Friday, March 10, 2017

Women's History Month 2017: Published Sources

Davidson County Women in the World War 1914-1919 via Internet Archive. Page 201

I'm always amazed at what gems exist in libraries, archives, and digitized book collections. I find items and think "who knew that such a treasure of names existed?" So today I'm suggesting that you concentrate on printed sources for your ancestor's hometown.

Consider this great book titled Davidson County Women in the World War 1914-1919 by Rose Long Gilmore. This Tennessee book is a huge directory of women's names and images.

In the Foreword the author begins:

The title chosen for this volume is "Davidson County Women in the World War," although it is a very complete record of World War work done by women's organizations throughout the State of Tennessee, inasmuch as the State headquarters of all patriotic organizations was located in Davidson County. 

She continues with:

The "Distinguished Service Cross" merited by the women of the Advisory Council is the satisfaction that they have passed on to future generations a record of the part their ancestors played in the first war known in history where women were drafted into service. Not one woman whose name appears in connection with the compiling or publishing of this volume, which required months and months of labor, has received any compensation for her services.

Let me just say, this book is fabulous. It has tons of names but it also provides images. Categories list women who were involved in all kinds of work including the seemingly trivial like "Excellent Knitters" and the youngest and oldest knitter. There's even photos of babies born while their dads were fighting overseas! You will most likely recognize many of the organisations mentioned in this book including, the American Red Cross, Colonial Dames, and the Kiwanis. And just a note, while this book is largely about white women, there are a few pages about African American women and their contributions.

Even though you may not have Tennessee ancestors, the campaigns, committees and organizations involved will provide you with ideas about your own female ancestor.

Seek out digitized book websites, and libraries local to where your ancestor lived (public, academic, state) and see what you can find written by those who lived through the war.

  • Have you searched for histories for the place your ancestor lived for the years 1914-1920?

  • Have you identified all the libraries and archives where she lived?

Additional Resources:

Philadelphia in the World War
Gold Star Honor Role (Indiana)
Twin Falls County in the War (Idaho)
North Carolina Women in the War

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