History of the American Legion Auxiliary

For nearly every man in World War I who endured the dangers and hardships of camp, shore and battlefront, there was a woman serving at home to help make possible America’s victory—his wife, mother, sister, daughter, or granddaughter.

The war was won, and the men and women of the armed forces banded together in The American Legion to carry forward their services to the country in peacetime. It was only natural that the women of their families should desire to continue to serve with them. The result was the American Legion Auxiliary, the largest and most influential women’s organization of its kind in the world today.

The establishment of an Auxiliary to The American Legion was provided for by the first National Convention of The American Legion in 1919. By the time of the 1920 National Convention, 1,342 local Units of this Auxiliary had been formed; intensive organizational efforts were authorized. The first National Convention of the Auxiliary was held in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1921. At that time, the name “American Legion Auxiliary” was adopted and the first national officers elected.

The Auxiliary grew from a first year enrollment of 121,000 to approximately 500,000 at the beginning of World War II. After the women of World War II families became eligible, the enrollment rose rapidly to a record of 1,001,545 in 1955, and since has remained around the 800,000 mark. The number of local Units of the Auxiliary is approximately 9,500. The Auxiliary organization (i.e., local, state and national) parallels that of The American Legion. Auxiliary National Headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.