Women at the University of Kansas contributed to the war effort in a variety of ways during World War I. Here’s a look at just some of the ways that KU women found to support the war effort, as illustrated by the collections in University Archives!
The physical education and English departments made their mark on the war effort through several organized projects. Students in various knitting and sewing classes made sheets and bed socks for hospitals and sweaters for the troops. Knitting classes were later disbanded temporarily to allow time and space for female students to make surgical dressings for military hospitals.
In addition, many women on campus also became involved with the Red Cross during the war via courses in home nursing and Red Cross organization and home relief.
A surgical dressing class at KU, Jayhawker yearbook, 1918.
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1918. Click image to enlarge.
Surgical dressing and Red Cross pamphlet in the Florence Harkrader scrapbook, 1916-1919.
University Archives. Call Number: SB 71/99. Click image to enlarge.
Food use and conservation was of utmost importance to the war effort. As Herbert Hoover, Director of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I, said: “if food fails, everything fails.” The need to educate the public on food conservation prompted the Food Administration to begin offering lectures and courses about food use and conservation at universities around the country, including KU. All female students at the University attended these lectures, entitled “Food and the War.”
With so many men enlisted in the Armed Forces, it fell to women and younger men to fill vacant positions in the work force here in the United States. Several female students enrolled in stenography, typewriting, and telegraphy courses through the University and the Lawrence Business College.
Advertisement for the Lawrence Business College,
Jayhawker yearbook, 1918. University Archives.
Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1918. Click image to enlarge.
For additional information regarding the University of Kansas during World War I, please visit the Spencer Research Library and explore our University Archives collections – including items such as issues of The Graduate Magazine and Jayhawker yearbooks!