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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

George Creel to Woodrow Wilson, March 29, 1918. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (058.00.00)
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Anne MacIlvaine to Woodrow Wilson, June 27, 1918. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (062.00.00)
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Woman's Land Army

Unlike many organizations contributing to the war effort, the Woman's Land Army (WLA) of America consisted of female leadership and female staff. Inspired by the women's land army of Britain, the WLA sought to use women's labor to address the threat of food shortages resulting from the war. The director of the Committee on Public Information, George Creel, recognized the symbolic power of the WLA and eventually embraced the effort.

Initially, the WLA received no federal funding or even state support. However, the New Jersey WLA proved particularly adept at fundraising, often depending on its established network of women's associations and local businesses. The organization also utilized various events including bake sales, concerts, and movie nights to raise money. New Jersey WLA chairperson Anne MacIlvaine's appeal for government support would be realized when the Department of Labor absorbed the organization in the fall of 1918, which ironically led to the WLA's demise the following September.

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