Women Awake!

Women Awake!, 1916

Hazel Lavina Roberts (American, 1883-1966)

Lithograph on paper (Reproduction)

Courtesy of the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina

Citing the past and looking to the future, Women Awake! is one of the few WWI posters designed by a woman. The poster features a woman adorned in traditional U.S. Army Signal Corps gear, hoisting a megaphone with a “wig-wag” signal flag readied in her left arm. The poster implores women to enlist in the Navy League, an organization that provided information about assisting and/or enlisting in the war effort. However, what is depicted is markedly different than the actual role of Signal Corps women. They were bilingual switchboard operators charged with receiving calls from both Frenchmen and Americans. Hazel Lavina Roberts dignifies the war-time position by showing women in traditional attire, a reference to its previous all-male history.

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