The Hello Girls of WWI, Oleda (Joure) Christides (16, Thumb Area, MI)
The military put out a call for bilingual women during WWI, recruiting them to run switchboards in France during the war effort. Among the 100+ women who answered the call was 16-year-old Oleda Christides from the Thumb area of Michigan.
According to the Army Communicator’s website, a survivor of the “Great War” described the hazards she and the other women endured. Duty assignments at the switchboards, she said, were sometimes for 72 hours straight. The women, she said, carried on in spite of enduring the “constant noise from shelling and bombs, (under a) sky black with planes.”
Like the WASPs after them, these women were not recognized for their contributions until far, far after the fact. For more information about these amazing women, please see the following links: