‘Woman and Her Sphere’ has had a long-standing interest in searching out – and cataloguing for sale – books and ephemera by and about women’s involvement in the First World War. With the 100th anniversary drawing nearer, radio and television producers already searching for new angles from which to approach the subject , and the Government heralding what is likely to be a long period of commemoration, it is, perhaps, appropriate to draw readers’ attention to some of the contemporary works that recorded ways in which women reacted to the disruption of their world. The first book I have chosen is:
Gilbert Stone (editor), Women War Workers: accounts contributed by representative workers of the work done by women in the more important branches of war employment, George G. Harrap & Co, 1917. With a foreword by Lady Jellicoe.
The book comprises articles written by women working in new areas of employment. The chapters are titled:
Munition Work; The Land; A Postwoman’s Perambulations; Banking; ‘Fares Please!’ [work as a bus conductor]; Deliverng the Goods [driver of butcher’s delivery cart]; Nursing at the French Front; The V.A.D. Nurse ; The Comforteers [working with ‘Concerts at the Front’] ; Welfare Work; The Women of Paris During the German Advance, and ‘War Organisations for Women’ – giving statistical information, together with the chief purposes and aims of the more prominent organizations connected with Women’s War Work.
The book concludes with a very interesting chapter by Gilbert Stone in which he discusses the difficulties that women will face after the end of the war. ‘To coop them up at home without future, without outlook, without freedom, dependent on their father’s purse, yet with a memory of the wide world ever present, or, if possible it is a poor way of showing man’s sense of the meaning of the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
The book – with 12 photographs – is surprisingly scarce. This copy is in good condition and is £60.
To buy: contact email@example.com