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Switchboard soldiers : a novel  Cover Image Large Print Book Large Print Book

Switchboard soldiers : a novel / Jennifer Chiaverini.


A bold, revelatory novel about one of the great untold stories of World War I-the women of the US Army Signal Corps, who broke down gender barriers in the military, smashed the workplace glass ceiling, and battled a pandemic as they helped lead the Allies to victory. In June 1917, General John Pershing arrived in France to establish American forces in Europe. He immediately found himself unable to communicate with troops in the field. Pershing needed operators who could swiftly and accurately connect multiple calls, speak fluent French and English, remain steady under fire, and be utterly discreet, since the calls often conveyed classified information. At the time, nearly all well-trained American telephone operators were women, but women were not permitted to enlist, or even to vote in most states. Nevertheless, the U.S. Army Signal Corps promptly began recruiting them. More than 7,600 women responded, including Grace Banker of New Jersey, a switchboard instructor with AT & T and an alumna of Barnard College; Marie Miossec, a Frenchwoman and aspiring opera singer; and Valerie DeSmedt, a twenty-year-old Pacific Telephone operator from Los Angeles, determined to strike a blow for her native Belgium. They were among the first women sworn into the U.S. Army under the Articles of War. The male soldiers they had replaced had needed one minute to connect each call. The switchboard soldiers could do it in ten seconds. The risk of death was real, the women worked as bombs fell around them, as was the threat of a deadly new disease: the Spanish Flu. Not all of the telephone operators would survive. -- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780063241978
  • ISBN: 0063241978
  • Physical Description: 736 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
  • Edition: First Harper large print edition.
  • Publisher: [New York, N.Y.] : Harper Large Print, an imprint of HarperCollinsPulishers, [2022]
Subject: Banker, Grace, 1892-1960 > Fiction.
United States. Army. Signal Corps > Fiction.
Telephone operators > Fiction.
Americans > France > Fiction.
Female friendship > Fiction.
Women and war > Fiction.
Sex discrimination against women > Fiction.
World War, 1914-1918 > Participation, Female > Fiction.
Women soldiers > United States > 20th century > Fiction.
France > History > 20th century > Fiction.
Genre: Historical fiction.
War fiction.
Large type books.

Available copies

  • 2 of 3 copies available at Consortium of Ohio Libraries. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Galion Library.


  • 1 current hold with 3 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Galion Library L.P. CHIA (Text) 35920505763159 Large Print Fiction Available -

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