The American War Mothers organized on 27 September 1917, initially in Indiana, in response to a call from the national government for food conservation. By March of 1924, the AWM had 23,000 members and an official publication, the American War Mothers Magazine. After numerous local chapters developed not only in Indiana and other states but nationally as well, Congress granted the organization its national charter on 24 February 1925. This charter was amended in 1942 and again in 1953. Every two years the AWM holds both state and national conferences, while in the alternate years, state and national board meetings take place. The AWM is still a thriving organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,500 members nationwide.
Both Indiana and Kentucky have several branches of the national organization. Indiana's main chapter was named after the first national president of the AWM, Alice E. French. The establishment of the Jefferson County Chapter, 19 April 1919, came soon after that of the Kentucky State Chapter, organized 18 March 1919. The AWM sponsored and dedicated many memorials around Kentucky to honor fallen veterans. These include the bridge over the Kentucky River at Frankfort, the flagpole on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn, the "Quiet Room" at the Veterans Hospital, and several other "memorial markers" throughout the state.