Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Ryant, Carl G.

Author's Keywords

American history; Womens studies; Nursing


Military nursing--History; World War, 1914-1918--Women; World War, 1914-1918--Medical care; Women and war--History--20th century


World War I resulted in the deaths of over 8,500,000 military personnel and in addition, millions of civilians. There were not enough doctors to provide the necessary medical care for the masses of seriously sick and wounded, and other than in Great Britain, there was little in the way of an organized nursing profession in Europe. Over ten thousand American women served overseas as nurses and nurses' aides from 1914 to 1918, caring for soldiers and civilians of diverse nationalities and proving to be a mainstay in the medical treatment provided for victims of "The Great War." Little has been written about the efforts of these women which were of vital importance during wartime. Standard history texts and even womens' history sources have by-passed the contribution of American women to World War I. However, there exists a multitude of letters, diaries, memoirs, as well as official reports and histories of medical units that tell the story of the women, their motivation and expectations, their day-to-day life at the front, and their attitudes toward the war, the wounded, and each other.