In 1917, General Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI, made a request for bilingual women telephone operators to oversee telephone communications in France. It was apparent that inexperienced doughboys could not efficiently complete this vital task. In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France. These brave women, also known as the ‘Hello Girls’, took an army oath, wore army regulation uniforms, and were expected to follow army protocols. They risked their lives near the front lines. They proved to be a success and were highly regarded by the men with whom they served. However, upon their return to the United States, they were informed that they were not Veterans.
We will have a special screening of ‘The Hello Girls’ a documentary based on the book ‘The Hello Girls’ by Elizabeth Cobbs. The documentary spans a 60-year history of the ‘Hello Girls” in their fight for the long overdue recognition as Veterans. Carolyn Timbie, granddaughter of Grace Banker who was Chief Operator of the First unit of 33 Hello Girls, does a brief introduction and following the film, shares items from her grandmother’s collection and provides time for Q & A.