Telephone Girls to “Hold the Lines" in France - 1918

Chicago Girls in Training for Service as Telephone Operators with American Army.

Chicago Girls in Training for Service as Telephone Operators with American Army. Top, left to right—Miss Young, Suburban-Chief Instructor; Miss Millicent Martin, Miss Annie L. Gernon, Miss Lillian R. Verkler, Miss Grund, Suburban-Instructor; Miss Cummings, Suburban-Instructor; Miss Louise Beraud, Miss Helen Ort, Mrs. C. Moore, City School Principal. Bottom—Miss Bertha J. Verkler, Miss Evelyn Thomas, Miss Dorothy L. Sage, Miss Drucilla Palmer, Miss Marjorie Thomas, Miss Bertha Sjostrom. Bell Telephone News, April 1918. GGA Image ID # 19adb7ef77

General Pershing and the American commanders in France will hear again 'ere long the familiar tones of the American telephone operators. Thirty-three of these girls recently arrived in France and have been stationed at various points.

Girls for this important service are being recruited all over the country. Already eight Chicago girls have left for the front and more will soon follow.

The Chicago girls are being trained by the Chicago Telephone Company, whose school facilities have been placed at the disposal of the government.

The work of training began about two months ago, and in addition to the eight girls who have been graduated, a dozen more are in training.

The picture herewith shows some of the girls already enlisted. In the group are several instructors on the staff of the Chicago Telephone Company's operators school, including Mrs. C. Moore, principal.

Mrs. Moore is one of the best known telephone women in the United States and has trained many thousand operators. Her son, Captain D. E. Moore, a former Chicago Telephone Company man, is an instructor in the Signal Corps Training Camp at Leon Springs, Texas, which is turning out hundreds of soldier telephone linemen for the battle front.

The government requires that applicants for positions as telephone operators with the Expeditionary forces be able to speak French. When this point is determined, the applicant is turned over to the Telephone Company’s instructors and a season of intensive training in telephone operating follows.

When in service the girls will wear a special uniform, and be in every respect regular enlisted soldiers. The rate of pay ranges from $60.00 a month for operators, to $125 for chief operators, with subsistence and quarters furnished.

The following operators who volunteered for service have left Chicago for “Somewhere East’':

  • Drucilla S. Palmer, formerly of 5435 Woodlawn Ave., Chicago;
  • Marjorie and Evelyn Thomas, formerly of 2934 Michigan Ave., Chicago;
  • Millicent Martin, formerly of 634 Woodlawn Park, Chicago;
  • Elizabeth R. Roby, formerly of 5448 Cornell Ave., Chicago;
  • Helen R. Ort, formerly of 2901 Michigan Ave., Chicago;
  • Martha L. and Bertha A. Carrel, formerly of 2319 Chestnut St., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Training in Chicago are:

  • Vera Sjostroin, 245 W. North Ave., Chicago;
  • Annie L. Gernon, 241 S. Chicago Ave., Kankakee, Ill.;
  • Louise Beraud, 543 W. 43d St., Chicago;
  • Lillian R. and Bertha J. Verkler, 6127 Indiana Ave., Chicago;
  • Dorothy L. Sage, 522 Church St., Evanston, Ill.;
  • Cecile Joncas, 6710 Perry Ave., Chicago;
  • Marguerite Monnet, 5423 Kenmore Ave., Chicago;
  • Maria Flood, 5338 Ferdinand St., Chicago;
  • Helen Bixby, 3245 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, Ind.

"Telephone Girls to 'Hold the Lines' in France," in Bell Telephone News, Detroit Edition, Vol. 7, No. 9, April 1918, p. 21.

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