Harvard University Press 2017

Harvard University Press 2017

The Hello Girls

By Elizabeth Cobbs

The Untold Story of How America’s First Women Soldiers Helped Win World War I, Earned the Vote, and Fought the US Army.

On the eve of American involvement in World War I, the Selective Service Act drafted 2.8 million American men to do their part for home and country.

300 remarkable women known as “The Hello Girls” were selected to operate the vital communications network that helped win WWI.  Each came from a different geographic and economic background, but they were united in their fierce patriotism and determination to prove that women had a role to play on the war front, not just the home front. For the first time in U.S. history, at General John Pershing’s urging, a handful of women volunteered, too, specially qualified to operate the most advanced communications technology of the day: the telephone switchboard. And while WWI ended some 18 months later for those first female soldiers, their battle for recognition as military veterans continued for six long decades.

In time for the centennial of WWI, acclaimed historian and author Elizabeth Cobbs, Ph.D., has written the defining account of the first women to serve in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Set against the backdrop of the suffrage movement and the communications revolution, THE HELLO GIRLS: America’s First Women Soldiers  summons a time when women possessed citizenship only through their fathers and husbands; but their story remains a potent key to comprehending how American women became soldiers—and eventually leaders—of their nation.