Granite State Stories: New Hampshire institutes a draft

  • “Men Wanted for the Army,” poster by Isaac B. Hazelton (1870–1943), lithograph by U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1914. N.H. Historical Society

Published: 7/6/2018 4:28:57 PM

Shortly after America entered World War I in April 1917, the U.S. government instituted a national draft that would eventually bring millions of men into the nation’s armed services.

New Hampshire, like the rest of the country, participated in its first registration day on June 5, 1917, requiring men between the ages of 21 and 30 to report to their local town halls and provide officials with their name, address, age and occupation.

Some towns turned registration day into a local celebration with parades, bands and refreshments. Over the next 15 months, several more registration days were held to expand the pool of manpower, and the eligible ages were also redefined to 18 to 45 year olds.

In total, New Hampshire had more than 95,000 men register for the draft during World War I, representing about one-fifth of the state’s population. Close to 20,000 of them would actually serve, about 90 percent of them in the U.S. Army’s American Expeditionary Force in France.

N.H. Historical Society

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