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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE CHICAGO, c. 1950s

Miss Anita Phipps: 1923

Miss Anita Phipps: 1923

November 24, 1923. Miss Anita Phipps, director of women's relations for the War Department. View full size. National Photo Company Collection.

 

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Miss Phipps

She looks kind of wistful, like a tired crusader, which apparently she was. Wasn't Mother's Day originally an antiwar thing?

Chapeau

Wow, that is some hat!

Lace

Anyone know if her lace collar is made from tatting or bobbin lace?

Ms Phipps

>> Her job was to persuade American women that the peacetime US Army.

Her job was to persuade America that Mars needs women?

Women's relations

According to a book called "War and the American Woman" there was a rising trend in the early 1920s for some women's groups to call for the total abolition of the American "war machine." In response Secretary of War Newton Baker (essentially the modern Secretary of Defense but without jurisdiction over the Navy) appointed Anita Phipps to be the director of Women's Relations. Her job, which was seen by most women as a public relations ploy, was to persuade American women that the peacetime US Army. The problem was that she was never really clear on her role. As women's groups began to demand greater roles in the military services - for example being appointed as civilian aides to the Secretary - Phipps herself developed a plan called the Womens Service Corps. In the event of war some 170,000 women would be mobilized to serve in non combat roles ranging from clerical work, telephone operators, seamstresses, waitresses, cooks, couriers and janitors. The plan was presented in 1926 and met with a complete lack of enthusiasm and languished until 1931 when Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur finally abolished it, calling it of "no military value." Surprisingly it sounds very much like the various women's auxiliary units that were created from scratch at the start of World War II.

>> Her job was to persuade American women that the peacetime US Army.

[Fascinating! Something missing from that sentence though. - Dave]

You're right Dave. Her job was to persuade American Women that the peacetime US Army was not a threat to world peace. At least that's what the Secretary of War envisaged it as. Apparently she hung on to the job at the War Department until 1930.

Job Description Anyone?

I wonder what her duties were? Her staff's duties? What did women's relations for the War Department do (in 1923)?

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