In Deep with Angie Coiro: Elizabeth Cobbs

  • Kepler's Books 1010 El Camino Real Menlo Park, CA, 94025 United States

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. General John Pershing demanded female wire experts when he discovered that inexperienced doughboys were unable to keep him connected with troops under fire. 

Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers welcomed, resented, wooed, mocked, saluted, and ultimately celebrated them. 

The army discharged the last Hello Girls in 1920 without veterans benefits. They began a sixty-year battle for those benefits - a battle that a handful of survivors carried to triumph in 1979.

Historian, novelist, and documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Cobbs is Professor of American History at Texas A&M University and a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. She's the author of four books on American history.