Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Brandon Marsh

Second Advisor

Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Suter

Degree Award Date

Spring 2023


World War I, women, United States, home front, women's organizations, war work, Maryland, federalism


Political History | Social History | United States History | Women's History


During World War I, the United States created the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense to organize and coordinate women’s war work. The Women’s Committee had a federalist structure of national, state, and local committees to organize the different levels of women’s societies in the country. This paper uses the Maryland Section of the Women’s Committee as a case study to argue how how the centralized organization of the Women’s Committee and its flexibility with the local committees led to more productive efforts at mobilizing women. It will expand on the formation and organization of the Maryland Women’s Section, its statewide and county war work, and how the Maryland Women’s Section compares to nationwide trends of women’s war work. The women of the Maryland Division, as well as the Women's Committee, operated within the confines of the traditional gendered framework, using the familiar structure of clubs and the focus on “women’s” work to organize their communities. The Women's Committee allowed American women to enter the political arena while they continued to be denied suffrage and formal governmental influence.

Recommended Citation

Scott, Savannah. "The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense in Maryland, 1917-1918.” Senior Honors Projects, Bridgewater College, 2023.

Force Open Access