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Tools for Educators

The “Hello Girls:” Switchboard Soldiers of World War One

Lesson Overview

When the United States entered World War One, the military desperately needed telephone operators. 223 women joined the Army Signal Corps, including Emelia Lumpert and Mary Marshall from Utah. These “Hello Girls” faced grueling hours and dangerous conditions near the battlefields in France. Their expertise and bravery enabled crucial Army communications and expedited the success of the Allied Forces. But despite their service, they were denied veteran status or benefits until 1977. In this lesson, students will learn about the Hello Girls’ contributions and use what they learn to participate in a letter writing campaign to award the Hellos Girls the Congressional Gold Medal.

Recommended Instructional Time: 40 – 80 minutes
3 women sitting at a telephone switchboard, with gas masks hanging on the back of their chairs.

Historical Background for Educators

Key Utah State Standards Addressed

Learning Objectives


Materials Needed

1. Hello Girls PowerPoint
2. Bio of Utah's Hello Girls: Emelia Lumpert and Mary Marshall

Click here to read the bio.

3. Student Worksheet
4. (Optional) Video Clip

Click here for a 35-second video of a telephone switchboard in operation.

Guiding Questions


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