Women’s Roles During World War I, II



Mata Hari (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)


Authors and living history presentation illustrate the role of women at home, at war


Women and their roles during World War I and World War II will be featured in three Harford County Public Library events in late March. The events are part of the library’s Women’s History Month activities.

Elizabeth Foxwell, the author of “In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I,” will speak at a “Meet the Author” event on Sunday, March 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jarrettsville Library, 3722 Norrisville Road in Jarrettsville.

“In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I” presents first-person accounts by American women who served in World War I and the challenges they faced such as discrimination, danger and death in their desire to serve their country. The book also discusses men in combat, civilians and the effects of war. The discussion is supported by a grant from WWI in America.

Also on April 30 will be a living history presentation on Mata Hari, the World War I spy and femme fatale. Performed by Angela Yau, the presentation takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Aberdeen Library, 21 Franklin Street, Aberdeen.

“Margreet” Zelle MacLeod, better known as Mata Hari, was a Dutch citizen who was able to cross the borders of Europe freely because her home country of the Netherlands was neutral during the war. In 1916 she accepted an assignment to spy for France by passing along military information she learned from her conquests of German officers. She was accused of being a German spy and was executed by firing squad by the French in 1917.

“The Skirt and Stocking Clad Soldier: Women Join the Military in WWII” is the topic of a discussion with historian Mary Rasa on Thursday, March 30, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Library, 120 North Union Avenue in Havre de Grace.

Rasa will lead a discussion about women in the military and their civilian defense worker counterparts during World War II. Women worked in motor pools, lived in barracks, ate in mess halls, traveled to war zones and died for their country. Artifacts and uniforms from World War II will be on display.

            All three events are open to the public and free of charge. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.

“The role of women during wartime, particularly during World War I and World War II, is fascinating,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “We are fortunate to have Elizabeth Foxwell, Angela Yau and Mary Rasa share their knowledge and expertise with our customers. They bring a unique lens to view the centenary commemorations of  Aberdeen Proving Ground and World War I that are taking place this year.”

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 185,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 3.8 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading in the community. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.

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