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
  • 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
    70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    Thursday, February 1, 2024 – Wednesday, February 28, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    Equity in Education: 70 Years Later

    On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional in... Read more

  • 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party
    250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party
    Thursday, December 14, 2023 – Wednesday, January 31, 2024
    East Rotunda Gallery

    The Destruction of the Tea

    It wouldn’t be known as the “Boston Tea Party” for another 50 years, but the destruction... Read more

  • Diseños: An Impact of Mexican Cession
    Diseños: An Impact of Mexican Cession
    Tuesday, June 20, 2023 – Wednesday, October 18, 2023
    East Rotunda Gallery

     

    At the end of the Mexican-American War, the United States annexed more than half of Mexico’s territory under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under its terms, the U.S. promised to... Read more

  • Celebrating Anna May Wong
    Celebrating Anna May Wong

    Anna May Wong
    National Archives, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service

    “I want to be an actress, not a freak.”

    Film legend Anna May Wong’s talent could not be contained by the racist casting of early Hollywood movies. Born Wong Liu Tsong in Los Angeles in 1905,... Read more

  • The Maker of Pilots: Willa B. Brown
    The Maker of Pilots: Willa B. Brown

    Willa B. Brown, February 13, 1943
    National Archives, Records of the Office of War Information

    Aviator Willa Beatrice Brown (1906–92) achieved numerous “firsts” in her lifetime, many of them earned through her tireless advocacy to integrate aviation programs. Brown began taking flying lessons in 1934,... Read more