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Source: Typewritten notes by the late Commander William S. Edwards, USN (Ret), of Navy Nurse Corps - General Uniform Instructions, 1917, dated 23 October 1917. The text is reproduced here as in the original, following the original use of capitalization, though underlined text has been replaced with bold type. A photocopy of the notes is located in the Navy Dept. Library's "Women - World War I" vertical file.

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U.S. Navy Nurse Corps General Uniform Instructions



Plain white material. Waists to be buttoned at neck except that in Summer they may be opened from the upper first button with the collar worn flat; plain pearl links to fasten cuffs.

SKIRTS, regulation length, 5" from the ground; pocket in the skirt.

The instructions pertain to the gray chambray uniform, except that additional white collars and cuffs are worn; the aprons of this uniform are to be worn when performing professional duties and will not be worn outside the station of duty.


The cap of the Navy Nurse Corps shall be worn always on duty.


Pin of the regular Navy Nurse Corps to be worn at the front opening of the waists.

Small collar device authorized to be supplied by the Red Cross to be worn horizontally on each side of the collar.

No ornaments or jewelry other than a plain watch fob to be worn while on duty. Plain wrist watches are permitted to be worn except when center-indicated by professional duties.


To be kept buttoned at all times except that for warm weather the two upper buttons may be unfastened and the collars may be worn flat.


To be prescribed length, 5" from ground. Waists worn with suits to be buttoned close to the neck except that in Summer they may be opened from the upper first button with the collar worn flat over the suit coat.


A. Plain white boots or shoes to be worn with white wash uniform and with white linen summer suit.
B. Plain black boots or shoes to be worn with chambray uniforms; winter suit, and summer dark blue suit.
C. Tan boots permitted for travel or walking. All boots and shoes to be fitted with rubber heels.


Plain white hosiery with white boots and shoes.
Plain black hosiery with black boots or shoes.
Plain tan permitted to be worn with travel or walking boots.


To be fastened with plain black topped hat pins; (or white topped hat pins for white straw hats) pins to be short enough to avoid extending through the hat to a noticeable degree. An elastic may be passed back of the head if necessary.


Medium tan to be worn with dark suites;
White for summer suits and also to be worn with dark suits when indicated by special occasions.


Plain tan. Rubber hat or slicker may be permitted.


To be worn only with full uniform. The device will be placed horizontally on each side of the collar one inch from the opening. No other insignia permitted.
No jewelry, flowers, ornaments or furs to be worn with the street uniform.
If recommended as necessary, for warmth, a plain MUFFLER or SCARF of Navy blue or white may be worn, crossed over the chest under the coat.


To be worn with the permission of the Chief Nurse when weather conditions indicate.


For horse back riding the uniform coat or waist must be worn.
A divided SKIRT may be worn made in accordance with the general outline of the regulation uniform skirt; length of skirt at least 5" below the top of boot or puttee.


Permitted to be worn on such occasions when the indoor or outdoor uniform is not indicated.
The collar devices may be worn with this dress with the permission of the commanding officer.


Material: To be made from same material as coat.
Style: Two piece circular skirt, loose at the waist line, and to have a bodice top of white silk.
Bodice: Shoulder straps to be 3" wide; opening on left side closing with snap fasteners.
Length: To be 12" from the ground.
Width: To be 60 to 68" around bottom.
Belt: None.
Pockets: None
Seams: All seams lapped and single stitched 1/2" wide.



Of heavy dark blue serge for winter. Two-piece, gored at sides, fitted smoothly in front; fullness in back gathered at waist line under belt 1 1/2" wide attached across back; side opening 10" fastened by snap fasteners... Belt loose from skirt continuing to the front overlapping 3/4", fastened with button hole and black rubber button size of a quarter... Stitched attached pockets on either side, 4" from center front of skirt and 5" from waist line; pockets to be 5" wide and 5" deep, with button, slightly rounded at outer edge; flap of pocket 1 1/2" extending by crescent curve to sharp point 2 1/2" in center; fastened to pocket by button hole in center of flap and black button size of a nickel rounded edge... on pocket 1 1/4" from top; skirt to be 2 yds around the bottom... at present to be not more than 7" from ground...


Of heavy dark blue serge; fitted back, plain center seam ending at waist line in pleat inverted to depth of 1 1/2"; front of coat, fitting across bust; faced back with self goods 4"; right side overlapping left side 4" at neck line; decreasing 1-3/4" to easy fitting waist line; the fastening to be accomplished by six buttons similar to button on belt or skirt; seams from each shoulder front to be inverted 1", edges meeting ... seams ending 8-3/4" from shoulder in stitched attached pockets, outer edge of pocket about 2" from inner seam of sleeve at arm hole; pockets to be 4 1/2" wide by 4 1/2" deep, with flaps 1-3/4" increasing, by crescent curve to 2 1/4" in center; to be fastened in center by button hole to button size of a nickel 3/4" from top of pocket; skirt to coat to be 18 inches from waist line, with lapped side seams of 1"; flat pockets on hip 8" deep; 7 1/2" wide at opening of pockets, extending 9 1/2" at bottom... flap of pocket 4 1/2" deep; inserted at waist line, 8 1/2" wide, increasing to 10 1/2" at bottom; edge of flaps which extend over pockets 2"; the flap and pocket proper to be stitched at edge and also 3/4" from edge; flap fastened by button hole to button size of a quarter on pocket 1" from top of pocket; belt 2 1/2" wide, extending around jacket, overlapping in front 2", fastened by button hole on right end and button on left, size of quarter. Collar: one-piece top... about 4 1/2" deep; neck opening straight 2" deep, fastened by 3 self loops on right side to 3 buttons 1/2" in diameter on left side; Outer collar to be closed invisibly with hooks and eyes; the extra width to form turn-over collar when fastened at throat... sleeves to be full length plain coat sleeve; to have one band of black military braid, 1/2" wide, to be placed 2" from end of sleeve; ...


For winter, Navy blue felt or velour, sailor, soft or hard brim with blue silk hat band, not exceeding 1 1/2" finished by a tailored bow at the side.
For summer, with blue or white suit, (a) Navy blue straw sailor and Navy blue hat band not to exceed 1 1/2", finished with tailored bow at side;
(b) White straw sailor with white silk band, not to exceed 1 1/2", finished with tailored bow at side.


For winter suits: Flannel waists, dark blue and silk waists, dark blue.
For summer, mohair suits, dark blue silk or white silk;
For summer tropical or linen suit, white silk or other white wash material not transparent; all made according to following specifications:
Plainwaists; slightly gathered on shoulder seams which extends 1" over shoulder; front patch pocket on left wide of waist 4 1/2" by 3 1/2".
COLLAR: Straight turn-over opening of about 2" which is fastened by 2 buttons and button holes; one button to be at seam joining collar, the second button 1 1/2" above, or proportionate distance; the waist to be closed by five buttons 3" apart.
SLEEVE: Shirt waist style ending in cuffs 3" wide, fastened by 2 buttons and buttonholes; opening of sleeve in back continuing 2" from cuff with facing 3/4".
With blue flannel and blue silk waists, white organdie narrow turn-over collar and cuffs will be worn.


Dark blue heavy coating, smooth finish, similar to Navy (cap cloth) - ... Coat to be semi-fitting, right front overlapping left front; skirt of coat falling full, length 7" from the ground; inverted and lapping seams in back, fastened by concealed buttons from waist; lapped side seams; inset pockets in skirt of coat outlined by 2 rows of curved stitching 3/4" apart; opening of pocket having stitched piece 5" deep; cuff 5" deep at points, back, decreasing to 2 1/2" front, finished with 2 rows of stitching 3/4" apart, fastened upright by strap attached to under side of collar by buttonholes and buttons with rounded edge and four needle holes.
BELT: 3 1/2" wide across back.
Fullness of coat to be governed by prevailing style. COLLAR to be straight - similar in fastening of collar of suit coat.


Of any weight; Color - dark navy blue.


Straight hanging with black belt - Navy blue; coat of cravenette or rubber and rubber hat.


Heavy long cape of cap cloth made according to specifications.
Light cape - Navy blue serge lined with flannel.
Bottom of cape 5 ½ yds diminishing to 2/3 yds at collar. Fullness falling to back; length from collar to bottom in back 1 1/4 yards diminishing to 1 yard at side seam; 5/6 yard front; front of cape fastening double-breasted with three buttons attached to side seam by seam left open 12 inches for arms, at a distance of 12" from bottom; seam stitched and marked by row of buttons 3" apart; attached pockets 6 1/2" by 6 1/2" attached to cape on either side of front by stitching; closing by button hole in pocket and bottom of cape; separate BELT confining front of cape if desired.


Black to be worn with Navy blue suits; heels to not be higher than Cuban; heavy soles.
(Under certain conditions the Surgeon General may authorize tan boots for heavy walking).
White shoes to be worn with Summer or white uniforms; heels, medium; soles, medium.


Black with black boots or shoes.
White with white boots or shoes.


When indicated


and felt slippers to be worn inside when indicated.


To be worn with the permission of the Chief Nurse when weather conditions indicate.


The Nurse Corps insignia collar device shall not be worn except in complete outdoor uniform.
The collar device will be placed horizontally, 1" from the center opening of waists of uniform when collar is worn closed and in an approximate position when the collar is worn open during the summer months;
The collar device shall be worn horizontally 1" from opening on the collar of coat of suit when collar is closed and shall be eliminated when collar of suit is worn open;
On collar of top coat or heavy cape.


Coat of suit to have 2 bands of black military braid around the sleeve, 1/2" apart; first band to be 2" from end of sleeve.


The outdoor and office uniform of the Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps shall be similar to that of the Nurses and Chief Nurses, except that shell shall wear on the sleeve of the Navy blue suit 2 bands of 1/2" military braid 1" apart, between which shall be inserted one band 1/4" in width; the first 1/2" band to be 2" from end of sleeve.

Published: Thu Apr 23 09:36:04 EDT 2020