Images from Women & the Great War Exhibit

Poster Collection, UK 1012, Hoover Institution Archives
The death in Brussels of British nurse Edith Cavell—shot by a firing squad as a spy at dawn on October 12, 1915, by the German occupation authorities—shocked the world. Cavell, the forty-nine-year-old matron of a Belgian nursing school, was accused of concealing British and French soldiers caught behind the lines of the rapidly advancing German troops. During a period of six months, beginning in November 1914, she helped hundreds of men escape from Belgium. (Poster Collection, UK 1012, Hoover Institution Archives)
An invitation to the public funeral of Edith Cavell, 1919.
An invitation to the public funeral of Edith Cavell, 1919. Dutch political cartoonist Louis Raemaekers devoted several of his many anti-German cartoons to the tragic fate of Edith Cavell, depicting the execution as emblematic of the kaiser’s, and the German Army’s, brutality. As a champion of Cavell’s heroism, Raemaekers was invited to her public funeral service at Westminster Abbey on May 15, 1919, after her remains had been brought to England from Germany. She was buried in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral.
This small sketchbook features a series of original drawings depicting US nurse Lulu Ryan Rolston performing various tasks throughout her day at a hospital in France. After graduating from a nurses’ training program at New York Hospital in 1915, Rolston sailed for France to volunteer as a war nurse, joining the American Ambulance Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine. In 1917 she returned to the United States to work at a base hospital but returned to France twice more in 1918 to treat soldiers wounded in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. She was awarded the Medaille des Epidemies by the French government for her excellence in treating patients. (Lulu Ryan Rolston Papers, Hoover Institution Archives)
Alice Aron Gugenheim Papers, Box 1, Hoover Institution Archives
This watercolor by M. Collette depicts, in its top half, the destruction by and pillaging of German soldiers invading the Belgian city of Charleroi on August 22, 1914. The bottom half depicts US relief efforts in Brussels in 1915–16. The painting was given to Alice Aron Gugenhem, a Belgian relief worker. (Alice Aron Gugenheim Papers, Box 1, Hoover Institution Archives)
Winifred V. Ramplee Smith Collection, Box 1, Hoover Institution Archives
Maria Bochkareva (1889–1920), commander of the Women's Battalion of Death in Russia, 1917. (Winifred V. Ramplee Smith Collection, Box 1, Hoover Institution Archives)
Alexandre Tarsaidze Papers, Envelope mG, Hoover Institution Archives
Female soldiers in Russia, 1917. Russia's mobilizing for war led to the severe economic hardships that sparked the Russian Revolution. After the fall of the Romanovs in March 1917, the Provisional Government sought to revitalize Russia's war effort, improve morale, and reestablish discipline. Bochkareva received permission from the head of the new government to form the Women’s Battalion of Death. (Alexandre Tarsaidze Papers, Envelope mG, Hoover Institution Archives)
Winifred V. Ramplee-Smith Collection, Hoover Institution Archives
The First Women's Battalion of Death in Petrograd, 1917. Bochkareva (left) recruited around two thousand women to her unit, nearly three hundred of whom saw combat. Similar women’s battalions were established in fifteen other Russian cities. (Winifred V. Ramplee-Smith Collection, Hoover Institution Archives)
Poster Collection, US 484, Hoover Institution Archives
"The Girl on the Land Serves the Nation’s Needs," Edward Penfield (1866-1925), United States, 1918. After the US entered the war in 1917, American charities were encouraged to promote and support the war effort at home and abroad. Female volunteers in the Young Women's Christian Association Land Service Committee tended to the nation’s farms, thus freeing up men to enlist in military service. (Poster Collection, US 484, Hoover Institution Archives)
World War I Pictorial Collection, Envelope DB, Hoover Institution Archives
Female window washers in Berlin, circa 1917. The onset of World War I raised expectations among progressively minded women that the conflict would accelerate social reforms, notably women’s suffrage and economic equality, in their respective countries. Women entered the labor force in great numbers in all the belligerent countries during the war, especially Great Britain, where some 1.6 million women joined the wartime workforce (as compared to 700,000 in Germany). (World War I Pictorial Collection, Envelope DB, Hoover Institution Archives)
World War I Pictorial, Box 33, Hoover Institution Archives
Russian war loan postcard depicts a female factory worker, 1916. (World War I Pictorial, Box 33, Hoover Institution Archives)