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CENDARI Archival Research Guide: Women During the First World War



Archival Research Guide created in the project Collaborative EuropeaN Digital ARchive Infrastructure (CENDARI). This Archival Research Guide is dedicated to different forms of women’s participation in the war effort and associationism during the First World War: these two strands include active participation of women in battles; war relief associations, peace movements and women’s employment in the war industry.
CENDARI is funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme for Research
Telephonists at the naval exchange, Ipswich.
© IWM (Q19730), Imperial War Museum
[IWM Non Commercial Licence]
1914 - 1918
World War I, Women, War Relief, Women’s As-
sociations, Suragettes, Peace Movements
Jörg Lehmann
AUTHOR(S) Francesca Morselli
Note of the Author
Participation in War Eorts
Women in the Army
Relief and Nursing
Women’s Employment during the First
World War
Pacist and Suragette Movements
Women under the harsh circumstances of
the Great War
After the War
Secondary sources
Extra material
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
This Archival Research Guide is dedicated to dierent forms of women’s participation in
the war eort and associationism during the First World War: these two strands include
active participation of women in battles; war relief associations, peace movements and
women’s employment in the war industry. Contemporary historiography has recognized
the crucial role that women played in sustaining the war eort by replacing the labour of
men who were engaged on the front. On the other hand, the role of women was crucial in
those years for a variety of reasons and occupations: in fact, their commitment to organ-
ize in soldier’s relief and peace associations represents an important part of the historiog-
raphy of the WW1. Moreover, the First World War was the rst major belligerent event in
which women could wear a military uniform: while this didn’t happen in every country, it
was probably a rst step toward the inclusion of women in sectors which once were exclu-
sively occupied by men.
The research behind this Archival Research Guide follows four main research paths: rst
of all it focuses on case studies represented by women’s battalions, single women or asso-
ciations. The second perspective analizes relief and nursing structures for soldiers on the
front; the third section studies the topic of women’s employment during the war, while
the fourth and last part analizes examples of pacist and suragette movements during
the period 1914-1918. For each case study a related archival institution and archival col-
lection is mentioned. The collections and archives represented in the present Archival Re-
search Guide have been selected according to their relevance to the selected topic; more-
over most of them can be considered as hidden primary resources as they haven’t been
incorporated previously in any national or international aggregator. Finally, relevance is
also given to the country/ region the case study and the archival resources are connected
with. This strategy allowed the creator of the ARG to consider the case studies in a com-
parative way, by highlighting cultural and political peculiarities and commonalities with
other case studies and geographic areas.
Note of the Author
The case studies reported in this Archival Research Guide portray relevant collections for
Modern and WW1 historians; they serve as an example of archival and contextual analysis
of archival collections that the CENDARI author has worked on in the last year. The selec-
tion of the case studies follows the following criteria:
The case studies should cover an evenly distributed geographic area.
The case studies highlight collections recommended by archivists (of the consulted
archives - both in person and virtually) as being of particular relevance, despite their
scarce visibility.
The case studies aim to represent a variety of characters impersonating dierent
social roles.
Whenever possible, the archivist of the consulted archive has been interviewed in
order to get a better understanding of the collection in the context of the archive’s
activity and historiographical development.
The author suggests that the researchers contributing to and adding new case studies fol-
low the recommendations stated above.
Participation in War Eorts
Women in the Army
The participation of women in the army revolutionized the traditional image of the femi-
nine gure as gentle and caring. Yet, this traditional image was not dismantled complete-
ly, as women during the war years were largely committed to relief programs directed
to the soldiers on the front. Even though this was not the rst time women took part in
an armed conict, their active participation in the army represented nonetheless a cru-
cial symbolic and cultural turn. This phenomenon advanced hand in hand with the suf-
fragette and peace movements, which demonstrated the adequacy of women in “places”
which were not considered suitable to women only a few years earlier. If women could
participate in war, then they could participate in political discussions. However, even if
this represented a huge step forward in recognizing women’s rights, their participation in
“unusual” social contexts wasn’t positively welcomed by many, especially because of the
concerns about women’s moral misconduct with soldiers.
What motivated women to volunteer to ght during the First World War? This is of course
dicult to establish with certainty, as in a way it has to do with psychological traits and
personal decisions. However one must recognize that the changed social and cultural con-
text and the new role of women in society, played a crucial role in determining the indi-
vidual choices.
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Yeomanettes and Marinettes
Apart from similarities with other countries - where women gained a special position dur-
ing the war years and to a certain extent became more active in the social and working
life - the United States of America present a unique trait: for the rst time in the nation’s
history, 13.000 women were admitted in the Navy and Marines, while a smaller number
was admitted to the Coast Guard. They were called Yeomanettes and Marinettes and
more than 230 women traveled to France as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where
they worked as telephone operators for the American Expeditionary Forces.
United States: National Archives and Records Administration > National Military
Personnel Archives
Three main archival collections:
Record Group 24, Records of Bureau of Naval Personnel;
Record Group 38, Records of the Chief of Naval Operations;
Record Group 45, Records of the Oce of Naval Library and Records.
See here some examples of recruitment posters for women.
Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit
This corps, more informally named the “Hello Girls”, was founded in 1917 to improve com-
munications on the Western Front. The operators at the switchboard had to be uent in
English and French. Many of the operators relocated to France and the United Kingdom.
“Hello Girls” wore a US uniform, they were considered civilians employed by the Army, and
only in 1979 they were recognized with the status of war veterans.
United States: National Archives Civilian Personnel Records Center
The National Personnel Records Center. Relevant collections for the research on the Signal
Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit:
Record Group Folder 111
Folder 201: Personnel Folders from the National Archives Civilian Personnel Records
Center, St. Louis, MO.
Folder 231.3 Telephone Operators (Overseas) (3rd Group); (5th Group); Telephone
Operators (Overseas) (6th Group); 231.3 (WW) Overseas Telephone Operators (7th
Group); Operators Discharged From Training Folder, 231.3 Telephone Operators;
231.3 Operators in Training At End of War Folder; all found in ; National Archives
Building, College Park, MD.
Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC)
The British military created the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in 1917 and it was
followed shortly afterwards with naval and air force auxiliaries, the WRNS and the WRAF.
The plan was for these women to serve as clerks, telephonists, waitresses, cooks, and
as instructors in the use of gas masks. By the end of the war about 100,000 women had
served in the British paramilitary and military auxiliary corps.
United Kingdom:
UK National Archives, Kew
Reference: WO 398
Title: War Oce: Women’s (later Queen Mary’s) Army Auxiliary Corps: Service Records,
First World War (Microlm Copies)
Description: Contains records of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) later renamed
to Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC), comprising service records for women
who served in the First World War and the immediate post-war period.
- Related collections in CKAN:
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
During the First World War, six thousand Russian women fought in the Russian Army. Rus-
sia wasn’t the only country to employ women on the front - indeed US women also partici-
pated actively in the conict. Nonetheless the Russian case diers from the American as
by the spring of 1917 the phenomenon of individual women joining male units had given
way to separate, all-female military formations.
Maria Bochkareva and the Women’s Battalion of Death
The Women’s Battalion of Death was founded by Maria Bochkareva in 1917 - after the
February Revolution, and after having convinced Alexan-
der Kerensky (the new leader of the Russian Provisional
Government) to form a women’s battalion. The battalion
initially consisted of 2,000 women, but it ended up with
only 250 women, due to Bochkareva’s strict rules and dis-
cipline. The battalion was employed on the border with
the Austrian Front. While leading her battalion Maria was
promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain. Maria Bochka-
reva was arrested many times by the Bolsheviks, when
she was nally granted a passport and traveled to the
United States by steamship in 1918.
Russia: Russian Military Archive
Information about Maria Bochkareva
- Fond 2277 - le 368 http://xn--90ag.xn--80adcv1b.
Information about the Women’s Battalion of Death
- Fond 2003, Title: Supreme Headquarters (rate), Mogilev; http://xn--90ag.xn--80adcv1b.
Relief and Nursing
Just a few days after the outbreak of the war, dozens of relief organizations and associa-
tions came into existence. In addition to existing volunteer organizations, small, independ-
ent forms of women’s organizations helped soldiers at the front in dierent ways. While
women of dierent social classes became somehow part of relief campaigns, it is true that
voluntary service was the main way in which middle and upper-class women contributed
to the war eort. In particular, upper-class women took a front-line role in the organiza-
tion of war relief. As an example, in the United Kingdom some aristocratic women turned
their social position and wealth toward war service: The Duchesses of Westminster and
Sutherland set up hospitals abroad, and Lady Hamilton (wife of General Sir Ian Hamilton,
Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean) coordinated specic funds and relief eorts in
support of her husbands’ troops.
American Fund for French Wounded
The organization was initially established
under the auspices of a British organi-
zation, the London Committee of the
French Emergency Fund, but became
independent in December 1915. Commit-
tees in eighty United States municipali-
ties raised funds for the organization,
which worked closely with several simi-
lar organizations, notably the American
Committee for Devastated France and
the American Red Cross . The Fund’s
mission was to provide medical assis-
tance for wounded French soldiers and
civilians, and other forms of support for
See: Report of the American Fund for French Wounded, February 1917. The Sophia Smith
American Fund for French Wounded. Paris: Herbert Clarke, [ca. 1917]. Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
United States
The New York Public Library
Collection: MssCol 73
The collection consists of correspondence, administrative records, reports, circular letters,
pamphlets, bulletins, and a few clippings and photographs. Much of the correspondence
is between Mrs. Schuyler van Rensselaer, the New York president of the AFFW, and Anna
Vail, the treasurer of the Paris Depot. Description of the collection at: http://archives.nypl.
b. 1 f. 1-1916; b. 1 f. 2 - 1917; b. 1 f. 3 - 1918; b. 1 f. 4 - 1919 (Letters and Reports)
b. 1 f. 5 - 1915-1919; b. 1 f. 6 - 1916; b. 1 f. 7 (Letters and miscellaneous items)
b. 1 f. 8 - Bulletins 1918-1919; b. 1 f. 9 - Photographs; b. 1 f. 10 - Printed items (Circu-
lar letters and reports from France)
b. 2 f. 1 - 1915; b. 2 f. 2 - 1916; b. 2 f. 3 - 1917; b. 2 f. 4 - 1918; b. 2 f. 5
Weekly Bulletin 1918-1919 (incomplete)
b. 2 f. 6 - American Committee for Devastated France. Bulletins 1918-1919;
b. 2 f. 7 - French Wounded Emergency Fund. Reports 1915-1916;
b. 2 f. 8 - National Surgical Dressings Committee 1914-1918;
b. 2 f. 9 - Organizational Papers, Miscellaneous 1916-1918;
b. 2 f. 10 - Printed items
Faradisation in the Red Cross Hospital in Villach,
Image by Europeana 1914-1918 [Public Domain]
Maria Bochkareva, the Battalion of
Death. Library of Congress digital ID
ggbain 26862
[No known restrictions on publication]
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Related Collections :
YMCA: Young Men’s Christian Association
The role of women in the YMCA during the First World War was mostly in the form of ex-
tensive volunteer work. There are a few cases in which professional women, such as doc-
tors and professors, were paid for their time in service to the YMCA. Women served both
locally in their communities in the United States and abroad in places such as the United
Kingdom and France. Volunteer service was completed in YMCA huts. Because of the var-
ied locations and services, huts took on dierent forms. Some huts were located in major
cities and served a vast population of Allies while others were based on the front lines.
The following project “Women YMCA during the WW1” has been created by the University
of Minnesota. It analyses the data referring to 150 American women volunteering during
the First World War in the context of the YMCA war relief. The page “data” describes in a
table each prole, considering background information such as spoken language, religion,
marital status, occupation and station. The data are available in a visualization on a map
as well. Unfortunately, it is not stated where the information and the archival records re-
ported in this project are held.
See: The Map of WWI YMCA Workers shows the point of origin of 280 women who served
with the YMCA during the First World War.
Link to related collections :
United States: Women’s Historic Archive at Smith College
Billings, Florence, 1879-1959: She became a Hospital Aid and Red Cross relief worker in
France, 1914-19, and received the Croix de Guerre in 1917 for her work near the front
lines. From 1919 to 1923 she worked with the Near East Relief to assist Armenian refugees
who had survived the massacres and deportations by the Turkish government during the
Bannon, Charlotte, 1874-1961: During the First World War she worked in the personnel
oce of the American Red Cross Department of Civilian Relief in Paris, assuming respon-
sibility for newly arrived Red Cross workers. She had frequent contact with friends from
home, including members of the Smith College Relief Unit stationed at Grécourt and other
parts of France. These letters provide a very detailed picture of a three-year period of her
Bodman and Dunham Family Papers: The collection contains documents of World War I
medical and volunteer work. Theodora Dunham Bodman worked in France for the Ameri-
can Fund for French Wounded, and her mother Mary Dows Dunham did volunteer work on
the home front. Detailed correspondence, memorabilia, photographs. There is also inter-
esting correspondence to Mary from a nurse on the front in France.
Cotton, Bessie Boies, 1880-1959: She was a YWCA overseas ocial. When the war broke
out in Russia in 1918, it led to the evacuation of Americans from Bolshevik-controlled Rus-
sia and Boies made her way north through Stockholm to northern Russia where she set
up box-car canteens for U.S. troops. The collection includes diaries, correspondence and
YWCA reports.
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Sita Meyer Camperio
Sita Meyer Camperio was born in 1877 in Milan. She was a pioneer of the volunteer nurses
group and she attended the First Congress of Italian Women, which took place in Rome in
1908. In the same year she founded the rst ambulance-school for nurses for the Italian
Red Cross. In 1912 she founded a hospital-school named “Principessa Jolanda”. During the
First World War she volunteered at the front and received many rewards, amongst them
the medal for gallantry and the Florence Nightingale medal by the Italian Red Cross.
Italy - Biblioteca Civica of the Municipality of Villasanta (province of Monza and
The “Complesso Archivistico Sita Camperio” is divided in four parts:
“Writings”: a small school notebook and two manuscripts related to her biography
and the foundation of the rst ambulance-schools for nurses of the Italian Red
“Letters”: The 22 letters are addressed to Sita Camperio between 1910 and 1957
from, amongst others, Guglielmo Marconi, Ada Negri, Umberto II, the bishop of
Chiavari Francesco Marchesani and some State and Military ocials.
“Album and Publications”: paper clips and a series of publications related to the
activities and the life of Sita Camperio, especially in the context of the Italian Red
“Personal Documents”: personal documents of Sita Camperio, divided into “Bap-
tism”, “Authorizations and permits”, “Degree Certicates”, “Decorations and medals”
and “Personal cards”.
- Biblioteca Civica “Aldo Moro” - Comune di Villasanta
Collection - Sita Camperio (1877 - 1967)
Elsa Brändström
Elsa Brändström was a Swedish nurse, whose father worked at the Swedish embassy in
Tsarist Russia. When the war broke out, Brändström applied for a position as a nurse in
the Russian Army. Brändström’s activities focussed in the Siberian region, helping German
and Austrian POWs, which were living in very poor conditions. Elsa was known among the
soldiers as the “Angel of Siberia”, because of her angelic look and the support she could
bring in such desperate living conditions.
Collection - Elsa-Brändström Memorial Archives: prisoners of war from 1867 to present
Elsa Brändström handed the documents of the prisoners of war to the Army Archives in
Potsdam but the archive was destroyed during a bombing raid in April 1945. In honor of
Elsa Brändström, a collection on the history of prisoners of war from 1867 was set up on
the occasion of her 85th birthday on March 26, 1973: the collections is entitled “Elsa Bränd-
ström memorial archives. - See more at:
Ottoman Empire
In 1914 a new law redened the rules about men’s conscription: according to the new
legislation, even men who were the only economic resource of the family were obliged
to sustain the Empire’s war eort. This meant that the situation for families with women,
old people and children got much worse than in previous wars. However, families in such
conditions were given a “separation allowance”, which was suspended in case the soldier
deserted the troops. The separation allowance became a tool for the Government to gain
major control on the recipient’s behavior. Women’s allowances were indeed cut o in case
they behaved immorally and improperly. On the other hand, women became quite used
to dealing with the management of resources and often were the rst contact points with
governmental agencies.
See: Ladies’ Aid Society for Soldiers’ Families. Servet-i Fünun, 10 June 1915
Asker Ailelerine Yardımcı Hanımlar Cemiyeti - Ladies’ Aid Society for Sol-
diers’ Families
This women’s association was founded by the wives and daughters of prominent German
and Ottoman men on the initiative of the daughter of Field Marshal Liman von Sanders in
1914. Their duty was to support the soldier’s families in any way. They organized concerts
and theatre pieces in order to raise money for the families; they conducted campaigns to
collect clothes, dry food and sanitary materials.
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Osmanlı Hilal-i Ahmer Cemiyeti Hanımlar Merkezi - Women’s Branch of the
Ottoman Red Crescent
- the women’s branch of the Red Crescent began to train Turkish nurses
- It was calling on women to actually join the ranks.
Turkey: Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi (BOA)
--> Collections:
The Ministry of Internal Aairs - Dâhiliye Nezâreti, Kalem-i Mahsûs Müdüriyeti (DH.
The Ministry of Internal Aairs - Dâhiliye Nezâreti - Muhaberât-i Umûmiye İdâresi
The Ministry of Internal Aairs - Dâhiliye Nezâreti – İdâre-i Umûmiye (DH.İUM)
Dosya Usûlü İrâdeler Tasnî (DUİT)
Foreign Ministry - Hâriciye Nezâreti, Siyâsî Kısım (HR.SYS)
Nişân Defterleri
Şurâ-yı Devlet / Selânik
Türk Kızılayı Arşivi - Turkish Red Crescent Society Archives and Library
The Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay, formerly Hilâl-i Ahmer)
Women’s Employment during the First World War
A common myth says that women’s employment during the First World War rose to un-
precedented heights, and that the war thus caused profound consequence for female
employment. As the German and the French examples show, this myth cannot be sub-
stantiated in its generalization, since it overdraws the development in the war industry.
As can be seen from the German case, it is true that the number of women employed in
German enterprises rose from 1,592,138 in 1913 to 2,319,674 in 1918. It is also true that
the number of women participating in the German social insurance showed an increase by
17 percent between 1914 and 1918. But this increase simply lies within the main trend of
a slightly attening growth rate of female participation in social insurance within the 20th
century. One could formulate it the other way round: It is astonishing that the First World
War did not show considerable eects on the quantitative development of female employ-
ment in Germany. A structural change and a signicant impact beyond the First World War
cannot be observed.
The myth of the rise of women’s employment obviously came into being because the
examples taken from the war industry have been generalized. For example, the number
of German women employed in the metal industry rose from 63,570 before the war to
266,530 in September 1916 – an increase of 319%! But female workers simply changed
from textile, leather and rubber industry to the sectors of war industry, and all the ef-
forts of the German government and administration to mobilize female workers in order
to diminish the labor shortage and to raise female employment during the First World
War failed to live up to expectations. At the beginning of the war, nothing had been un-
dertaken from the side of German government and administration, since everybody ex-
pected a short war. It was only in 1916 when the structure of the administration changed,
a Kriegsamt was established and a Hilfsdienstgesetz (law for the promotion of emergency
services) was passed. Two women who were already well known within the German wom-
en’s movement – Marie-Elisabeth Lüders and Agnes von Harnack became responsible for
the establishment of the Frauenarbeitszentrale (head oce for women’s work) within the
Kriegsamt, with the provisioning of women’s labor as their most important task. Neverthe-
less, a massive disproportion between eort and results has to be noted. Entrepreneurs
preferred, wherever possible, to employ war prisoners and foreigners coming from the
occupied territories, and women preferred not to work in the war industry if they had to
take care of children or other relatives, or if other possibilities for income were available,
as home-work, domestic servicing or nancial support by the state if the husbands served
at the front. The shift from textile and other industries to war industry can be explained
by the higher wages paid over there. Generally, the women at which the mobilization ef-
forts were targeted, could not easily uctuate, since they already had their workplace in
the family.
Employment of women within the military was also discussed in Germany, but it did not
come into operation. In June 1918, a female communications corps was established, which
was conceived of as a military service. It was only the armistice in November 1918 which
prevented the mission. Thus the female communications remained a draft of the rst or-
ganized deployment of women within the German armed forces.
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Abteilung IV Kriegsarchiv München
Fonds Kriegsministerium 14197 bis 14202 - Arbeiterbeschaung Bund I bis VI
Fonds Kriegsministerium 17309 bis 17312 - Vaterländischer Hilfsdienst
Fonds Stellvertretendes Generalkommando I. Armeekorps (WK) 882 - Vaterländis-
cher Hilfsdienst
Bundesarchiv – Militärarchiv
Fonds N 46 - Groener, Wilhelm
Fonds N 432 - Selasen-Selasinsky, Eberhard von
Item R 1501/112432 - Weibliches Nachrichtenkorps
Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Fonds I. HA Rep. 89, Nr. 15613 - Vaterländischer Frauenverein und seine Zweigver-
eine, Bd. 5
Fonds I. HA Rep. 89, Nr. 15608 - Preußischer Frauen- und Jungfrauen-Verein, Bd. 2
Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart
Collection M 1/9 - Kriegsministerium: Abteilung für Waen und Feldgerät
Item M 1/4 Bü 1487 - Weibliches Nachrichtenkorps
Item M 1/4 Bü 1272 und 1273 - Kriegsamt
Comparable to the German case is the French example. According to the population cen-
sus, the number of employed women fell slightly from 7,217,000 in 1911 to 7,213,000 in
1921. In the French case, one has to take into account that numbers for the social insur-
ance are not available (as with the Germans), and that studies on the extent and percent-
age of female work force in French factories are rare. Though sources are rare, the same
shift of female workers as in Germany from textile industry or domestic sta to metallur-
gy, metal and chemical industry can be noted. Female manual labor was the last resource
in the factories, after the employment of male workers or workforce imported from
abroad or the colonies. In the Ministère de l’Armement under the aegis of Albert Thomas,
a “Comité du travail féminin” was established in 1916 in order to recruit women for work
and to improve the working conditions for female workers. The First World War did thus
not provide in France for a beginning or a major transformation for women employment.
Though the gure of the “Munitionnette” became emblematic for the patriotic commit-
ment of women, the gain was only of symbolic nature. Even women’s surage was intro-
duced only in 1945, with the beginning of the French Fourth Republic, whereas women
received the right to vote in Germany in 1918.
It is remarkable that an auxiliary military service was pursued by French women them-
selves. In 1916, an “Oce central de l’activité féminine” and an “Association pour
l’enrôlement volontaire des Françaises au service de la patrie” came into being as private
organisations under the auspices of the Ministère de Guerre, both of which formed the
“Entente nationale des œuvres de recrutement féminin”. Famous individuals like Margue-
rite Durand, writer Mme Jack de Bussy, Mme Léon Rosenthal, Mme Boutroux and Mme
Borel took the initiative for or committed themselves for these associations. Though
70,000 women enrolled with these organisations, a female armed force never came into
being in France; the main task of these bodies was to provide personnel for hospitals or
the administration.
Archives nationales
94 AP Fonds Albert Thomas
F7 Police générale
F22 Travail et sécurité sociale
Archives de la préfecture de police
Cabinet du préfet de police
Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine (BDIC)
Fonds Gabrielle Duchêne
Association pour l’enrôlement volontaire des Françaises au service de la patrie
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
Pacist and Suragette Movements
On the one hand, surage movements started before the First World War and in some
countries (such as Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Australia) women could vote from
the beginning on the twentieth century. In other countries (The Netherlands, Sweden,
Iceland and Denmark) the actions of the suragettes was combined with a new vision of
women in society. This facilitated the passing of the legislation that allowed women to
participate actively in political life during or just after the First World War. Pacists and
Suragettes were to be found in all classes, even though working-class women would
often combine feminism and trade-unionism. Suragettes recognized the opportunity
to claim their full citizenship and to emphasize women’s aid to the nation during war.
They claimed their citizenship by casting themselves as active and not passive members
of the nation and their relief activities as proof of their “patriotism and their tness for
Mary Ankeny Hunter
Upon her marriage, Hunter joined the Polk County Woman Surage Society in the Ameri-
can state of Iowa, later the Political Equality Club, and remained a member until the or-
ganization disbanded in 1919. Hunter was also a member of the Des Moines Women’s
Club, the Des Moines Federation of Women’s Clubs, the PEO, the Iowa League of Women
Voters, the Votes for Women League and the Polk County League of Women Voters. Begin-
ning in 1922, Hunter served as the secretary of the Iowa Surage Memorial Commission
for six years, followed by a year as vice president, and then six years as president. In addi-
tion to working for the enfranchisement of women for many years, Hunter was a prohibi-
tionist, worked for the Red Cross during World War I, and was an activist for world peace.
Unites States: Iowa Women’s Archives
Collection Number: IWA0097
Collection Description: The Mary Ankeny Hunter autobiographical sketch dates from 1940
and is three pages in length. In it, Hunter describes her life and activities up to 1940. The
paper, entitled “The Iowa Surage Memorial Commission,” was originally written to be
included in the memorial cabinet donated to the State of Iowa by the Iowa Surage Me-
morial Commission in 1937.
Carrie Chapman Catt and the National American Woman Surage Associa-
tion (NAWSA)
Throughout her life, Catt worked tirelessly for pacism, disarmament, and the peaceful
settlement of international disputes, most notably by attempting to create a common
international program of peace.
Unites States: Women’s History Archives at Smith College
Series 1 = Biographical Material
- Clippings - Peace Activism 1918 - 1945 (Box 1 - Folder 4)
- Women’s surage 1915 - 1934 (Box 1 - Folder 5)
Series 2 = Correspondence (1892 - 1947)
Series 3 = Writings
- Speeches “The Cause and Cure of War” 1921-39 (Box 3 - Folder 5, 6 )
- Speeches - NAWSA 1902 - 1959 (Box 3 - Folder 9)
- Speeches - International Woman Surage Alliance 1908 - 23 (Box 3 - Folder 10)
Series 4 = Subject Files
- Notes: Women’s Land Army: photographs 1917 -1918 (Box 4 - Folder 8-9)
- Notes: 1914-1920 (Box 4, Folder 3)
Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College
Collection - Carrie Chapman Catt Papers
Netherlands Women’s Peace Association (ANVV)
It was founded on December 27, 1914 by Elisabeth M. van Wijngaarden and was open to
women of all religions and backgrounds. The aim was to promote peace between people
through publications, meetings and demonstrations. The ANVV worked from 1925 on-
wards closely with the International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom (ICFTU).
The Netherlands
Atria. Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History (Atria. Kennisinstituut voor
emancipatie en vrouwengeschiedenis)
Fonds - Archief Algemeene Nederlandsche Vrouwen Vredebond (ANVV)
Archive n. 1 to 16 entitled: “Boek A vanaf September 1914 tot October 1917. Geschenk aan
het Vredespaleis. Archief van de Alg. Ned. Vrouwen Vredebond door de Oprichtster mej.
E.M. van Wijngaarden”.
Documents concerning the establishment of the Association, documents and minutes of
outgoing documents E.M. van Wijngaarden, statutes and regulations, list of the depart-
ment, documents relating to propaganda, report of the rst general meeting April 5, 1916;
clippings. 1914-1917. 16 folders
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen in the First World War
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) developed from the
International Women’s Congress against World War I that took place in The Hague, Neth-
erlands in 1915. 1,200 women from 12 countries gathered in The Hague in 1915. They drew
up 20 proposals for stopping the war by a negotiated peace - and took these personally to
world leaders.
The Women’s League for Peace and Freedom still exists and continues its activities. In
2015 the League celebrates its 100 years of activities and on the occasion of its Cente-
nary’s celebrations an interactive timeline reporting the main activities and achievements
has been realized:
In the history of WILPF, two activists were honored with a Nobel Prize. In 1931, Jane
Addams, WILPF’s International President was awarded the prestigious prize for her peace-
keeping eorts. Shortly after, in 1946, WILPF’s rst International Secretary, Emily Greene
Balch, was also presented with the award – an obvious acknowledgement of WILPF’s suc-
cess in its endeavours.
United States
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Collection ID: DG 043
258 linear feet (approx.) of manuscript material
Repository: The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the ocial repository for
these records.
Box 2 (not on microlm) - available on site
Memos from women at the International Congress of Women (The Hague, April 28 -
May 01, 1915) re: proposed conference of neutral nations
“The Prayer of the Nations” by Julia Grace Wales (in 4 languages)
Maison Internationale, Geneva, Switzerland: 1919-1939 guest-book (photocopy); 3
postcards with images of building
Pamphlet “A new peace: report of the International Conference of Women at the
Hague, 7 to 9 December 1922” [catalogued]
“Economic Aspects of a New International Order,” addresses by Marguerite Dumont
and Emily Greene Balch at the 1924 International Congress
Visit to Philadelphia by 25 foreign delegates (to 1924 International Congress); list of
U.S. delegates (to 1924 International Congress?)
Jane Addams’ note to Walter Page (04/25/1915), and hand-written note (1925)
Alice Thatcher Post passports (1925, 1929); ship passenger lists (1915, 1919); writings
[see also 1915 International Congress of Women at the Hague for Post’s working
copies of documents]
Delegate tickets of Mildred Scott Olmsted to 1929 and 1937 International Congress-
es; invitation received during 1970-1971 International Congress
Delegate ticket of Hannah Clothier Hull to 1932 International Congress
Constitution/Bylaws/Rules of Order for WILPF, as amended at 1934 International
Delegate ticket of Ellen Starr Brinton to 1937 International Congress
Catherine Marshall (United Kingdom)
Catherine Marshall was born in 1880 as the daughter of Frank Marshall, housemaster at
Harrow, and Caroline Colbeck, the sister of a colleague. Catherine played an important
part in building up the surage movement in the Lake District between 1907 and 1909
and was then active at a national level as Parliamentary Secretary of the National Union
of Women’s Surage Societies (NUWSS). As secretary of the Election Fighting Fund she
played a key role in helping to sustain the alliance between the Labour Party and the NU-
WSS after 1912. During the First World War she resigned from the executive of the NUWSS
because of her support for the peace movement. After 1917 she suered from periods of
ill health but remained active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
(WILPF). She died in 1961.
United Kingdom: The National Archives. Carlisle Archive Centre
Collection Title: Miss Catherine E. Marshall, suragist and pacist of Hawse End, Keswick
Collection ID: D/Mar
Description: This collection includes records of the Marshall and Colbeck families together
with records relating to the women’s surage; pacist, internationalist and political activi-
ties of Catherine Marshall.
Collection Timespan: 1868-1956
D MAR 3/1 - 8 Records relating to women’s surage in Cumberland, Westmorland
and North-West England 1908 - 1917
D MAR 3/9 - 52 Records relating to work for the National Union of Women’s Surage
Societies (N.U.W.S.S.) as a member of the Executive Committee and Parliamentary
Secretary 1909 - 1918
D MAR 3/53 - 58 Records relating to work for the N.U.W.S.S. as chairman of the Elec-
tion Fighting Fund (E.F.F.) Committee 1912 - 1916
D MAR 3/59 - 65 Records relating to work for the N.U.W.S.S. on other Committees
1912 - 1917
D MAR 3/66 - 67 N.U.W.S.S. publications 1905 - 1917
D MAR 3/68 - 74 Records relating to other surage organisations 1911 - 1919
D MAR 4/1 - 33 Records mainly relating to the activities of the No Conscription Fel-
lowship (N.C.F.) 1915 - 1921, Not dated
D MAR 4/34 - 40 Subject les mainly relating to the N.C.F. 1914 - 1919, Not dated
D MAR 4/41 - 75 Personal and case les of N.C.F. gures (including Bertrand Russell
and Cliord Allen) and other conscientious objectors 1916 - 1920, Not dated
D MAR 4/4 76 - 88 The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
1915 - 1941
D MAR 4/89 - 91 The International Information Bureau 1916 - 1917
D MAR 4/92 - 95 The National Council Against Conscription (N.C.A.C.) which became
the National Council for Civil Liberties (N.C.C.L.) 1916 - 1918
D MAR 4/96 - 102 Others 1915 - 1956
CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
D MAR 5/1 - 5 The Labour Party 1918 - 1942
D MAR 5/6 The Independent Labour Party 1912 - 1926
Women under the harsh circumstances of the Great War
Despite the growing public image of women as heroic, somehow masculine but at the
same time bringing relief to the wounded soldiers, we can not forget that they were none-
theless victims of the Great War: sexual abuses, prostitution, pogroms, problem of widows
and personal trauma can therefore not be absent from the historiography of the First
World War.
This theme will not be examined here, but we highly welcome interested historians to
research and expand on this topic in this Archival Research Guide.
See also: Archival Research Guide on “Prisoners of War and their return home
After the War
Polish Grey Samaritans
The Polish Grey Samaritans was a group of young American volunteers of Polish descent
founded by Laura Blackwell and Godzawa Turzynowicz, who organized relief actions for
Poland’s recovery on an economic and social level after the disastrous eects of the First
World War. Their relief actions took place in the years just following the First World War,
from 1919 and 1922.
Before leaving to Poland, probation courses were organized in order to train the volun-
teers; these courses were open to all Polish-Americans over the age of 16. Some of the
grey samaritans went to help Polish wounded in refugee camps, while others dedicated
themselves to children’s hospitals.
For distribution purposes, Poland was divided into 15 districts in which the samaritans
were assigned. The grey samaritans with American passports were assigned to the east-
ern part of Poland, while the ones without American passports were assigned to the west-
ern districts.
United States - Hoover Institution Archives
Collection Title: Polish Grey Samaritans records
Dates: 1918-1965
Creator: Polish Grey Samaritans.
Collection Size: 3 manuscript boxes (1.2 linear feet)
Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Memoirs, reports, correspondence, printed matter, photographs, and memo-
rabilia, relating to relief activities carried out in Poland at the end of World War I, and to
conditions in Poland at that time. Includes memoirs by Martha Gedgowd and Amy Pryor
Tapping, members of the Polish Grey Samaritans. Physical Location: Hoover Institution
--> Detailed description of the collection available at
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FirstWorldWar. Journal of Women’s History, Volume 26, Number 3, Fall 2014, pp. 12-
35. Author: Yiğit Akın
Jean Ebbert and Marie-Beth Hall, TheFirst,TheFew,TheForgotten:NavyandMarine
CorpsWomeninWorldWarI, Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2002.
Henry P. Davison, TheAmericanRedCrossintheGreatWar, New York: Macmillan,
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Glassford, Sarah, “Women’s Mobilisation for War (Canada)”
Bette, Peggy “Women’s Mobilization for War (France)”
14 - 18 Online Encyclopedia: Bartoloni, Stefania “Women’s Mobiliza-
tion for War (Italy)” -
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tion for War (Portugal)” -
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War (Australia)” -
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(Great Britain and Ireland)” -
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CENDARI Archival Research GuideWomen during the First World War
On women’s employement during the First World War (Germany):
Bäumer, Gertrud. LebenswegdurcheineZeitenwende. Tübingen: Wunderlich, 1933.
Bäumer, Gertrud.HeimatchronikwährenddesWeltkrieges. Berlin 1930.
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Lange, Helene. DieFrauenbewegunginihrengegenwärtigenProblemen, Leipzig 1924.
Lorenz, Charlotte. „Die gewerbliche Frauenarbeit während des Krieges.“ In: DerKrieg
unddieArbeitsverhältnisse, Stuttgart / Berlin / Leipzig / New Haven: Deutsche Ver-
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Wrisberg, Ernst von. HeerundHeimat1914-1918.ErinnerungenandieKriegsjahreim
KöniglichPreußischenKriegsministerium, Bd.2. Leipzig: Koehler, 1921.
On women’s employement during the First World War (France)
Abensour, Leon. Lesvaillantes:Héroines,martyresetremplaçantes. Paris, Librai-
rie Chapelot 1917, pp.32-34. Available online at:
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», dépouillée et classée par Mme Émile Borel, Mlle de Montmort, Ctesse Bertrand
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tionetutilisiationdelamain-d’œuvreféminine(1919) (BN 8- F- 26748 et MICROFICHE
M- 9381)
Le Bulletin du ministère du Travail, 1914-1918
Le Bulletin des usines de guerre, 1916-1918, available online : http://gallica.bnf.
fr/ark:/12148/cb32726781g/date [see f.ex. Dr. Bonnaire, “Le travail féminin dans
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Frois, Marcel. LaSantéetletravaildesfemmespendantlaguerre, Paris 1926.
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heading “Quinze jours comme ouvrière de la Défense nationale.” Written by a “neu-
tral” journalist
Rageot, Gaston. LaFrançaisedanslaguerre. Paris: Petite Bibliothèque de la guerre,
Rosmer, A. LeMouvementouvrierpendantlaguerre, vol. 1. Paris, 1936. Oualid, Wil-
liam, and Picquenard, Charles. Salaires et tarifs, conventions collectives et grèves,
Paris: PUF / New Haven: Hale University Press 1928.
• LaVoixdesfemmes: articles published on 28 November and 5, 12, and 17 December
1917 and on 2 January 1918 under the heading “La femme à l’usine”, by Marcelle
Extra material
The US National Archives on the Yeomanettes
On the “Hello Girls
On the “Hello Girls” (II)
Cooperation between the American Fund for French Wounded and the American
Red Cross
Women’s Voices From Around the World, Swarthmore College Peace Collection
On the Ottoman Red Crescent
On Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Ph. D Thesis, Paris, 1923. Includes bibliographical references (p. [302]-310). Microfilm.
The First, The Few, The Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I
  • Jean Ebbert
  • Marie-Beth Hall
• Jean Ebbert and Marie-Beth Hall, The First, The Few, The Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I, Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2002.
Yashka: My Life As Peasant, Exile, and Soldier
  • Maria Bochkareva
• Maria Bochkareva, Yashka: My Life As Peasant, Exile, and Soldier, New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1919.
Mouvement ouvrier pendant la guerre
  • A Rosmer
  • Le
• Rosmer, A. Le Mouvement ouvrier pendant la guerre, vol. 1. Paris, 1936. Oualid, William, and Picquenard, Charles. Salaires et tarifs, conventions collectives et grèves, Paris: PUF / New Haven: Hale University Press 1928.
under the heading "La femme à l'usine
  • La Voix
  • Femmes
• La Voix des femmes: articles published on 28 November and 5, 12, and 17 December 1917 and on 2 January 1918 under the heading "La femme à l'usine", by Marcelle Capy.