Massachusetts Women and the First World War

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Massachusetts men and women participated in the Great War in numerous ways, even before the United States officially entered the conflict in 1917. This two-day workshop will explore women’s many activities using the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Fort Devens Museum.

Day one (October 17) will take place in Devens. When Camp Devens was built in 1917, few realized what an impact it had on surrounding towns and the legacy it would leave behind. Using maps, letters, photographs and other materials from WWI we can see how Camp Devens changed both the lives of the men and women who worked and trained here, and the physical landscape of the Nashoba Valley. On day two (October 18) we will meet at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where participants will analyze posters that used images of women as propaganda or encouraged women’s participation in various efforts. We will also investigate letters, diaries, and photographs created by men and women who volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad. This workshop is open to all K-12 educations, as well as history enthusiasts.