Women's Overseas Service League

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The Women's Overseas Service League is a non-governmental organization based in the United States. It was founded in May 1921 to provide financial support and relationships for and between servicewomen who returned from World War I to no benefits, unlike their male counterparts.[1]

Members were women who served with the YMCA, YWCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Jewish Welfare and other agencies. Among the roles they played in France were army nurses, Signal Corps girls, canteen workers, librarians and entertainers. There activities after the war included visiting soldiers in the hospital, supplying them with flowers, books and phonographs as well as arranging occasional entertainment activities.[2]

It started as local groups and then became national. Its first convention was also in 1921 and has been held every single year since, except during World War II (1942–1945). They have a magazine called Carry On. It was the first women's organization to donate to UNICEF and the first to be acknowledged as an accredited observer by the United Nations.[3]


  1. ^ Rosemarie Skaine (19 January 2011). Women in Combat: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-59884-460-3. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Preuss, Arthur A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924 p.484
  3. ^ A Guide to the Women's Overseas Service League Records, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries (UTSA Libraries) Special Collections.

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