Women in the Great War - World War I

Women in the Great War - World War I

World War I was the first war in which American women were recruited to serve in the military. Women were already present in France as members of the American Red Cross. As canteen workers, but for the most part, French and Belgian women staffed American military offices.

In October 1917, the new American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) telephone system was implemented. Still, the American soldiers and the French women working as telephone operators could not communicate. The need for bilingual telephone operators precipitated the recruitment of American women.


Captured Army and Navy Nurses to be Supported by Red Cross - 1918

If the Germans capture any Army or Navy nurses, the American Red Cross will support them during captivity. This decision follows closely upon the announcement that, under the law, the pay of Army nurses.


Yankee Pluck - an Even Dozen of Pretty, Vivacious Young Ladies Are Shown in This Picture.


Girl Patriots At Great Lakes - 1919

Over in one of the largest regiments at Great Lakes, the fifteenth is located the workshop for twelve intrepid young ladies. Intrepid because they all left good homes and came “west” because America needed them.


Homes Wanted For American Women in France - 1918

The demand in France for the YWCA and its warm, efficient hospitality grew entirely out of bounds in the days before peace was declared. By cable came a series of desperate pleas.


A World War I Yeomanette, Miss Beema Mahoney Began Her Extensive Career With the Navy in the U. S. Naval Cable Censors Service, San Francisco, and Later Became a Navy Employee Working for the Sea-Service More Than 40 Years.


Navy Women of World War One - 1972

The Establishment of Yeoman (f), better known as the Yeomanette, was accomplished under the provisions of an Act of 29 Aug 1916, which set up the Naval Reserve Force.


Winning the Hearts of Soldiers by Service.


The Symbol of Service to Mankind – The American Red Cross - 1918

Hence, canteens and rest stations, and all their cooperation with the government, YMCA, and other war agencies, render the soldier life as tolerable, comforting, and heartening as possible.


Dinner Menu and Passenger List of American Red Cross Doctors and Nurses Aboard the Hamburg-American Line SS Red Cross, 1914.


The Red Cross Nurse - 1918

Emergency detachments of the Nursing Service have been found necessary because of war. The body of enrolled Red Cross nurses constitutes the Army and Navy Nurse Corps reserve.


The Red Cross Organization During The War - 1918

Woman's Bureau of the Red Cross—Its purposes and plans—A general survey—Supply service and Bureau of Standards—Knitting, hospital garments, surgical dressings, comfort kits, etc.—Home service—Volunteer aids—Work organized, and canteens established in France—Junior Red Cross—School fund—Red Cross school activities—How to organize.


Yeomen (f) Conducting Weapons Drill on the Marine Parade Ground, Puget Sound Navy Yard, circa 1918-1919.


USN First Enlisted Women: Introduction

I am honored to contribute The Navy’s First Enlisted Women: Patriotic Pioneers to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) commemoration publications for World War I.


President Woodrow Wilson Waves His Top Hat from the Deck of USS George Washington


USN First Enlisted Women: Setting the Stage - 2019

This chapter provides essential context for the history of the Navy’s first enlisted women. It highlights sharp contrasts our founding principles, democratic values, justification for war, and the treatment of women and African Americans.


Joy Bright Hancock, Photographed in February 1918 While Serving in the Office of the Naval Superintendent of Construction, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.


USN First Enlisted Women: “Women Join the Navy”

Over 11,000 women from every state, American territory, and the District of Columbia volunteered to enlist into the United States Navy to free male Sailors for combat duties.


Military and Civilian Personnel of the Supplies and Accounts Office in the Main Navy or Munitions Buildings, circa 1918.


USN First Enlisted Women: “Reporting to Work”

The Navy’s first enlisted women worked at naval commands across the United States and overseas, supported Allied operations and campaigns, and contributed directly to the Allied victory.


Female Yeoman on Submarine K5, SS-36, Gazing Through Her Binoculars circa 1918.


USN First Enlisted Women: “Changing the World, Their Lives, and the Navy”

Despite their invaluable service, yeomen (F.) had to fight for the rights and benefits they deserved. Post-war developments mirrored pre-war beliefs about military women and a lack of respect for them.


USN First Enlisted Women: Conclusion

Though enlisted primarily to provide clerical support, they excelled in munitions assembly, intelligence, cable decoding, recruitment, and other non-administrative specialties.


USN First Enlisted Women: Epilogue

The yeomen (F.) enhanced the legacy of the women who had previously supported the nation during wars, conflicts, and crises, and set an example for those who followed them.


Group of Telephone Operators from the US Signal Corps Unit at Headquarters.


US Signal Corps Unit At Headquarters - 1918

The third telephone unit of the signal corps of the United States Army is ready to start for “Some place in France.”


War Work of the Hostess House Committee - 1919

The total number of hostess houses for which the committee assumed responsibility for November 1, 1919, is 124. Of these, 17 have been for [African-American] visitors.


War Work of Young Women's Christian Association - 1918

From the beginning, the War Work Council planned to include not only American women affected by the war, but because of the pleas from France and Russia, the first budget contained an item for work in Europe.


Back Our Girls Over There United War Work Campaign Poster.


What Peace Means To The YWCA - 1918

We have whole nations to feed, entire peoples to clothe, and the most stupendous task of economic reconstruction the world has ever seen.


Women Marines in World War I in Formation.


Women Marines in World War I - 1974

When it was discovered that there was a sizable number of battle-ready Marines still doing clerical work in the United States who were urgently needed overseas, the Corps turned in desperation to the female business world.


Rear Admiral Victor Blue (Left Center) Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Inspects Yeomen (F) on the Grounds of the Washington Monument, Washington, DC, in 1918.


A Yeomenette Story From the Great War

The new enlisted women could become yeomen, electricians (radio operators), or any other ratings necessary to the naval district operations. The majority became yeomen and were designated as yeomen (f) for female yeomen.


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