Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date


Research Program

Library Research Award

First Advisor

Dr. Brandon Marsh


When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917 and entered World War I, the federal government understood that civilian mobilization and a strong homefront would be essential for American success in the conflict. The Committee of Women’s Defense Work of the Council of National Defense, commonly known as the Women’s Committee, was created to organize American women for the war effort. This paper argues how the executive Women’s Committee used pre-existing connections to women’s voluntary associations and the fundamental concept of federalism to organize, mobilize, and inform American women for the war effort. The women at the federal level worked to balance their personal beliefs, shaped by Victorian attitudes regarding gender roles, with wartime needs in their policies and actions. The federalist organization and the policies of the Women's Committee would expand the role of women in the United States during the war despite the wishes of some members of the executive board.


Library Research Award 2022, First Place

Included in

History Commons