Elizabeth Cobbs, author of The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers,
in conversation with AT&T’s Marissa Shorenstein
Tuesday, October 22
In 1918, the Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France at General Pershing’s explicit request. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. While suffragettes picketed the White House and President Wilson struggled to persuade a segregationist Congress to give women of all races the vote, these courageous young women swore the army oath and settled into their new roles. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers wooed, mocked, and ultimately celebrated them. The army discharged the last Hello Girls in 1920, the year Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. When they sailed home, they were unexpectedly dismissed without veterans benefits and began a sixty-year battle that a handful of survivors carried to triumph in 1979.
Elizabeth Cobbs is a historian, New York Times bestselling novelist, and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of several books on American history and winner of the Allan Nevins prize. A former juror for the Pulitzer Prize, Cobbs holds the Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M and is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. She is currently working with members of the Senate to pass the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act. A musical based on The Hello Girls was nominated for 2019 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.
Marissa Shorenstein is President-Northern Region, AT&T. The Hello Girls were expert AT&T switchboard operators who answered the call to serve their country. Shorenstein is Chair of the Board of Girls Who Code, and sits on the board of several organizations, including the Citizens Budget Commission and the Women’s Forum of New York.
A special performance of "Twenty," one of the songs from the 2019 Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle award-nominated musical The Hello Girls, will follow the conversation. It will be performed by the show's composer/lyricist Peter Mills on piano and singer/actress Liz Shivener (Les Miserables, Shrek, Beauty and the Beast).
Photo credit: Women drilled atop AT&T’s Manhattan headquarters, 1918.
Courtesy of Robert, Grace, and Carolyn Timbie
All events are free and open to the public, however an RSVP is required at nationalartsclub.eventbrite.com.
PLEASE NOTE that members of The National Arts Club are not required to RSVP. A block of seats has been set aside for our members, however seating is first-come, first-served and entry to the event can not be guaranteed. Please arrive 20-30 minutes before the event start time.
This event is a designated Multiple Perspectives: Women in the Arts event.
The National Arts Club is thrilled to launch our 2019-20 season with "Multiple Perspectives: Women in the Arts,” a three-month festival (September - November 2019) exploring women creators, leaders, and innovators. The festival features over 50 performances, readings, presentations, and exhibitions focused on the arts, past, present, and future. “Since its founding in 1898, women have been welcomed as full members of our Club. ‘Multiple Perspectives’ is an opportunity for the Club to build on this commitment while fulfilling our mission to promote the arts,” said Linda Zagaria, Club President.