Union, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to come and listen to an American Salvation Army volunteer describe her experiences on the battlefield of France in 1918, when Union County’s celebration of Women’s History Month features Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”
Doughnuts for Doughboys will take place on Wednesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Liberty Hall Carriage House at Kean University, 1033 Morris Avenue in Union.
“As we face a challenging time in our nation’s history, it is all the more important to celebrate and recognize all the ways that women shape our past, influence our present and lead us into the future,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Doughnuts for Doughboys” is an exceptional performance that exposes a hidden corner of World War I history in sharp, compelling detail.”
Approximately 500 Salvation Army volunteers during WWI were young women who served with the American Army in France. In this engaging performance the audience will discover that between frying up doughnuts, writing letters for the boy’s for the folks back home, and mending uniforms or ministering to souls on the ravaged battlefields of France, these young women answered the call to ''place God in deeds" and became the darlings of the doughboys.
Using the volunteers’ own words as recorded in diaries, letters and interviews, Laurie MacDonnell-Gaulke breathes life into history and the everyday peoplewho create it. With the use of primary sources, she specializes in creating historical portrayals of real women with real stories to tell as she strives to present each character in a historically, culturally and socially accurate manner.
With a degree in cultural anthropology along with her research skills and talent as an actress and storyteller, Laurie brings historical figures to life in an entertaining and educational way. Participation in WWI re-enacting and vintage dancing along with an avid interest in period etiquette and manners also give her the knowledge to ensure that her portrayals are believable as well as entertaining.
Her credits include performances at William Paterson University, Caldwell College, University of Delaware, Military Through the Ages in Williamsburg,Virginia; local chapters of the NJ DAR, Belvidere Victorian Days, the Morris Museum, Fosterfields Living History Farm, statewide historical societies andWomen's Clubs. Also, during 1996-1997 she was an artist in residence at The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The 2018 Women’s History Month Celebration is sponsored by the Freeholder Board through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of Parks and Recreation, and is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State.