American World War I Poster for the YWCA, depicting a Signal Corps Telephone Operator.
The Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit recruited women who were bilingual in French and English to serve as telephone switchboard operators on the Western front. The women received physical training, observed strict military protocol, wore identity discs and worked very close to the front lines. These female recruits were nicknamed the “Hello Girls” (a term which some of them felt disparaged their efforts) and became known for their bravery and focus under pressure.
However, upon their return to the United States after the end of the war, the “Hello Girls” did not receive veteran status or benefits. It wasn’t until 1977, when President Jimmy Carter signed legislation, that the few surviving women telephone operators received recognition of their veteran status.
Issuing Agency: United War Work Campaign, YWCA
Inscription: Back Our / Girls Over There / United War Work Campaign
1920.1.257b / AM-W-20