Women in the Military

Did you know that American women served in the regular military ranks in World War One?  During the war, 305 women enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Thousands of women also served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps and the Army Nurse Corps.

The Motor Corps of America was created as a necessity in World War 1. The military needed ambulance drivers to transport patients and supplies. The first drivers of the Motor Corps were in high demand. The poster reflected real-life women in the Moor Corps, as seen below.


This poster shows a woman dressed in the U.S Marine Corps dress blues with Marines on the battlefield in the background. This poster recruited both women and men for the Marine Corps. Howard Chandler Christy was already a famous artist.  His Christy’s Girls appear in several of the most memorableWWI posters.

“Gee, I wish I were a man!” shows an adorable young woman in a man’s oversized uniform.This poster was the first time that sex appeal had ever been used in a recruitment poster! Howard Chandler Christy used Bernice Smith on this poster as a tool to encourage men to enlist in the Navy, in the earliest days of the war, before the Navy admitted women to its ranks. Days later, Smith went to her local recruiting office and became the first California woman to enlist in the Navy.

Contributors:  Hannah Walker, Brad Cade, Drue Ussery, and Landon Hill.

Learn more about this whole suffrage centennial project, created by teams in Dr. Kim Little’s HIST2302:  America in the Modern Era First-Year Seminars.