Item #7774 Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Great Stuff—That ‘Yeomanette’ Edition… [Bronx, New York?, ca. 1917.] Color pencil poster mock-up on wove paper, 16” x 22.6”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear. [with] Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Their Job Is Done Bring Them Home. Philadelphia: Phila. Navy Yard Employees Victory Loan Committee, [ca. 1919]. “Blueprint” poster on wove paper, 18” x 17.4”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear, a few markings, [are there any punctures?] trimmed close to the outer border line, with minor losses to edges.. Eleanore T. Sweeney, artist.
Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Great Stuff—That ‘Yeomanette’ Edition… [Bronx, New York?, ca. 1917.] Color pencil poster mock-up on wove paper, 16” x 22.6”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear. [with] Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Their Job Is Done Bring Them Home. Philadelphia: Phila. Navy Yard Employees Victory Loan Committee, [ca. 1919]. “Blueprint” poster on wove paper, 18” x 17.4”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear, a few markings, [are there any punctures?] trimmed close to the outer border line, with minor losses to edges.

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Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist.

Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Great Stuff—That ‘Yeomanette’ Edition… [Bronx, New York?, ca. 1917.] Color pencil poster mock-up on wove paper, 16” x 22.6”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear.

[with]

Sweeney, Eleanore T., artist. Their Job Is Done Bring Them Home. Philadelphia: Phila. Navy Yard Employees Victory Loan Committee, [ca. 1919]. “Blueprint” poster on wove paper, 18” x 17.4”. CONDITION: Very good, light wear, a few markings, [are there any punctures?] trimmed close to the outer border line, with minor losses to edges.



A rare pair of World War I posters by a woman artist who was apparently one of the “Yeomanettes”—the first women to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

One of the posters, an original color drawing, shows a rosy-cheeked male sailor reading a newspaper and smiling. The front page of the paper reads “Broadside Yeomanette Edition” and pictures a young woman in sailing attire. Beside the illustration is text reading “It’s up to the enlisted girls to make this come true. Contribute!!! L. M. Hendel, Representative.” This poster was evidently made as part of an effort to solicit articles (and/or monetary contributions) for a Yeomanette issue of The Broadside, a periodical for naval personnel. Some of the articles to be included would likely have concerned the then-novel experiences of Yeomanettes in the U.S. Navy, and the appearance of the smiling sailor on the poster seems to imply that female contributions to The Broadside would be entertaining for men to read. It is unclear whether the poster was printed or whether a “Yeomanette Edition” of The Broadside was ever published; neither are recorded in OCLC.

Published at the Pelham Bay Naval Training Station in the Bronx, New York, The Broadside ran from 14 February 1918 to January 1920, appearing bimonthly in its first ten months and monthly from 1919 to 1920. The title of the paper varied, coming out as The Pelham Broadside (14 Feb. 1918); The Broadside : a journal for the Naval Reserve Force (Mar. 1918–May 1919); The Broadside : navy, society, sports, stage, fiction, facts, finance, army (July 1919–Sept. 1919), and The Broadside : society, sports, stage, fiction, facts, finance (Jan. 1920). It was edited by J. Thorne Smith (Mar. 1918–Apr. 1919) and Collier Stevenson (May 1919–Jan. 1920).

The poster entitled Their Job Is Done Bring Them Home, published just after the war, shows silhouettes of nurses tending to a number of injured soldiers on a hillside. It was produced by the Philadelphia Navy Yard’s Victory Loan Committee, which was part of the federal government’s attempt to raise funds for the war effort by selling “Liberty” and then “Victory” bonds to the population. Four “Liberty Loan” drives were held over the course of the conflict, and the “Victory Loan” drive occurred in 1919, after the Armistice. Using billboards and streetcar ads, the loan drives were among the greatest advertising campaigns conducted up to that time.

While women had served as nurses in the U.S. Navy as early as 1908, the first major wave of female enlistment took place following the Naval Reserve Act of 1916, which was passed during World War I in response to the Navy’s lack of manpower and its dire need to fill clerical positions. The Act famously did not specify the gender of prospective naval enlistees and thereby formally allowed women to enlist as sailors by March 1917—just prior to America’s entrance into the war. By the 1918 Armistice, the number of women in the Navy totaled 11,000—the majority serving as Yeomen (F)s. Popularly known as “Yeomanettes,” these pathbreaking women primarily occupied secretarial and clerical positions, but some also served as translators, telegraph operators, mechanics, recruiting agents, draftsmen, munitions makers, ship camouflage designers, and so on.

Following the close of the war, the Navy began discharging women, and the last Yeomanette was released from service in 1921. Their impact would prove to be far-reaching: by opening America’s mind to women’s capacity for patriotic service, the Yeomanettes not only contributed to a favorable environment for the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, giving women the right to vote, but also created a precedent for women’s service in the Navy as WAVES during World War II.

We find no record of Eleanore T. Sweeney, nor any trace of any other printed or original works by her. These two posters constitute rare evidence of her artistic activities whiling serving during the Great War.

A pair of rare survivals reflecting the Yeomanette experience during World War I.

REFERENCES: Patch, Nathaniel. “The Story of the Female Yeomen during the First World War,” Genealogy Notes, Vol. 38, No. 3 (2006) at National Archives online; World War I era Yeomen (F) at Naval History and Heritage Command online.

Item #7774

Price: $4,000.00