Women's Duty and Service in World War I

Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling, US Navy Yeoman (F), 1917-1920

Eighteen-year-old Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling joined the Navy Reserve on March 30, 1917, the same month the Navy opened enlistment to women for the first time. She went on active duty as a Yeoman (F) —the “F” denoted “female"—and received the same pay as a man. She used the Navy’s official protocols for correspondence in her clerical work, excelled at typing and stenography, and was promoted to the highest rate available to Yeomen (F).

To find out more about Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling’s wartime service, her correspondence, and the Navy Yeoman (F), read “Join the Navy” by Lynn Heidelbaugh, Curator, Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Objects Courtesy Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling Noble Collection, Gift of Carol Dieckman, Women’s Memorial Foundation Collection

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Chief Yeoman Ruth Creveling
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“I have the support of a two-year-old child as well as myself and . . . am not now making a ‘living wage.’”
Ruth Creveling to California’s State Civil Service Commission
June 5, 1922

In February 1922, Ruth Creveling put the skills she honed as a Yeoman (F) into her post-war job as a civilian employee at Naval Air Station San Diego, California. By June that year she sought to advance her career as a divorced, single parent in order to earn a “living wage.”