Photograph of Mary I. Wood, Chairman of Women’s War Work in New Hampshire. Photo from: The Granite Monthly, a magazine of literature, “New Hampshire’s War Workers,” 1919, page 99.
If you mention the term ‘Committee of Safety‘ to a New Hampshire history researcher, they will probably think of the American Revolution, when trusted prominent men from each town were appointed to regulate and take control of local government, especially as royal officials left or were expelled.
What is little know today is that a Committee of Safety, also known as the Committee of One Hundred, was appointed by the Governor of New Hampshire, just prior to World War I. This committee’s regulating power was far less extensive than that of its predecessor, but its membership was similarly drawn from the public sector, and was entirely male (though ancillary sub-committees and auxiliary committees included some women).
The responsibility of these committees collectively was to oversee and report to the governor on: food production, recruitment, hygiene and medicine, emergencies, industry, transportation, finance, aid societies, dependent soldiers and sailors, military equipment and supplies, aviation, mobilization and concentration camps, naval, state protection, speaker’s bureau, Americanization, War Historian, Non-War Construction, and Woman’s Committee. They helped also to coordinate towns and cities within the reach of their committees. Continue reading