American Telephone Girls Well Cared for in France - 1918
American Telephone Operators Near the Front in France. The Telephone Review, September 1918. GGA Image ID # 19b3aa1010
Miss Mary A. Dingman of New York, who is active in the work of the YWCA in France interestingly describes the work of this organization in the Chicago Tribune:
The work is not of a religious nature except when a few of the secretaries get together for a brief service now and then.
They are devoting their efforts almost entirely to bettering conditions under which Frenchwomen labor and to provide homes for the 5,000 “Waacs”—Women's Auxiliary Army corps—and the American telephone operators who have come over to help "man” the American army switchboards behind the lines.
Other American women in the war service are taking advantage of the hospitality offered by the YWCA, particularly in Paris, where two large hotels already have been taken over by them, supplying the telephone girls and others with all the comforts of home.
Miss Dingman is especially interested in the recreation work of her organization, and after a recent visit to Tours returned to headquarters with a new smile on her face. She had in her possession a lease calling for the turning over to the Y. W. C. A. of the beautiful west end of the Isle de Simon, set down in the middle of the Loire. The river is very attractive at this point, and the islet, nestling between the swift flowing currents, is an ideal spot for quiet and recreation.
“You see,” said Miss Dingman, “our telephone girls and Waacs and others now stationed at Tours have no place to go for their rest and recreation. They have the best of attention in their barracks and are looked after very closely, but when the rest period comes, they have no place of their own to which they can go and have a good stretch, read a book, and get a breath of the fresh air undisturbed by anyone.
So we have secured this island for them, and when it is all fixed up it will be simply ideal. Here they may go during their rest hours, have their little picnic parties, recline in the shade under restful and quiet surroundings, and just relax to their hearts' content."
“American Telephone Girls Well Cared for in France,” in Bell Telephone News, Detroit Edition, Vol. 8, no. 2, September 1918, p. 13.