Women's Duty and Service in World War I

Greta Wolf, US Army Nurse, 1917-1919

Greta Wolf was stationed at Base Hospital No. 54, Mesves, France. Even with professional qualifications, Wolf served without rank as did all of the Army’s more than 21,400 nurses. The majority of the Army Nurse Corps were graduates of nursing schools, but the Army waived state registration requirements and increased age limits to alleviate staffing shortages. As her letters document, Wolf showed consistent professionalism and devotion to patients despite the austere working conditions and her lack of status.

Objects Courtesy Greta (Wolf) Fleming Collection, Gift of Janice Fleming, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection

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Nurse Greta Wolf
Letter written by Greta Wolf to her sister and brother-in-law

“We are not supposed to talk to the Pvts/non-commissioned officers, but you can’t help it when you see how much good it does them.”
Greta Wolf to her sister and brother-in-law
October 28, 1918

Writing by candlelight in a hospital facility without electricity, Greta Wolf describes her “real sister’s love” for her patients. She is disheartened by the lack of mail for them, but notes that they are greatly cheered by speaking with American women on staff. Acknowledging that conversing with enlisted servicemen is discouraged, she does so anyway.