Top of page

Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

Mrs. James Field, Department of Women in Industry of the Women's Committee, Circular no. 115, March 9, 1918. Charlotte Hopkins Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (057.00.00)

"Working Women of America"

Though the Council of National Defense was formed in 1916, not until April 1917 did Wilson add a Woman's Committee to the board, headed by suffragist Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. Due to government ambivalence and union hostility, women's efforts would be temporary and somewhat limited in scope; but their contributions would be significant. Many women who found work in wartime industries had been in the labor force prior to the war but often in domestic service positions. The unprecedented wartime labor opportunities for women evaporated soon after the fighting stopped.