The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers (pb) [Cobbs]
In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France at General Pershing’s explicit request. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. While suffragettes picketed the White House and President Wilson struggled to persuade a segregationist Congress to give women of all races the vote, these courageous young women swore the army oath and settled into their new roles. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers wooed, mocked, and ultimately celebrated them.
The army discharged the last Hello Girls in 1920, the year Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. When they sailed home, they were unexpectedly dismissed without veterans’ benefits and began a sixty-year battle that a handful of survivors carried to triumph in 1979.