Research Guides: World War II: Women in the Armed Forces (2022)

A list of archival materials and collections related to women's service in the armed forces, both at home and abroad, during World War II.

  • Jane Barton (1918-2005)

    Jane Barton attended officer training for the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) at Mount Holyoke College. She was stationed in Washington, D.C., where she coordinated housing for WAVES officers and oversaw public relations for the Potomac River Naval Command and the U.S. Naval Barracks. She was editor of two newsletters for WAVES personnel, The Havelock and Scuttlebutt, and in 1947 initiated the first reunion of WAVES personnel. She served in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1968, where she trained women recruits and oversaw public relations in the Albany, New York, area. During her naval service, Barton rose in rank from an Ensign to a Commander. This collection includes correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, printed material, radio scripts, photographs, Naval Reserve recruiting brochures, and issues of The Havelock and Scuttlebutt. The collection documents her years as a WAVES officer during World War II, her role in organizing later reunions of the WAVES, and her service in the USNR from 1948 to 1968.

  • Ruth P. Boehner

    Ruth P. Boehner, a teacher from Webster, Mass., enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in 1943. This collection consists of a typed letter from Boehner describing her first months in the Women's Army Corps; also a note concerning Boehner's subsequent career.

  • Nona Baldwin Brown (1918-2014)

    Nona Baldwin Brown received an advanced degree in journalism from Columbia University (M.S. 1940) and was immediately hired by the New York Times. Brown temporarily left her job and joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in the United States Naval Reserve, serving from 1942 to 1945 as a public relations press officer. In 1944, she married Clinton Bleecker Duma Brown in New York City, both in their military uniforms. Brown left the WAVES and returned to the New York Times Washington Bureau in 1945.

  • Bertha Marie Strittmatter Clark

    Corporal Bertha Strittmatter enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), later known as the Women's Army Corp (WAC). She was stationed at Stout Field, Indianapolis, Indiana. Strittmatter was a columnist for Wactivities and the Fielder. This collection consists of When WAC Was a Dirty Word, a personal account of Strittmatter's experiences as a WAC. Anecdotes illustrate unfavorable attitudes toward WACs, problems they encountered in their personal and work lives, and how sentiments changed with increasing recognition of their contributions to the war effort.

  • Winifred Quick Collins (1911-1999)

    Navy captain Winifred Quick Collins was commissioned as an ensign in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in August 1942, and in 1948 she was in the first group of women commissioned in the United States Navy. In 1957 she was appointed Chief of Naval Personnel for Women, the most senior position for which women were eligible; she was the only woman line officer with the rank of captain. She retired in 1962 and was active in a number of organizations, including the National Navy League, in which she was the first woman elected vice-president and director (1965).

  • Ernestine R. Etienne (1921-1996)

    Ernestine R. Etienne was an African American member of the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Etienne, from New Roads, Louisiana, enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in Houston, Texas, on December 17, 1942, when she was 21 years old. She trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and worked as a baker for the 1550th Station Complement at the Women's Army Corps facility at Fort Knox in Kentucky. This collection includes a service record book with entries from Etienne about her personal experiences, a United States Army Separation Qualification Record, and photographs primarily depicting African American military members.

  • Vivian M. Gammons (1922-2000)

    Vivian M. Gammons lived in Quincy, Massachusetts, and joined the Women's Army Corp (WAC) in 1943. She served in France and was promoted to sergeant. The collection consists of a wooden WAC box with Okerfelt's name and identification number stenciled on it; letters to her, mostly from her boyfriend Joseph Wisnowski, a soldier stationed in the Pacific; photographs; and other materials from the war.

  • Marjorie B. Healey

    Marjorie B. Healey served in Europe during World War II with the Army as a dietitian. This collection consists of letters, mostly to her parents, from Healey's service abroad.

  • Harriet R. Hulett

    Harriet R. Hulett joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942 and was sent to Des Moines, Iowa, and Nacogdoches, Texas, for training. This collection consists of a (disassembled) scrapbook including WAAC brochures and memoranda, programs, photographs, postcards, and clippings.

  • Katherine M. Keene (1919-2013)

    Katherine Mildred Keene enlisted in the U.S. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in December 1942, and in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in August 1943. From September 1943 to May 1945, she was stationed in London, England, working for the secret intelligence and research and analysis branches of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Following Victory in Europe Day, Keene became secretary to the head of the OSS Research and Analysis Branch in the European Theatre of Operations and served in briefly in Paris, France, before being stationed in Germany. She was demobilized in October 1945 and returned home to Seattle. This collection contains correspondence, diaries, photographs, a WAC uniform, and ephemera documenting Keene's service.

  • Harriette Gould Myerson (b. 1919)

    Massachusetts native Harriette "Hat" Gould Myerson entered the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in August 1942, reporting to the Training Center at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. In 1943, she went to Adjutant General's School at Fort Washington, Maryland, and after completing her training was sent to the Army Administration School in Richmond, Kentucky, to be a Classification and Assignment Officer. Myerson worked at various posts before she was discharged from the Army in 1946. She later attended Radcliffe College, graduating from the Management Training Program in 1947. This collection includes photographs, WAAC graduation programs, military decorations, correspondence between Myerson and fellow WAACs during World War II, and her military personnel file.

  • Ruth Thompson Peirce (1911-1994)

    Peirce, a native of Boston, Mass., was recruited by the FBI in 1941 to work as an undercover agent. She joined the Women's Army Corps in August 1942 and was one of the first women intercept operators for the Boston Intercept Command. She was later stationed as a flight dispatcher in Bangor, Maine, and at Mitchell Air Force Base, Long Island, New York. She was discharged from the military in 1945. Throughout her life she retained an avid interest in women in the military, collecting clippings and other information on the subject.

  • Radcliffe College Archives War Records

    This collection includes information about Radcliffe College students who served in the armed forces in World War II. It is arranged by class (1936-1943) and by individual, and includes clippings, photographs, certificates, newsletters, postcards, correspondence, and a reminiscence by Mabelle Gertrude Lutze (1983).

  • Elizabeth Reynard (1898-1962)

    Elizabeth Reynard was assistant director of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) during World War II. This collection includes correspondence, articles, reports, newsletters, manuals, photos, clippings, phonograph records, and other material reflecting Reynard's career in the Navy, including her assignments with the WAVES at WAVES training school, the Naval Training School, and on the U.S.S. Hunter. It also includes information about WAVES personnel and organization regulations, and about other units of military women in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.

  • Josephine Biase Schinto [in Jeanne Schinto]

    Josephine Biase Schinto served with the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) during World War II. This collection includes documents and photographs pertaining to her service.

  • Lavonne Shand (1910-1997)

    Lavonne (Howerton) Shand was a telephone operator in Longview, Washington, when her husband enlisted in the Navy in 1943. She signed on with the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and was trained at the U.S. Naval Training School in the Bronx. Other postings were in Rhode Island; Milledgeville, Georgia; Camp Parks, California; and Camp Douglas, Utah. The collection consists of one scrapbook documenting her time in the WAVES and includes newsletters, programs, correspondence, photographs, clippings, cartoons, sheet music, and other memorabilia.

  • Ruth Streeter (1895-1990)

    In 1943, Ruth Cheney Streeter became the first woman to attain the rank of major in the United States Marine Corps and became the first director of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve. She retired in 1945 as a colonel. This collection contains a typescript copy of History of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve: A Critical Analysis of Its Development and Operation, 1943-1945, written for the Department of the Navy by Streeter and Colonel Katherine A. Towle, assistant director and later director of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Also included is a 1981 article about Streeter and two images from Streeter's self-published book, Tales of an Ancient Marine.

  • Katharine Wolcott Toll (1913-2007)

    Katharine Wolcott Toll was a social worker and lieutenant in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). While the bulk of her World War II material is housed in other archives, the collection does contain some correspondence pertaining to her service in the WAVES.

  • United States Naval Reserve Women's Reserve

    The Women's Reserve of the U.S. Naval Reserve, formerly known as the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), was established on July 30, 1942. This folder contains biographies of Captains Winifred Redden Quick and Louise K. Wilde; a history of the WAVES; and papers of a conference of women District and Air Command Assistants.

  • Dorothy Warren (1905-2008)

    Dorothy Warren served as Director of Training and Records Officer for the United States Women's Army Corps (1942-1946). The collection includes a copy of Dorothy Warren's birth certificate, resumes, letters of recognition, correspondence, and manuscripts of an article Warren wrote. Most of the collection relates to Warren's military service, and includes clippings, orders, memos, training manuals, photographs, and printed material.

  • Hazel Hitson Weidman (b. 1923)

    Medical anthropologist Hazel Marie Hitson Weidman joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in 1943; she attended boot camp at the U.S. Naval Training School at Hunter College, Bronx, New York. After taking aptitude tests during boot camp, Weidman was sent to the Atlanta Naval Air Station to learn to instruct pilots in celestial navigation, which encompassed instrumental flight and radio navigation. During the war she served at several naval air bases including the New Orleans Naval Air Station and the Alameda and Livermore Naval Air Stations in California. Included in the collection are love letters received by Weidman during World War II, which offer glimpses into the lives of Navy and Army pilots during the war and the difficulties of maintaining long-distance romances during wartime.

  • Women's Overseas Service League Transcripts

    Founded in 1921, the Women's Overseas Service League (WOSL) is a national organization of women who served overseas with the United States Armed Forces. In 1983 WOSL began a project entitled "Carry On: An Oral History of Women's Overseas Service League Members." This collection consists of transcripts of seven interviews as well as one publication regarding the WOSL.

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