Effie Hobby's Story
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Effie Hobby's Story
High School
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High School

  A New York City street scene around 1910.
  A New York City street scene around 1910.

In 1911, Effie went to high school. If she had been born just a generation or two earlier, Effie probably would not have attended school beyond 6th grade. In 1870, only 72,000 children were going to high school, but forty years later, in 1910, that number jumped to over one million students!

However, there was no high school in Nichols Village, where her family was living, so Effie had to move 60 miles to New York City. She lived with her aunt and uncle in the Bronx while she went to school. Living in New York could be exciting, and Effie remembers waving to Teddy Roosevelt, the former president of the United States, during a parade.

During these years, Thomas Alva Edison's film company asked her if she would audition for a role in one of their silent movies. Edison was the famous inventor who created the phonograph, the first practical light bulb, and the Kinetoscope (a peep hole viewer that was an early form of a movie). Edison created the first motion picture studio in New York City, but Effie never auditioned. Her parents decided against it. "Who knows," Effie laughs. "I might have been another Mary Pickford." (Mary Pickford was the first movie star of the silent movies.)

While she was in high school, she joined the newly created Girl Scouts, and she is still a member today. She was very active as a Brownie troop leader in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Spending many summers at Camp Trefoil, she was the oldest and longest serving member of the local organization. Being a girl scout was the beginning of Effie's commitment to being a good citizen.

Being a member of the Girl Scouts, Effie, like many other girls, found herself helping homeland defense when World War I was declared in March 1917. During the war, Girl Scouts sold war bonds, collected peach pits for use in gas mask filters, and learned how to save food.

During World War I, the women's rights movement was put on hold. Famous suffragettes like Carrie Chapman Catt formed the Women's Peace Party, which focused on peace instead of women's rights.

However, women did not stand still during the war. Because men were fighting in Europe, there were many new job opportunities for women. Women went to work on farms, as telegraph messengers, and even office managers. By the end of the war, about 400,000 women had joined the work force for the first time.

Think About It:
Why did World War I change the kind of jobs and opportunities available to women?