Category: women

                         ‘This summer we had a crop of what we called
“Armistice babies’

‘How I wish you could see the way in which my little ones
are gaining in weight as a result of what I am doing for them. My records comprise
today 75 babies, 178 children from two to six, and 534 school children. A
number of these, a large number, have goats and chickens and rabbits or are
being supplies regulary with Powdered or Malted milk
or condensed milk and cocoa, or other portable supplies, and their mothers follow
with eagerness the gains in their weights, comparing them with the standard
weights on the big card and praying for the day when their child’s weight will
reach that standard.

I have worried over a three weeks old baby: he was given
everything needed in the way of nursing bottles and
nipples, and the simplest formula but it just
doesn’t thrive. At three months he weighs less than eight pounds. And a
charming baby too. So I just asked the mother to give him to me to take him to
the hospital at Blérancourt and let them keep him until he was older and

The baby is now in the care of an English nurse, and thriving
because everything is regular and roomy and quiet and rightly done. So he is
going to live.

None of my seventy odd babies has
died this summer.’

Late summer 1919, Mary Breckinridge, American nurse & midwife in Blérancourt, France.
“She traveled to rural France after WW1 to work for the American Committee for
Devastated France
. Caring for infants, children, and mothers on the brink
of starvation and poverty in the wake of destruction and occupation,
Breckinridge began to practice the public health outreach that she would
eventually implement as the first of its kind in the United States” – Letters from Devastation: Mary Breckinridge in
the Aisne, 1919
– Photos: Mary Breckinridge, nurses, and physicians,
of the American Committee, at work, in and around, Blérancourt, France – Ministère de la Culture, France

‘And so we laughed our way through those years’

‘Certainly the conditions were challenging
in France, but “did we care? Not a bit! We
were young, we kept falling in and out of love, we had got our fingers into the
War pie … And so we laughed our way through those years. We laughed at one another, we laughed at our
cars, we laughed at our passengers, and most important of all, we laughed at

Remembering WW1, being young and in the
thick of things, Rose Isabella Leared, member of the WAACFighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World
War in Britain
– Photo: WW1, WAAC ladies – More photos of these amazing ladies here & here


saved the day in war”

‘They were
truly yeomen and did yeoman service. In the Marine Corps they were
equally efficient, and were known as “Marinettes” or “Lady Marines”.

These women yeomen, enlisting as reservists, served as
translators, stenographers, clerks, typists, on recruiting duty, and with
hospital units in France. Too much could not be said of their efficiency,
loyalty and patriotism.

They were the only women serving during the war who were on
the same footing as men
with all allowances and pay and clothing outfits, and
the only women eligible to membership in the American Legion.

Their uniforms were natty and
beautiful – as a designer of woman’s uniforms the Navy Department scored a distinct success, for these uniforms were copied by women
all over the country.

The last drill of the Marinettes
was held on July 31, 1919, upon their demobilization. They saved the day in
and the Navy regretted the legislation which compelled the disbanding. I
do not know how the great work could have been carried on without them.’

Our Navy
at War
– Photos:  July 31,

Yoeman & Marinettes mustering out – see more photos @Library of Congress

              “But all
those I had seen at the front, dusty, dirty, mud-encrusted, blood-stained”

‘On the 14th of
July 1919 I stood on the high balcony of a friend’s house in the Champs
Elysees, and saw the Allied Armies ride under the Arch of Triumph, and down the
avenue to the misty distance of the Place de la Concorde and its obelisk of

As I stood
there, high over the surging crowds and the great procession, the midsummer sun
blinding my eyes, and the significance of that incredible spectacle dazzling my
heart, I remembered what Bergson had once said of my inability to memorize
great poetry: “You’re dazzled by it.”

Yes, I
thought; I will not remember all this except as a golden blur of emotion. Even
now I can’t catch the details, I can’t separate the massed flags, or
distinguish the famous generals as they ride by, or the names of the regiments
as they pass. I remember thankfully that a grand mutilé for whom I have secured
a wheeled chair must have received it just in time to join his group in the
Place de la Concorde . . .

The rest is all a glory of shooting
sun-rays reflected from shining arms and helmets, from the flanks of glossy chargers,
the dark glitter of machine-guns and tanks. But all
those I had seen at the front, dusty, dirty, mud-encrusted, blood-stained,
spent and struggling on; when I try to remember, the two visions merge into
one, and my heart is broken with them.’

, American novelist, short story writer,
playwright, and designer.
Throughout the war she worked tirelessly in charitable efforts for refugees, the
injured, the unemployed, and the displaced – A Backward
– Photo: watching the
July 14th 1919 parade from a balcony on the Champs Elysees – @

                                                       “The Frenchy
in the short skirt’

‘She swore, had
lovers by the score and played tennis incomparably.

She was athletic and graceful, a relentless competitor
who won the Wimbledon Ladies Singles and Doubles Championships five straight
years and six of seven years (1919-1923, 1924). . Her
arrival on court was a theatrical and provocative production; she donned fur
, was the first female player to eliminate bulky undergarments, wore her
black hair in a short bobbed style, painted her nails and wore bright red
lipstick.  Her silk tennis dresses were trimmed above her calf – a big
taboo for women’s players at the time – and her sleeves were cut short too,
displaying bare arms, another no-no on court. Lenglen fancied sucking on sugar
cubes soaked in brandy or cognac between sets and often brought a flask with
her for sipping those libations in between sets. She was glamorous, dramatic,
unpredictable, prone to inexplicable mood swings, and through it all, a rare
and fascinating champion.’

Note: The 1919
Wimbledon championship was the first Grand Slam tennis event of 1919 and
the first Wimbledon championship after a four-year hiatus due to World War I.

Suzanne Lenglen, International
Tennis Hall of Fame

Wimbledon’s First Fashion Scandal (1919)

Photo: Suzanne Lenglen jumping to hit a tennis ball

                                                               EQUAL PAY

June 1919 – ‘There were 13,643 women in these 117 New York state
industrial plants who had replaced men directly during the war. Since the
armistice 6,771 have been laid off, but, of these, less than a third for any
fault of their own. Only 3.9 per cent were actually turned out to give
work to soldiers or sailors. Why? Because women have snatched men’s jobs and
refused to give them up? Oh no. Just because manufacturers
can make money faster when they get a better grade of work done for less

People should take this into consideration when they talk
about the difficulty of giving soldiers back their jobs
. Until we establish the
principle of equal pay for equal work, there is sure to be a certain kind of
employer who will underpay his women and refuse to hire men for the same jobs.
In justice to the woman who does the work and in justice to the soldier who
wants his old job back, equal pay is the only solution of an embarrassing

June 1919, “The Woman Citizen”

FOR EQUAL WORK AND ALL-LABOR LEGISLATION.” – Before WW1, American Suffragettes
already asking for equal pay.

                                “On the shell-torn
fields of this region. cows are again grazing”

“Our first American cows are arriving this
week: of course it was rather a sorrow when we heard that of the hundred cows
that had been promised only two bulls and two cows had gotten off by this ship.
However we have made arrangements with the André Tardieu Mission who do
everything they can for us, to send us a whole wagon out of this ship full, and
we will give them ours in exchange when they arrive. It will be a busy week for
livestock for we are also receiving a wagon of one thousand rabbits and two
hundred chickens. …”

France, American philanthropist Anne Morgan’s letter home – Anne Morgan’s War:
Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917–1924 –

1918 1919, France, cows gifting to French farmers by Anne Morgan’s American
Committee for Devastated France
– Ministere de la Culture, France

                                                           A big slice of fun

July 4th 1919, “the greatest Fourth” – The zest, vigor and pure
delight shown in the events of the national
holiday, the “into the game” spirit displayed, not only reflect a feeling of release from the cares of war,
but foreshadow the manner in which the tasks of peace
are being assumed in America. So significant of a
deep sense of freedom and hearty goodwill were the
celebrations that it’s been called “the greatest Fourth since

There was a new
note everywhere and the festivities of “the
greatest Fourth” permeated every part of camp and hospital. Outdoors, in convalescent houses,
in the wards of the bed-ridden, and from kitchen to
officers’ club, everybody got a big slice of unadulterated

Article on July 4th 1919The Red Cross bulletin, Volume 3, 1919

July 4th 1919, American Red Cross Nurses having great fun competing
in a 50 yd dash
– More photos of that awesome day @ Library of Congress

“Place de la Concorde,
Paris, Saturday June 28 – about to start for Versailles to see Peace signing”

June 28 1919, Paris, Miss Faith H. Dodge, journalist accredited to
the USA Army in France, en route to Versailles, in a car put at her disposal by
the U.S. Army – The National WW1 Museum & Memorial

Note: great National Archives YouTube: The Signing of
the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919

                                     Tidying up the Palace for the Big Day

June 1919, French ladies flattening the rugs in the
Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles, where the Treaty of Peace will be signed June 28 1919 © Albert Harlingue/Roger-Viollet,