When the US entered World War I the Army had a total of 403 active duty nurses. By the end of the war, 21,480 women served in the Army Nurse Corps rendering service “beyond expectations” at a time when women were not even allowed to vote. Over 10,000 of these nurses were deployed overseas during the war. Serving in France, England, and Italy, American nurses were considered to be among the finest in the world. Although no US Army Nurses died as a direct result of enemy action, three were wounded by shellfire and 272 died of disease (primarily tuberculosis, influenza, and pneumonia). Over the course of the war a small number of nurses were decorated for bravery: three received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest award; twenty-four were awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; sixty-nine received the British Royal Red Cross; twenty-eight were given the French Croix de Guerre; and two received the British Military Medal.
Army Nurses of World War One: Service Beyond Expectations tells the story of two Army Nurses who were among those deployed with the American Expeditionary Force: Elizabeth Lewis and Emma Elizabeth Weaver. Their stories, told through their journals and letters, provide a personal window into history.