Women’s Suffrage Work during WWI



Suffragists working on the Liberty Bonds drive.
Courtesy, New Jersey Historical Society


Julia Hurlbut of Morristown
(1882 -1962)
Courtesy, Private Collection

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917 suffragists and anti-suffragists alike joined the war effort. Suffragists believed their active loyalty and support would make women’s suffrage inevitable. In New Jersey, women on both sides of the suffrage issue worked with the Red Cross in relief work, organized women to sew, knit, and prepare surgical dressings for the military, and, like the women in the photo above, raised money in Liberty Loan drives.

Suffragists also joined the conflict in Europe as nurses and relief workers. Julia Hurlbut of Morristown went to France in 1918 under the auspices of the YMCA where she managed an officers’ club at Chatillon-sur-Seine and neighboring hut canteens for the troops. Hurlbut, shown above in her military uniform, had been active in the New Jersey branch of the National Women’s Party when it picketed the White House in 1917. Arrested and jailed during the protests, she spent several months afterward delivering speeches around New Jersey on behalf of women’s suffrage before she went to France.