Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Feurer, Rosemary

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of History


This dissertation traces the role of the State Council of Defense and Women’s Committee as Illinois’s wartime state between 1917-1918. Centered around dynamics of voluntarism, pageantry, and how the state negotiated the use of coercion in mobilization for war, the project draws heavily on the State Council and Women’s Committee records at the State Archives in Springfield, Illinois. Wartime mobilization in Illinois—and nationally in 1917—relied on a complex combination of federal messaging and resources working in concert with state and local forces who were supportive of the Wilson administration’s war effort. Bringing together disparate prewar communities, the State Council and Women’s Committee involved public-private partnerships, as well as buy-in at the County level to foster mobilization and to operate a constant war-focused pageantry statewide. The project found that, through its partnerships and organizational model, the State Council and Women’s Committee in Illinois rapidly increased the wartime state’s capacity to mobilize the public and resources, and they did so far more effectively than many Council and Committee systems nationwide.


372 pages




Northern Illinois University

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