Ever Changing Roles: Women in World War I

By Sherri Goudy

“The Great War,” “The War to End All Wars,” “The World’s Worst Wound,” “The Bloodiest Conflict;” the terms and titles that historians and writers have given to describe World War I are vast and graphic.  It is depicted as brutal with the new forms of weapons technology used, and the effects of large numbers of men mobilized to fight on the battlefield left horrific scenes behind.  Many modern authors, exposed the severe and vast way in which this gruesome war impacted the public and changed lives forever. Beyond the patriotic, heroic, and noble actions that newspapers were writing about, were real life and long-lasting effects that the war was taking on soldiers, families, and the communities.  The effect of WWI changed life for women, and it changed the women themselves.

While men were going off to war, women were left to fill the gaps in family, society, and community life.  They became the sole provider of the home, joined the military, and formed social organizations to provide aid and resources for the troops.   They began participating in economic, cultural, and political life in ways they had not before.

As was going on throughout the country, the women of Springfield and Clark County immediately sprang to action at the onset of the war.  Over the next few weeks we will discuss the ways in which the women in this area helped to support the war effort.

The local branch of the National League of Women’s Service was formed in Springfield in early April 1917.

Photo 1 Women organize

It is evident that women had been organizing on a local level for some time, and that by joining the national organization, they would increase their success. “So perfect has been the organizing of the service work in Springfield for some weeks past, that the activity of the permanent organization effected Wednesday afternoon will go forward with speed and dispatch.”

Women were also prepared to “do their bit” by enlisting as nurses and ambulance drivers, as well as by replacing men sent to war in the factories and on farms.  They joined the Red Cross and urged everyone in the community to support their efforts.  They were ready to do whatever was needed. As this article posted in the Springfield paper stated, women were willing to “serve on street railways and railroads, to drive trucks or do clerical work, to prepare bandages and surgical kits, to do guard and patrol duty, to care for the nation’s food supply or to fill the places of professional men, such as doctors, dentists and chemists, who might be called to war.”

Photo 2 US women report for war

Women were not only contributing to the war effort by organizing, working and serving, but also by conserving food and home gardening.  Resources and supplies were scarce both at home and abroad and people across the nation were asked to “remember soldiers” when going about their daily lives.

Photo 3 July 22 1917 Housewivs canning remember the soldiers

In every action, from taking care of the family, working, enlisting, or continuing her daily duties of purchasing food, canning, cooking, and gardening a woman could help support the war effort. And she did this willingly.  She took the place of the men in her town and home.  And this changed her forever.

Join me in my next blog as we discuss the Red Cross and other ways in which women of WWI served their country.


Answering the Call: WWI Military Recruitment in Clark County, Ohio (Part 2)

by Sherri Goudy

In my last post, we discussed US entry into WWI and the impossible task of raising an army from a few hundred thousand to a million using only volunteer recruits.  Initiating a draft was inevitable, and over the course of the summer of 1917 local newspapers were filled with this very topic.

After over a month of debates between congress and the President, the Selective Service Act was finally passed on May 18, 1917.

Photo 12 May 10 1917 front Draft Age Set

Photo 13 May 19 1917 front Draft Proclamation

The first draft was June 5, 1917. Registration cards were printed in the local paper.

Photo 14 June 4 1917 front Registration Card

In early June, the front page featured photos of men waiting in line to register under conscription.

Photo 15 June 5 1917 front Photo of men registering

Just the thought of the draft becoming a reality was too much for some Ohio residents to bear.  One woman committed suicide before conscription was even a reality, out of fear that her son would be drafted to military service.

Photo 16 April 15 1917 front Woman Suicides

In Springfield, the paper published articles warning men not to “dodge registration” for the draft.

Photo 17 June 1 1917 front Wilson Warns Dont Dodge Registration

The local paper also posted on the front page the penalty and “round up” of “slackers” in Toledo.

Photo 18 June 6 1917 front Round up of slackers

By mid-July, the paper published local and national information about the draft.

Photo 19 July 12 1917 front Clark County Must Furnish 509 Men

Quotas for each city were listed in the papers, demanding the number of men who would have no choice but to report for duty.

Photo 20 July 13 1917 front Nation first draft

Clark County was to supply 509 men, of which 409 were to come from the city of Springfield.

On July 12, 1917, the paper listed the names and serial numbers of the men registered, which would be randomly drawn for service.

Photo 21 July 12 1917 pg 2 List of men registered

Rules and regulations were also published, including information about physical exams and where notifications would be printed.

Photo 22 July 15 1917 front Draft Rules

The drawing was set to take place on July 20, 1917.

Photo 23 July 19 1917 front Draft Plan Announced

The paper listed the first men of Springfield and Clark County to be drafted.

Photo 24 July 20 1917 front List of men called to draft

The residents were anxious to find out any information about the drawing, and they crowded in public places where the information was posted.

Photo 25 July 22 1917 2nd edition page 4 phone photo

To boost morale, political cartoons flooded the paper to show that regardless if men were drafted or volunteering for service, they were united in their fight for democracy and liberty.

Photo 26 July 21 1917 pg 4 PC Side by Side

However, there continued to be issues with draft dodging and punishment plans such as court martial were printed on the front page.

Photo 27 August 5 1917 front Court Matial to Punish Slackers

In total, 2 million men volunteered for service and 2.8 million men were drafted, with fewer than 350,000 dodgers.  These brave men who served our nation represented over 25% of the entire male population age 18-31. Although these men participated for less than 2 years in the deadliest conflict the world had ever known, their contributions helped put an end to the war and they are deserving of honor, respect, and reflection.

Next time, we will begin to explore the many contributions of women during this time of war.  From joining the Red Cross, to taking men’s place in the workforce, to support from home, women played a vital role during World War I, and we will look into these roles over the next few posts.

Please let us know what you think and what you want to read about next.  We want your feedback!



Answering the Call: WWI Military Recruitment in Clark County, Ohio (part 1)

by Sherri Goudy

When President Wilson declared war against Germany in April 1917, neither he nor the country realized the full ramifications of his decree.   The war had been going on “over there” for 3 years, and although some men had volunteered to help the allies by serving in foreign military legions, what did America’s entry into the war really mean for our own military?

Photo 1 April 3 1917 front Plan for Army

At the time, the US military was not prepared to fight on US soil or abroad.  The US Army numbered only 127,000 and there were 86,000 in the national guard.  As many as half of these soldiers lacked the training, experience, and physical stamina which would prepare them for the trenches. When war was declared, the War Department asked for $3 billion (an amount previously unheard of!) to build training camps, and to purchase rifles, artillery, and airplanes.

To combat the lack of men in the US military, the debate between raising an army using only volunteers or initiating a draft began.

Photo 2 April 20 1917 pg 23 How America will Recruit

The idea of conscription had been envisioned as early as December 1916.  It had been brought to Wilson’s attention in February 1917, as the threat of war loomed and the realization that the numbers in the federal army, navy, and national guard were too few.

Photo 3 February 9, 1917 Navy wants 25,000

Photo 4 April 15 1917 Land and Sea Forces Enlarged

The President at first wanted to utilize only volunteer enlistment to supply troops.  After the declaration, Wilson asked for an immediate increase of 1 million men to volunteer for service immediately, with 2 million required within 2 years.

Photo 5 April 5, 1917 Army of 2 million men

Another issue, was that the US government was not clear on if troops would have to go “over there.”  They were prepared to make a declaration of war against Germany and to defend the United States, but it seemed as if they were not ready to actually send troops to aid the horrific fighting already happening in France.  One historian, Thomas Fleming wrote about “the almost incredible naivete that underlay the US decision to declare war on Germany.”  He also recounts that the Senate Majority leader Thomas S. Martin was shocked that the US may have to have an army in France, exclaiming “Good Lord! You’re not going to send soldiers over there, are you?”

On April 5, 1917, the Springfield Daily News printed an article about this very topic.  The article speculated that within 6 months, American troops would be sending “a considerable fighting force.”

Photo 6 April 5 1917 pg 7 American Soliders Expected in Trenches

As the months went on article after article appeared in the Springfield paper, calling for troops and notifying residents about enlistment opportunities.

Photo 7 April 12 1917 front Call for volunteers

Photo 8 April 14 1917 front Enlistment to start Monday

The newspaper printed names and stories about some of the men who were volunteering to enlist daily. Even retired Army General J. Warren Keifer, age 81 and having the experience of both the Civil War and the Spanish American War volunteered his services.

Photo 9 April 27 1917 pg 23 Keifer tenders service

The impossible task of raising an army using only volunteers led to the dauntless task for Wilson to push a Conscription bill through congress.

Photo 10 April 18 1917 front Wilson push bill part 1

Photo 11 April 18 1917 pg 8 Wilson push bill part 2

Next time, we will continue exploring military service during WWI and delve into the draft and the Selective Service Act of 1917.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.  We want your feedback!

Food Rationing in Wartime America: How Clark County Helped Feed the War (Part 2)

by Sherri Goudy

By mid-May, there was a patriotic battle cry being spread across the country to “feed the world.” In Clark County and neighboring areas in Ohio, they referred to themselves as “Soldiers of the Soil” and they united to increase food production, even going so far as to plan a “more daylight” proposition, which was later denied due to conflicts with state law.

Photo 16 May 13 1917 US Feed the World

In early July, the front page of the Springfield Sunday News boasted the success of the crops by the “Home Guard.”

Photo 17 July 1 1917 Photos of gardens

Even as the successful growth of crops across Springfield, reminders continued to flood the daily news about ways to continue economizing “for the sake of your country.”  Many of these ads and articles were directed at women. The image of Uncle Sam provided weekly specials offered to help the housewife shop frugally.

Photo 18 July 13 1917 Ad I want you to keep economizing

Women were also asked to help with canning efforts, and this article from July 22, 1917 asks women to remember soldiers and donate part of their canned goods to the Red Cross.

Photo 19 July 22 1917 Housewivs canning remember the soldiers

And although a seemingly dauntless task, women were asked to consider “wheatless days” twice weekly to help with conservation efforts.

Photo 20 August 5 1917 Wheatless day recommended by health experts

By early August, food conservation was an issue asked of all citizens regardless of sex, age, or class.  In order to properly manage the wartime efforts to conserve, distribute, and transport food the US Food Administration was established on August 10, 1917.   Headed by future President Herbert Hoover, the programs established relied heavily on American’s compassion and sense of patriotism to support the war effort. The Springfield News created a section of the newspaper called “Winning the War at Home” dedicated to articles related to the efforts to conserve food.

Photo 21 August 26 1917 Us Food Admin

This particular article gives tips from the newly formed administration, as well as providing information about how each woman in the Us could become a member of the administration to assist in the efforts.

Photo 22 August 26 1917 US Food Admin bottom

Another article from “Winning the War at Home” dated September 23, 1917 shows a huge mountain of wheat to be shipped to Europe.  The headline reads “A Slice a Day Did This.”

Photo 23 September 23 1917 Winning the War A Slice A Day did this and other headlines

Ads encouraged citizens to eat more fish and oysters and save meat,

Photo 24 September 20 1917 Ad Eat Fish and Oysters

and markets provided incentives such as prizes and daily demonstrations to encourage sales during “pure food economy week.”

Photo 25 September 23 1917 Ad full page Myers Market pure food economy

By October, Springfield had formed a Food Conservation Campaign Committee and was planning to go home to home to provide educational opportunities to families.

Photo 26 October 14 1917 Food Conservation Committee

Citizens were also asked to sign pledge cards, as this political cartoon shows.

Photo 27 October 28 1917 Sign a card, help tighten belt

By November 1, 1917 more than 2,300 pledge cards had been signed because of the 400 workers in the Food Conservation Campaign.

Photo 28 November 1 1917 Clark Co Makes record in food drive

Food rationing, gardening efforts, and substitution of former staples in meal planning were difficult for families, but the efforts of local newspapers, advertising and posters, and the formation of local food boards made things a little easier.  As a result of these conservation efforts, food shipments to Europe were doubled within a year.  Springfield and Clark County played a vital role in those endeavors.

In our next blog, we will focus on how the men of Clark County became soldiers during WWI, by volunteering for service and the draft.  As always, we welcome your feedback!  Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Food Rationing in Wartime America: How Clark County Helped Feed the War (Part 1)

by Sherri Goudy

During the first 3 years of WWI, prior to US entering, the food supply in Europe had diminished and the allies were facing starvation.  War had transformed fields with crops into battlefields and distribution of imported foods had been halted by the irregularity of transportation. So, what could the citizens of America do for the allies in Europe, especially when food supplies in the US were short as well?

As America entered the war on April 2, 1917 the rally to increase food supply for both the US and our allies began immediately.  As was happening across the US, Springfield newspapers were flooded with daily articles asking its citizens to conserve food, increase planting, and limit their intake of meats, sugar, and grains.  Political cartoons showed images of wasteful Americans and that the world’s food shortage was on our shoulders.

Photo 1 May 16 1917 PC tighten your belt

On April 6th, the Secretary of Agriculture had asked all of America to “do his or her bit” to plant gardens wherever they could, even in vacant city lots.

Photo 2 April 6 1917 Increase food supply

City officials in Springfield immediately began plans for these Victory Gardens and to encourage “every available lot for cultivation.”

Photo 3 April 21 1917 Spfld Chamber meeting garden plans

Every man, woman and child was asked to participate in this effort to generate food supply.  President Wilson expected that each citizen would participate in the “great civilian army” doing their part to cultivate the land and proving that without their “whole-hearted services, ‘mere fighting would be useless.’”

Photo 4 April 27 1917 What Pres expects of citizens

The Boy Scouts planned a national planting day on April 21st

Photo 5 April 20 1917 Boy Scouts

and it was predicted in the Springfield paper that the War could end “in the backyard of this city” with women having the “opportunity to do her ‘bit’ in [the] garden, kitchen, and market.

Photo 6 April 22 1917 War in your backyard

By the end of April, land cultivation was in full swing, and focus began to also include conserving meats and grains and even fasting on certain days.  Tips in one article include being thrifty by “buying enough and allowing no wastage from table,” preparing meals with cheaper ingredients, and taking note of “how much of such staples as flour, sugar, milk, cooking fat, etc. Is used each week for a month and seeing if there are any ways of cutting down the quantity needed.”  Articles and advice columns covered entire pages which included menu options for “meatless days,” ways to feed a family of eight with one dollar, and “war bread” – a more economical bread, using other grains and ingredients in place of white flour.

Photo 7 April 29, 1917 Two meatless days and other headlines

Photo 8 May 6 1917 Meatless and numerous

In early May, fasting as requested by the Catholic Church in Cincinnati, was asked “for [the] good of nation.”

Photo 9 April 30 1917 3 Catholic Churches to fast

And the call for national prohibition to conserve the nations grain supplies.

Photo 10 May 13 1917 Senate food supply

Photo 11 May 13 1917 Senate food supply part 2

Everyone was concerned with the food situation in the US and abroad, and it was each person’s patriotic duty to do whatever was necessary to feed our allies.

Crop planting continued to be a major concern in May, as well as the impending issue of rural farms suffering from lack of farmers as more land was being utilized for cultivation and the draft and volunteer enlistment began.  The Secretary of Agriculture addressed these issues and wanted to ensure that men rejected from military and naval duties could be called to “agricultural service.”

Photo 12 May 4 1917 Bread Bullets will win the war

Another article on the front page of the Springfield paper asked people who were planning vacations to give up their vacation time to support the local rural farming initiative.

Photo 13 May 6 1917 War Dept bottom of page

Other articles gave advise from the local horticultural society on what crops to plant.

Photo 14 May 6 1917 War Dept bottom of page

Springfield was well known at that time as a center for manufacturing agricultural implements. The local newspaper wrote on May 6th, 1917 that “Springfield [would] play an important part in planting of grain and cultivation of crops… in the great effort to increase the food supply of the United States.”

Photo 15 May 6 1917 Spfld importance in war Raise corn and sidemeat

Please check back next week for part 2 of this post!  As always, leave a comment because we want to know what you think.

Clark County and the War Propaganda Machine: How Posters Sold the War

by Sherri Goudy

America Gave You All You Have to Give - LoC

In my last blog, we discussed how Clark County immediately began to mobilize to support the Great War.  Citizens who had been convinced of neutrality and staying out of the war “over there,” began to enlist in the army, volunteer for the Red Cross, display flags in every home and storefront, buy war bonds, and plant victory gardens all in support of the war.  But how did these ordinary citizens become inspired to take such actions?


Up until the Cold War, the United States maintained only a small standing army, so when war broke out it was necessary to mobilize the entire country. The government needed to acquire enough people, money, and time to recruit and train troops, produce arms and equipment, and all the supplies needed to fight.

After the Declaration of War in 1917, there was an extreme urgency to joining the war in Europe.  Public support was crucial to the war effort and in order to influence the American people, the government began to promote patriotic ideas through the creation of The Committee on Public Information.  This committee established under Wilson and headed by George Creel, was the first committee solely devoted to propaganda.

Creel, a journalist, was against censorship in the media, but only to selective ends; he was strictly against publishing anything that would be considered enemy propaganda.  There was to be no publishing of anything that would negatively impact the public’s opinion about the war. The goal was to create “a publicity proposition” of which posters would be the forefront of attention.  He enlisted an “army of artists who rallied to the colors” creating beautiful patriotic images.  One of the most iconic images ever produced was James Montgomery Flagg’s “I Want You” poster.

I Want You

As head of the Committee on Public Information, Creel started a nationwide publicity campaign and as part of this he assembled a team of 75,000 public speakers known as the “Four Minute Men.” These men gave brief patriotic speeches, not lasting longer than 4 minutes, throughout the country supporting the war effort. They used rallies, parades, pamphlets, songs, and of course posters to gain support for the war.

Four Minute men - Washington poster

These posters captivated the viewer and encouraged men to enlist, women to join the Red Cross, and everyone to support the war effort through food conservation, buying war bonds, and planting Victory Gardens.  Their imagery was meant to make a person stare, to clearly see the good and evil, the suffering, and told you how you could help, how you SHOULD help.

The emotional response to these works of art was undeniable.  How could you deny the stern stare of Uncle Sam, with his finger pointing at you, telling you to join the war effort?  How could you stand by and not join the Red Cross when staring at the vision of a nurse holding an injured soldier declaring you were “The Greatest Mother in the World.” The following posters may have been used to “influence” and “sell” the war, but their imagery evokes a real emotional response even today. And they inspired citizens in every town in America, like those in Clark County, to do their part and ensure victory.

red cross 50981v

Knit your bit-red cross

Red Cross

Americans all victory loanBondsAREBombs

Boy scouts- liberty loan

Food administration

WHC - Save the Fruit Crop - Domino Sugar Ad July 1917.jpg

In my next blog, we will discuss the formation of the US Food Administration and the efforts to conserve food in America while ensuring we could feed our troops and allies.

Let us know what you think or if there is a topic related to Clark County in the Great War that you want us to write about.

Clark County and WWI: Patriotism and Support Immediately after the Declaration of War

by Sherri Goudy

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed as he stood before Congress, “The world must be made safe for democracy!”  Just 4 days later, Congress and the House agreed and declared war on Germany.  Following a continued period of neutrality since the onslaught of WWI in 1914, the United States was immediately thrust into the war. Although no troops had been trained and no preparations had been made for this shift, Americans rallied behind Wilson, who went on to lead what was at the time the largest war-mobilization effort in our nation’s history.

The change in attitude seemed to happen almost overnight. Wilson had run for election and reelection on a platform of strict neutrality.  Even as the war became increasingly gruesome, and Americans lost their lives with the sinking of the Lusitania and later events, and even as Americans voiced public outcry at these horrific tragedies, Wilson remained steadfast.  But all that changed in the spring of 1917 with the interception of the notorious Zimmerman telegram.  The British intercepted and decoded this telegram sent from the German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing an alliance with Mexico against the United States. When Wilson learned of this plot against the US he immediately proposed that the US should start arming its ships against German attacks and authorized the State department to make public the contents of the Zimmerman telegram.

Within a month of this revelation, the US formally declared war against Imperial Germany.  The headlines in Springfield read “State of War is Declared” and the full text of the War Resolution was published.

War Resolution

For the next few weeks, the entire nation banded in support of the United States position against Germany.  Springfield published headline after headline, daily, informing the citizens of Clark County, Ohio about national and local contributions to the war effort.  Every man, woman, child from every background and every age could contribute and was expected to do so.  They couldn’t let their country down.

The US immediately began to financially support its allied nations in their war efforts as well.  The front page of the Springfield Daily News two days after the declaration of war was made read, “Huge Loan Pledged to Allies.”  Wilson was pledging $5 billion to “assume share of common burden” with its allies.  He was ready to roll out his war program which included this loan to allied countries to help “replenish their treasuries against the drain of their military and naval efforts in the common cause against Germany.”

Wilson ready to issue bond

Wilson ready to issue bond text

Even political cartoons reflected the sentiment of financial support to the “Allied Democracy.”  On April 10, 1917 the Springfield paper published this cartoon featuring Uncle Sam wading into the ocean, with billions of dollars to loan.

PC There's plenty more where that came from $$$

Another part of Wilson’s war program included raising their military forces to a million men, and there was no shortage of support for this plan. Locals began to enlist immediately.  The day the declaration hit headlines, there was an article in the Springfield Daily News – “Local Boy Admitted to American Navy.”  “Dewey T. Walp…passed the preliminary examination for entrance to the navy at the local recruiting station recently.”  And further down, the article reads, “A number of applicants have signified their intention of becoming sailors of the seas during the last few days.”

Local Boy Navy

Wittenberg University also participated in this effort to increase the number of enlisted men. C. G. Heckert, the President of the University said that “any member of the senior class who is drafted to the Federal army or who enlists in the service, will be granted a diploma upon application.”

Wittenberg seniors enlisted will get diploma

Women also wanted to contribute to the war effort.  This headline from two days after the Declaration of War reports “American Women Eager to Make Sacrifice for Country.”

US women report for war

This article states that as many as 3 million women were preparing for some sort of service to the United States including “nursing, to take the place if necessary of men called from farms and factories, to serve on street railways and railroads, to drive trucks or do clerical work, to prepare bandages and surgical kits, to do guard and patrol duty, to care for the nation’s food supply or to fill the places of professional men, such as doctors, dentists, and chemists, who might be called to war.”

One of the organizations which was helping to educate and mobilize women was the National League for Women’s Services.  This national program had members in big cities, such as Columbus, which in turn came to towns such as Springfield to organize women there, as this article from April 11, 1917 shows.

Women organize

The actions of local men and women to enlist and organize were crucial to the support of the war effort and to making President Wilson’s war program effective.  But what could the everyday citizen do?  From conserving food, war bond drives, and displaying flags, locals had plenty of ways to demonstrate their patriotism.  But immediately after the declaration, there were two major events that happened in Springfield, Ohio which banded all of Clark County together.

Ohio Governor James Cox proclaimed that all Ohioans could unite and do something to show support to President Wilson during this crisis.  He issued a “Proclamation of Sacred Service” on April 11, 1917 to all the citizens in Ohio to gather and “lift their hearts and voices to Almighty God, that we may be divinely guided.”

Cox sacred service proclaim

Prayers, meetings for support

Above the headline for the day of the Sacred Services which read “English Guns Blow Teuton Trenches to Bits” and “What Prussian Autocracy Must Meet in Fight with Uncle Sam” were solemn sentiments asking for “Divine Guidance” and asking that the “God of Battles” still watch over the American people in the face of war and brutality.

Prayers headline topper

A few days after these services were held in Springfield and across the state and country, the “Patriotic spirit of the city” culminated in the planning for a mass meeting and parade.  Everyone was in full support of the war effort and this parade, and in fact the city expected more than 10,000 people from all over the country would come to Springfield to participate.  No one could be excluded from this patriotic demonstration, so stores and shops closed early to ensure their employees could be among the participants.

Parade and programs

Parade ad store will close to participate

The paper reported that the parade “surpasse[d] any event ever held in the city.”  More than 5,000 marchers attended, including “practically every organization, class, sect, and nationality in the city.”

Saturday Patriotic Parade

Men, women, children – every citizen came out and supported the war and Wilson’s shift from neutrality to “all in.” The attitude of the nation was reflected in the address given at that mass patriotic meeting at Memorial Hall “And now the testing time has come.  You are here tonight, men and women, who carry in your veins the mingled strains of the blood of many nations, and tonight you unite in a single-minded loyal devotion to our common country.”

Saturday Patriotic Parade, children

The great war “over there” suddenly became our war, and the nation seemed to fully support this. But what brought about this change? Was it really the attitude of every American to support this gruesome, bloody conflict?  We will discuss this further in our upcoming blog posts.

If there is a topic related to Springfield and Clark County in WWI that you want us to write about, let us know!  We want to tell the stories you want to learn more about.