2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN & WORLD WAR I

The month of March has been celebrated as National Women’s History Month since 1980 when it became the flagship of the National Women’s History Project. I’ve been writing here about New Hampshire women’s history since its creation in 2006 (12 years).

Despite our accomplishments, women are still often left out of the history books.  It is time for us to be included. If each of us writes and publishes at least one story about a woman, then we help to bring our history out of the darkness and into the light.

1918 cookbook cover

My obsession in the past year or two has been to document New Hampshire’s role in World War I. My object is not to glorify or honor war, but rather to put a human face back on the list of names that we see engraved on monuments and plaques.  I also try to cover all facets of the war, for we cannot fully understand what happened until we look at both sides of the coin, and at both genders.

When we think of World War I, most of us picture the men in military uniform readying for battle. Women played as great a part in everything. Some women served as yeowomen, nurses, telephone operators and others who were often at the battlefield and subject to the same grave dangers of bombs, gas and disease.  The women left behind experienced great hardships, but also it was a door of opportunity for them as for the first time certain jobs were now available to them due to lack of “man” power.

Sketch from Nashua Telegraph 17 Sep 1917; “Home of a patriot .”


My focus this month will be on women and the roles they played in World War I, their issues when on the home front, and the struggles they endured and overcame. I will look at the challenges they faced, the leadership they demonstrated, and the fears they had to overcome.

I hope to present some interesting topics that you have not previously known about. The entire list of related posts will be in this story, as I write them with the link added once they are published.


— 2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN IN WORLD WAR I–
(published March 2018)

WWI Women’s Stories of 2018
— New Hampshire WWI Military: The Nurse Heroes of Franklin
— New Hampshire in WWI: Changes in Mourning Customs
— 100 Years Ago: The Camouflage Cookery of World War I
— New Hampshire Women and World War I ‘Food Work’
100 Years Ago: A World War I Mother’s Day
— New Hampshire WWI Nurse and First Woman Delegate to American Legion Convention: Ruth Ferris Corey of Manchester
— New Hampshire WWI Nurse: Margaret Mary Tymon of Rumney
— New Hampshire in WWI: The Phelan Sisters of Milford

Celebrations for war activities, Manchester New Hampshire Telephone girls in Victory parade. 1917-1918 National Archives.

–PAST STORIES about New Hampshire Women in World War —
(published here in 2017)

— Chief Nurse of WW1 Expeditionary Forces, Red Cross Chief Nurse Harvard Unit, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing Founder, National Association President and Pioneer of American Nursing: Nashua New Hampshire’s Carrie May Hall (1873-1963)
— Manchester New Hampshire Teacher, WW1 Red Cross Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Women’s Rights Advocate, Civic Leader, Clubwoman: Elena Mae (Crough) Lockwood (1884-1962)
–New Hampshire WWI Military: The Nurses of Base Hospital No. 6 aka “The Bordeaux Belles”z
100 Years Ago: Gold Star Women “Nurses of World War I”
— New Hampshire WWI Military: Yankee “Hello Girl” Agnes Theresa (Houley) O’Brien of Groveton
— A Gold Star Mother’s Trip to France: Mrs. Nora G. (Hamblett) Weld of Canaan NH
— 100 Years Ago: New Hampshire Gold Star Mothers  (for Mother’s Day 2017)
— New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Portsmouth (SEE #21 nurse Evelyn Violet Petrie).
— New Hampshire WWI Miitary: Yeoman Anne (Frasier) Norton of Derry, Manchester and Portsmouth NH (1893-1918)
— New Hampshire WWI Military: U.S. Army Nurse Lucy Nettie Fletcher of Concord NH (1886-1918)
— New Hampshire WWI Military: Army Nurse Corps Teresa Margaret Murphy of Concord NH (1891-1918)
— New Hampshire in WWI: Committee of One Hundred (see Mary I Wood et al)
— New Hampshire WWI Military: Phillips Exeter Academy Infirmary Nurse, Katherine Patterson Irwin (1870-1918)

(Posts on this topic from other web sites or blogs)

Story of the Female Yeomen of the First World War – Prologue from National Archives

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs: Red Cross Collection

[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I.  Look here for the entire listing].

[Editor’s Additional Note: the poster shown at the top of the page is one published originally between 1917-1919 by the American Red Cross to recruit nurses.] This post has been updated in 2018.

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12 Responses to 2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN & WORLD WAR I

  1. Thank you for taking on this important work! I look forward to the women’s history posts to come.

  2. Amy says:

    I look forward to this month’s posts. I will also try and write about some of the women I am researching. It is often a challenge since so few worked outside the home and thus had no paper trail aside from being wives and mothers. Fortunately times have changed!

    • Janice Brown says:

      Thank you Amy for being such a dedicated reader of my stories. I think that the most intriguing research I’ve done recently was on the changes in mourning customs that arose from WWI. I had wondered what sort of impact all the deaths might have on the human psyche. And yes, researching women’s genealogy and history is difficult because they were often left out of the documented details.

  3. Michael says:

    Looking forward to your posts, Janice.

  4. Janet Barter says:

    Looking soooooo forward to these new chapters. I enjoy your historic tales immensely! Thank you.

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