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Mobilizing for War: The Selective Service Act in World War I

  • Mobilizing for War: The Selective Service Act in World War I
Mobilizing for War: The Selective Service Act in World War I

On May 18, 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which authorized the Federal Government to temporarily expand the military through conscription. The act eventually required all men between the ages of 21 to 45 to register for military service. Under the act, approximately 24 million men registered for the draft. Of the total U.S. troops sent to Europe, 2.8 million men had been drafted, and 2 million men had volunteered. To commemorate this anniversary, the draft registration cards Irving Berlin, Al Capone, Duke Ellington, Marcus Garvey, Harry Houdini, Fiorello LaGuardia, Norman Rockwell, and Babe Ruth are on exhibit.

In commemoration, the World War I Draft Registration Card for George Herman Ruth was on display in the “Featured Documents” exhibit in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives in Washington, DC, from May 4 – June 7, 2017.

Past Featured Records
  • The Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth
    The Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth

    Milestones in the long struggle for American freedom

    Emancipation Proclamation

    President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached the third year of the Civil War. Lincoln’s proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and... Read more

  • Harvey Milk Writes to the President
    Harvey Milk Writes to the President

    Friday, May 31, 2024 – Monday, June 17, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    Human Rights at the Ballot Box
    In 1978, Californians voted on Proposition 6, which would have banned gay men and lesbians from teaching or otherwise being employed by California school districts. The initiative sponsored by... Read more

  • Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen
    Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen

    Thursday, May 16, 2024 – Wednesday, June 12, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    Memorial Day recognizes and honors the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. The first national observance of Memorial Day occurred on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. General John... Read more

  • The Purple Heart Battalion
    The Purple Heart Battalion

    Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – Wednesday, May 15, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

    None of us thought we were coming home alive. —Lawson Sakai

    Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Roosevelt administration required people of Japanese descent living on the... Read more

  • Frances Perkins: Champion of Workers’ Rights
    Frances Perkins: Champion of Workers’ Rights

    Thursday, February 29, 2024 – Monday, April 15, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    “I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten plain common workingmen.” —Frances Perkins

    Chances are you benefit from the legacy of Frances Perkins,... Read more