“In Her Words: Women’s Duty and Service in World War I”

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum
February 2, 2018
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Portrait of Ethel Ash
Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Ethel Ash, YMCA worker, 1919

Stationed in France from February to November 1919, Ethel Ash, a former teacher from Des Moines, Iowa, was one of over 3,480 YMCA volunteers working alongside the military to improve the quality of life for soldiers, sailors, and Marines. One of her many duties included making hundreds of doughnuts each day, which she described in detail for her family: “Considering we didn’t use an egg nor any milk they weren’t so bad and now we are making the best doughnuts in France.”

Courtesy Ethel Ash Collection, Gift of Sarah (Ash) Albert, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection


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