I have been pleased to discover that the Library of Congress updates the offerings in its collection of public-domain digital images on the web. This week, I came across one that was new to me, titled "Tea At Hostess House."
The Library of Congress summary says, "Photograph shows women having tea at a 'hostess house' probably in a military camp during World War I. Hostess houses were set up by the War Work Council of the YWCA. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2016)."
Have you ever heard of a "hostess house" before? I had not, but a little surfing and I found an abstract from the Winter 2008 Winterthur Portfolio which explained, "During World War I the Young Women’s Christian Association established hostess houses at American military camps and employed women as hostesses. The houses were newly constructed, large, and durable buildings, some of which were designed by women architects. They mediated public and private space and helped control interactions between soldiers and their female friends and relatives. As shelters in which the soldiers could buffer the military and find personal comfort, and as places for women to gain experience in managing complex and relatively large institutions, the hostess houses were a significant facet of the home front in World War I."
Yet another bit of history in which tea apparently played a role!