Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

The Hello Girls

When Gen. John Pershing was setting up the infrastructure of the American Expeditionary Force in France it was determined that they needed women to operate the switchboards, just as was the case back home. These operators had to be fluent in French and English.

The government issued a contract to Western Electric and about 7,600 women applied. The company selected and trained them; the first group of 100 arrived in March 1918 and eventually 223 ‘Hello Girls’ served in France. However, their non-military status meant that they were denied recognition as veterans until 1977, long after it made any difference to most.  You can read more about ‘The Hello Girls’ by clicking here or here.

James (“Jim”) Patton BS BA MPA is a retired state official from Shawnee, Kansas and a frequent contributor to several WW1 e-publications, including "Roads to the Great War," "St. Mihiel Tripwire," "Over the Top" and "Medicine in the First World War." He has spent many hours walking the WW1 battlefields, and is also an authority on British regiments and a collector of their badges. An Army Engineer during the Vietnam War, he did work for the US World War 1 Centennial Commission and is affiliated with the WW1 Historical Association, the Western Front Association, the Salonika Campaign Society and the Gallipoli Association.

1 Comment

  1. Carrie S. Lewis

    I would like for students to be able to use this photo in school projects for History, and am asking permissions.. Thank you, Carrie S, Lewis

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