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U.S. Committee on Public Information Division of Women's War Work collection

Call Number: MS 371


This collection mostly consists of mimeographed and printed press releases written by the U.S. Committee on Public Information, Division of Women's War Work during World War I. The collection also includes a few materials from other divisions within the Committee, which was popularly known as the Creel Committee.


  • Creation: December 1917-July 1918


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the U.S. Committee on Public Information

The Committee on Public Information (CPI) was established as an independent federal agency by executive order 2594 on April 13, 1917. George Creel (1876-1953), political reformer and journalist from Kansas City, Missouri and Denver, Colorado, served as chairman of the committee. The Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy served as ex officio members.

The first large-scale propaganda agency of the U.S. government, the Creel Committee, as it was also known, had two sections, one for work abroad and one for domestic work. The domestic section of the Committee included several divisions and bureaus targeting specific groups of people, including women, farmers, laborers, and immigrants. The Committee's efforts focused on encouraging every American to become involved in the war effort. The Committee's purpose was to sustain morale and administer voluntary press censorship.

Clara Sears Taylor (1876-1954) served as director of the Women's War Work Division. Born in Denver, Colorado, she was a newspaper and magazine writer in Denver, Chicago, and New York City before her appointment to the Creel Committee. After the war, she was the first woman appointed to the D.C. Rent Commission by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920.

The Committee on Public Information's work was curtailed starting July 1, 1918. All domestic activities were discontinued after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918; foreign activities were discontinued on June 30, 1919, and the agency was abolished on August 21, 1919.

The Creel Committee was later criticized for overselling the conflict in Europe, suppressing unflattering news, and creating a climate that suppressed legitimate dissent.

[Information retrieved from Matchette, Robert B. et al., "Records of the Committee on Public Information" from the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Washington, D.C.: NARA, 1995; Neumann, Caryn E., "Committee on Public Information," The First Amendment Encyclopedia. Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, 2009; Leonard, John W., Woman's Who's Who of America. Vol. 1: 803; and Harper, Kimberly, "George Creel," Historic Missourians, State Historical Society of Missouri,]


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Press releases in the collection cover a wide array of topics related to efforts women could make to help the U.S. and their allies during the war, as well as topics of possible interest to women, both related to the war and more generally. These include but are not limited to gardening and farming at home, as well as working on farms; mending old clothes rather than buying new; making socks and other garments for overseas soldiers and other U.S. workers overseas; war service opportunities, including in libraries serving the various military branches, in medical fields, in factories (including mask-making factories), and other war work; vacancies and needs for women to take on jobs previously held by men; attempts to fill social, recreational, and other needs for women newly arrived in Washington, D.C. to work; conditions in France and Belgium; soldiers' conditions overseas; women's leadership on other committees and with other governmental and service organizations; protecting (single, young) women on their own, such as those attending college or those who gravitated to military training camps; state and federal holidays; health and nutrition; education; working hours and conditions; and other topics. Some releases, particularly the printed releases at MS Qa40, appear focused on drawing support from women of specific religious denominations, such as Catholics, Christian Scientists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc.

Many of the news releases are focused on topics and individuals located in Washington, D.C., as well as Europe. Some focus on topics and individuals in other areas of the United States. There are several releases concerning the efforts of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense.

Mimeographed press releases are located at MS 371, along with a small amount of correspondence and items from other divisions of the Committee on Public Information. Copies of press releases, printed in long, thin strips, are located at MS Qa40. From a cursory sampling, there does not appear to be overlap between the two sets of releases.


Materials are organized chronologically by month. Non-press release material has been placed at the end of the box located at MS 371.

Physical Location

MS 371

Physical Location

MS Qa40

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Burnside Rare Books, 2022.

Related Materials

Records of the Committee on Public Information, Record Group 63, National Archives and Records Administration.

Guide to the Creel Committee Collection
U.S. Committee on Public Information Division of Women's War Work collection
Finding aid prepared by mwh. Finding aid encoded by mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
U.S. Committee on Public Information Division of Women's War Work collection, MS 371, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States