War Girls

Between April 6, 1917 and November 18, 1918, over 21,000 American women enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, working at home and abroad to provide desperately needed medical care for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). In California, Base Hospitals 30, 35, and 47 all mobilized and departed for the battlefront in France by mid-1918. The women who served as nurses in these hospitals experienced the Great War in army hospitals established in chateaus, hotels, and other existing local structures. They witnessed the high cost of war not on the battlefield, but in the operating room and the hospital ward. At the war’s end, they returned home as veterans in their own right, an honor that had been denied to previous generations of American servicewomen. 

This digital exhibit explores and commemorates the lives of California’s Army nurses in the First World War buried in national cemeteries: Alta Ireland Heron, Vera Marston Rush, Etta Parker, Guilda N. Jones Vicini, and Mayme E. Williamson.



Emma Davis (B.A. History & French, Florida State University) for the National Cemetery Administration History Office through the Virtual Student Federal Service internship program, 2020 - 2021.