work done by the USPHS in 1918, though.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/i/influenza/a-forgotten-enemy-phss-public-health-service-fight-against-the-1918-influenza-pandemic.html

 

 

Additionally I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who might know if there was any difference between the assistant surgeon rank and a first lietenant? The two look and from the description sound the same to me, I thought I would ask on this thread first before posting it in the appropriate rank forum. Thanks for all of your guy's help!

 

The rank insignia? They would not be different from the Army type except at that time USPHS were using gold bars where the Army insignia was silver bars. I'm not sure when they switched to be the same as the other service, 1920s is my guess.

 

Great uniform to see, thanks!


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Plenty of important work done by the USPHS in 1918, though.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/i/influenza/a-forgotten-enemy-phss-public-health-service-fight-against-the-1918-influenza-pandemic.html

 

 

at that time USPHS were using gold bars where the Army insignia was silver bars.

Thank you for that link, I had forgotten about the Spanish Influenza and that it would have been part of their concern. The link looks like it contains a lot of useful period resources that may help me research the individual. I've been lucky and discovered that in the Annual reports of the USPHS they used to report the actions of every officer so I have some idea of his activities conducting sanitary surveys. That stops in 1918 however and I couldn't figure out why but I bet they just had more important things to worry about in that year like the flu.

 

While not very active there is a USPHS area of the forum for ranks and rates. Members there may be a good resource for you as well.

NON-MILITARY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/forum/1469-NON-MILITARY-GOVERNMENT-AGENCIES

Thank you, I had not noticed that sub-forum until after posting my question however I will direct future questions there. I had not considered that there might be a section for it, although there does not seem to be a similar area for uniforms.


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Well I have finally been able to restore this uniform, the rank pins don't match each other in wear as much as I would like but it is pretty good for now. Its a terrible irony that subsequent world events have led me to respect the role that Assistant Surgeon R.E. Wynne must have played in 1918 facing the Spanish Flue. Thank you to all health care providers past and present. 

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Nice uniform and restoration. This is not a common uniform, that's for sure!


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Ditto what RustyCanteen said! Great find, great restore!

BKW

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Thank you both, it would have not been possible to do without the individuals on the forum who helped me with information. I honestly might have not realized that it was from the PHS without the help of other members.  Some day after college I hope to add a hat, belt, and breaches to complete a display but from the little bit of research I have done so far those specialty items are nearly impossible to find. 

And Brian you might find this interesting but Asst. Surg. Wynne was an Indiana resident and appears as a Public Defense medical specialist (or something similar I forget the exact title off the top of my head) for the state during the WW2.  The uniform was found in Bedford Ind. along with a questionable pair of tiger stripe pants. 


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