“Thousands of women volunteered to give their time, energy and sometimes their lives during war time. Some were never accepted in to the military but made their way across the Atlantic on their own. Women workers did almost every job from Signal Operator on the railroads to switchboard operators on the front lines to the “Rosie the Riveters” operating machinery back home. Many of their stories went unrecognized and unrewarded and over the years have vanished from memory.
Enjoy these photographs and celebrate the service rendered by so many women who didn’t fight our wars but in their own way, helped lead us to victory.”
- Linda A. Rich
Chief Operator Grace Banker, front left, and fellow Signal Corps Hello Girls.
A British women's fire brigade, 1916
U.S. nurses walk along a beach in Normandy, France on July 4, 1944
Suzanne Parish was an American aviator, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots
Members of the Army Nurse Corps during WWII.
Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit
Many were former switchboard operators or employees at telecommunications companies. This group attends switchboard training in Denver, 1910
"A handful of U.S women enlisted for duty overseas as French speaking telephone operators with the Army Signal Corps…" - American Women in World War I - They Also Served, by Lettie Gavin
Hello Girls operating switchboards in Chaumont, France during WWI.
Women in training during WWII, 1942
Abbie N. Campbell inspects the first contingent of Negro members of the Women's Army Corps assigned to overseas service.
Pistol Packing Mamas
Group of women airforce service pilots and B-17 Flying Fortress
German women train in the Luftwaffe, November 1944.
World War II would spawn the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and Maj. Charity Adams, its first black officer. She commanded the first all-black female unit, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.
"Several thousand U.S. women, of course, did serve as Army and Navy nurses. They had no rank or benefits…"
American Women in World War I - They Also Served, by Lettie Gavin
In addition to the cryptanalysts, around 130 women worked in Hut 8 providing essential clerical support including punching holes into the Banbury sheets.
An ATS spotter with binoculars at the anti-aircraft command post. Britain, 1942
German women "man" anti-aircraft guns
WWII wire service reporter Ruth Cowan, magazine reporter Martha Gellhorn, and war photographer Dickey Chapelle.
Woman Police Unit, First World War
Frontline local American Women's Voluntary Services (AWVS) members in 1942
Life magazine artist Gladys Rockmore Davis outside Paris August 1944
Margaret Bourke-White, one of LIFE magazine’s original four staff photographers, was America’s first accredited woman photographer during WWII, and the first authorized to fly on a combat mission.
Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.
By 1945, there were more than 100,000 WACs and 6,000 female officers.
Mariya Ivanivna Dolina was a Soviet pilot, deputy and acting squadron commander during World War II.
Hello Girls learning to operate the switchboard.
One of the first computers used to decipher the Enigma codes at Bletchly Park.