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War Courses for Women

by Robin Elliot

During the First World War the Drexel Institute was part of a nationwide patriotic movement to get women into the workforce. Drexel offered secretarial courses for women which were advertised as specifically for women and their desire to help their country. Drexel worked with the United States Civil Service Commission to train women for work as civil service secretaries. The training was designed to qualify employees as quickly as possible to help with the war effort. The publicity campaign depended on women’s desire to help their country and the men who were fighting, even if the women were living on the home front.


This program was designed for both high school and college graduates with different levels of required courses. The courses concentrated on the business world and specifics for working in an office. However, the students other interests were not ignored as physical education was part of the longer program, offering the high school graduate a general college education. Drexel also used the many activities for students such as the library, museum and other social and educational possibilities at Drexel and in Philadelphia to interest future students.

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