"Our women are serving actively in many ways in this war, and they are doing a grand job on both the fighting front and the home front." -- Eleanor Roosevelt, 1944 Our Mothers' War is a stunning and unprecedented portrait of women during World War II, a war that forever transformed the way women participate in American society. Never before has the vast range of American women's experience during this pivotal era been brought together in one book. Now, Our Mothers' War re-creates what American women from all walks of life were doing and thinking, on the home front and abroad. Like all great histories, Our Mothers' War began with an illuminating discovery. After finding a journal and letters her mother had written while serving with the Red Cross in the Pacific, journalist Emily Yellin started unearthing what her mother and other women of her mother's generation went through during a time when their country asked them to step into roles they had never been invited, or allowed, to fill before. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including personal interviews and previously unpublished letters and diaries, Yellin shows what went on in the hearts and minds of the real women behind the female images of World War II -- women working in war plants; mothers and wives sending their husbands and sons off to war and sometimes death; women joining the military for the first time in American history; nurses operating in battle zones in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific; and housewives coping with rationing. Yellin also delves into lesser-known stories, including: tales of female spies, pilots, movie stars, baseball players, politicians, prostitutes, journalists, and even fictional characters; firsthand accounts from the wives of the scientists who created the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, African-American women who faced Jim Crow segregation laws at home even as their men were fighting enemy bigotry and injustice abroad, and Japanese-American women locked up as prisoners in their own country. Yellin explains how Wonder Woman was created in 1941 to fight the Nazi menace and became the first female comic book superhero, as well as how Marilyn Monroe was discovered in 1944 while working with her mother-in-law packing parachutes at a war plant in Burbank, California. Our Mothers' War gives center stage to those who might be called "the other American soldiers."
We Are a College at War weaves together the individual World War II experiences of students and faculty at the all-female Rockford College (now Rockford University) in Rockford, Illinois, to draw a broader picture of the role American women and college students played during this defining period in U.S. history. It uses the Rockford community’s letters, speeches, newspaper stories, and personal recollections to demonstrate how American women during the Second World War claimed the right to be everywhere—in factories and other traditionally male workplaces, and even on the front lines—and links their efforts to the rise of feminism and the fight for women’s rights in the 1960s and 1970s.
American Women during World War II documents the lives and stories of women who contributed directly to the war effort via official and semi-official military organizations, as well as the millions of women who worked in civilian defense industries, ranging from aircraft maintenance to munitions manufacturing and much more. It also illuminates how the war changed the lives of women in more traditional home front roles. All women had to cope with rationing of basic household goods, and most women volunteered in war-related programs. Other entries discuss institutional change, as the war affected every aspect of life, including as schools, hospitals, and even religion. American Women during World War II provides a handy one-volume collection of information and images suitable for any public or professional library.
Defying industry logic and gender expectations, women started flocking to see horror films in the early 1940s. The departure of the young male audience and the surprise success of the film Cat People convinced studios that there was an untapped female audience for horror movies, and they adjusted their production and marketing strategies accordingly. Phantom Ladies reveals the untold story of how the Hollywood horror film changed dramatically in the early 1940s, including both female heroines and female monsters while incorporating elements of “women’s genres” like the gothic mystery. Drawing from a wealth of newly unearthed archival material, from production records to audience surveys, Tim Snelson challenges long-held assumptions about gender and horror film viewership. Examining a wide range of classic horror movies, Snelson offers us a new appreciation of how dynamic this genre could be, as it underwent seismic shifts in a matter of months. Phantom Ladies, therefore, not only includes horror films made in the early 1940s, but also those produced immediately after the war ended, films in which the female monster was replaced by neurotic, psychotic, or hysterical women who could be cured and domesticated. Phantom Ladies is a spine-tingling, eye-opening read about gender and horror, and the complex relationship between industry and audiences in the classical Hollywood era.
How midcentury periodicals that fostered an indelible middle-class ideal for American women also confronted the happy homemaker stereotype Read by millions of women each month, such mainstream periodicals as Ladies' Home Journal and McCall's delivered powerful messages about women's roles and behavior. In 1963 Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique accused the genre of helping to create what Friedan termed "the problem that has no name" -- that is, presenting women as stereotypical happy homemakers with limited interests and abilities. But this ideal of contented, domestic women was far from monolithic in the periodical literature of the time. Nancy A. Walker's analysis of a wide range of magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Redbook, and others, reveals their depiction of a broader, fuller image of womanhood. As she notes a reflection of complex debates about the nature of domestic life in the 1940s and 1950s, she perceives editorial policies that mixed the banalities with urgent actualities. Rather than making isolated decisions about content, editors interacted with advertising agencies, with manufacturers of products, with experts in such fields as nutrition, medicine, technology, and childcare, and with the preferences and values of their readers. When World War II altered family patterns by taking millions into the armed services and drawing many women to jobs in defense plants, magazine articles both supported and attacked the new roles women took, while applauding women's home-front contributions to the war effort. After the war the magazines reflected Cold War anxieties while touting the rising consumer culture. Even as magazine ads promoted a white, suburban, middle-class ideal, such series as "How America Lives" in Ladies' Home Journal revealed a society that was economically and ethnically diverse. The pages of women's magazines of the 1940s and 1950s helped to shape and expand the domestic world our mothers inhabited. Examining the articles, fiction, advice columns, and advertisements that the magazines comprised during midcentury, Walker argues persuasively that the contradictory messages were a reflection of complex cultural values and institutions at a time when the domestic world became increasingly important as both a symbol of American democracy and the site of personal fulfillment. Nancy A. Walker, a professor of English at Vanderbilt University, is the author of "A Very Serious Thing": Women's Humor and American Culture and Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women (University Press of Mississippi). She is the coeditor of Redressing the Balance: American Women's Literary Humor from Colonial Times to the 1980s (University Press of Mississippi).
WASPs, WACs, WAVEs, Marines, Army and Navy nurses, cooks, clerks, OSS intelligence gatherers, and other service women--forty in all--offer intimate, first-hand accounts of their rigorous experiences overseas and the mistreatment they sometimes faced.
Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist Wendy Melillo authors the first book to explore the history of the Ad Council and the campaigns that brought public service announcements to the nation through the mass media. How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns details how public service advertising campaigns became part of our national conversation and changed us as a society. The Ad Council began during World War II as a propaganda arm of President Roosevelt's administration to preserve its business interests. Happily for the ad industry, it was a double play: the government got top-notch work; the industry got an insider relationship that proved useful when warding off regulation. From Rosie the Riveter to Smokey Bear to McGruff the Crime Dog, How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America explores the issues and campaigns that have been paramount to the nation's collective memory and looks at challenges facing public service campaigns in the current media environment.
Elizabeth Richardson was a Red Cross volunteer who worked as a Clubmobile hostess during World War II until her death in a plane crash in July 1945. Her job was to provide free doughnuts and coffee, cigarettes and gum to American soldiers on duty in England, and later in France. More importantly, she and her colleagues provided a slice of home. They were American girls with whom soldiers could talk, flirt, dance, and perhaps find companionship. For the most part, the job was not hazardous--except when V-1 rockets rained down on London--but it required physical endurance as well as the honed skills of a counselor. Liz Richardson was a witty writer and astute observer. Her letters and diaries reveal an intelligent, independent, and personable woman. In his commentary, James H. Madison provides information about her life, the activities of the Red Cross Clubmobiles, and the war. This book is an exceptional window into a past that is all too quickly fading from memory.
This is the first comprehensive study in English of Soviet women who fought against the genocidal, misogynist, Nazi enemy on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. Drawing on a vast array of original archival, memoir, and published sources, this book captures the everyday experiences of Soviet women fighting, living and dying on the front.