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WAVES files, 1939-1996 (Bulk: 1942-1945)
2.5 linear feet (10 containers)
Collection number: CA.MS.00007

Abstract:
Records of the WAVES, Smith College's unit of of the women's Naval Reserve. These files contain books, broadcasts, correspondence, printed materials, press releases, newspaper clippings, memoranda, notes and photographs.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Smith College Archives

Biographical / Historical

The United States entered WWII in 1941 and soon faced a serious shortage of manpower in the military. Congress, along with public interest and advocacy from various national organizations, forced the Department of the Navy (over considerable internal resistance) to start accepting women into their service to augment the many thousands of men already active in the war effort. On June 24, 1942, Congress passed an act to create a women's reserve as a branch of the Naval reserve; to be governed by the same rules and privileges, but limited in that women could only work non-combat duty in the continental U.S. The idea was to free trained Naval men from desk jobs in order to increase the active fighting force--thus the rallying theme, "Free a man to fight." The new women's Naval Reserve units were called the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services) and, with its sister Coast Guard Reserve the SPARS, proceeded to immediately set up training schools at many colleges and universities across the country. Basic training sites were located in Oklahoma (Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College at Stillwater), Iowa (Iowa State Teacher's College at Cedar Falls), Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin at Madison), Indiana (University of Indiana at Bloomington), and New York state (Hunter College in New York City). Officer training sites were established in Massachusetts at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, and at Smith College in Northampton.

The creation of the WAVES represented a fundamental change that was occurring in American society as the war effort increased. Women were moving from the home into the work force and gaining increasing independence. In WWI, 11,275 women served in the Navy, mainly in secretarial and office positions, but they were not recognized nor was their service publicized, and no formal program existed for their training. In 1942, for the first time women were in uniform, earning the same pay, doing the same work, following the same rules, and receiving the same respect as Navy men. The publicity surrounding the WAVES focused on their independence, intelligence and equality with their male counterparts. However, the naval officers took care to remind everyone of their gender when designing their uniforms. Pants were vetoed in favor of skirts, fitted jackets, and stack heeled shoes that served to emphasize the femininity of the recruits. Women came to the WAVES from all sections of society, bringing a wide variety of skills and experience. Originally, black women were banned from the WAVES, creating a great deal of friction at some of the training schools. The President lifted the ban in 1944 and later that year the first black female officers graduated from the Smith College training school.

By the end of the war over 83,000 women were serving in the Navy, a number significantly over the original estimate of 11,000. They filled positions such as parachute riggers, pharmacist's mates, instrument flying trainers, store keepers, radio dispatchers, clerks, mechanics, lab technicians, mail carriers, decoders, and navigators. Most of the officers were restricted to the rank of lieutenant with the notable exception of Captain Mildred McAfee (the president of Wellesley College) who was the director the WAVES. Soon after peace was declared in 1945, the WAVES and SPARS programs were dismantled and the women who had been in the Navy returned to their homes or civilian jobs.

Scope and Contents

The WAVES files consist of 2.5 linear feet including books, broadcast materials, correspondence, printed materials, press releases, newspaper clippings, memoranda, notes and photographs documenting the Naval training school for women that was located on the Smith College campus from 1942-1945.

This collection is organized into four series:

  1. I. General
  2. II. Publications
  3. III. Photographs
  4. IV. Audio-Visual

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

WAVES files,College Archives, CA-MS-00007, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

Sources unknown

Processing Information

Processed by Mariah Leavitt and Kate Baker '02.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Contents List
Series I: General



Alumnae House diary, financial and other records
1942-45

Box 180
Alumnae Relations
1942-43 undated

Box 180
Anniversaries
1943

Box 180
Anniversaries
1944

Box 180
Benefit Show
Feb. 1944

Box 180
Board of Directors
1942-43

Box 180
Broadcasts: correspondence
1942-44

Box 180
Broadcasts by Mr. Davis
1942-43

Box 180
Chaplain's Services
1943

Box 180
Citations
1946

Box 180
Cleaning Women
1942

Box 180
Commencements
1942-44

Box 180
Commencement Programs
1942-44

Box 180
Contract with Navy
1942-45

Box 180
Correspondence
1942-48

Box 180
Exhibit: Citron, Minna
ca.Dec. 1943

Box 180
Film "WAVES at Smith College": correspondence
1943

Box 180
General

See also Series IV.

Financial: Alumnae House Agreement
1942

Box 180
Financial: Cleaning Supplies
1942-43

Box 180
Financial: Direct Charges
1942-44

Box 180
Financial: Direct Charges Paid
1943-45

Box 180
Financial: Direct Salaries and Wages
1944

Box 180
Financial: Employees at Alumnae House
1943

Box 180.1
Financial: Expense Misc.
1942

Box 180.1
Financial: Final Reports
ca.Oct.1943-Dec.1944

Box 180.1
Financial: Final Report
Aug.1942-Sept.1943

Box 180.1
Financial: First Proposal to Navy
1942

Box 180.1
Financial: Fuel - Electricity
undated

Box 180.1
Financial: Furniture
1942-44

Box 180.1
Financial: Installation Charges
1942-43

Box 180.1
Financial: Lavatory Supplies
1942-43

Box 180.1
Financial: Oil
1942-43

Box 180.1
History
1942-80

Box 180.1
History
1942-80

Box 180.1
Housing
1943

Box 180.1
Instructions Governing Naval Training School
1943

Box 180.1
Keys
undated

Box 180.1
George King
1942 1945

Box 180.1
Letter to Students
1942

Box 180.1
Helen Lord and Belle Norton
1942

Box 180.1
Marines
1944

Box 180.1
Miss Mason-Schopfer
1943-44

Box 180.1
Record of Meetings
1942

Box 180.1
Mt. Holyoke Naval School
1943

Box 180.1
Naval Records
1945

Box 180.1
Navy Day
1942

Box 180.1
Officers: Lt. Com. P. Baker
1942-43

Box 180.1
Officers: Lt. Com. Bullis (also office)
1942

Box 180.1
Officers: Crandall
1942

Box 180.1
Officers: Lt. Com. M. Disert
1942-45

Box 180.1
Officers: Mildred McAfee
1943-46

Box 180.2
Officers: Marianne McNees
1942-44

Box 180.2
Officers: Lt. Elizabeth Reynard
1942-45

Box 180.2
Officers: Lt. Schoonover
1942-44

Box 180.2
General

see also Furniture

Officers: Capt. Underwood
1942-44

Box 180.2
Officers: Louise Wilde
1942-43

Box 180.2
Plaque Presentation
Nov. 11, 1947

Box 180.2
Postals
1942

Box 180.2
Procurement
1942

Box 180.2
Public Relations
1942-43

Box 180.2
Publicity In Smith Alumnae Quarterly
1942-45

Box 180.2
Publicity Tour
1943

Box 180.2
Roosevelt, Eleanor
1943

Box 180.2
Schedules
undated

Box 180.2
Florence H. Snow
1944-45

Box 180.2
Songs
undated

Box 180.2
Speeches by Mr. Davis
undated

Box 180.2
Smith WAVES members
1942-45

Box 180.2
Smith participants
1942

Box 180.2
Tea
1942

Box 180.2
Tea for Wives
1942

Box 180.2
Tea for Smith WAVES
1942

Box 180.2
Tea
1943

Box 180.2
Tea for Smith WAVES
Feb. 1944

Box 180.2
WAVES Tea
May 1944

Box 180.2
Tea for Smith WAVES
Nov. 1944

Box 180.2
W.A.A.C. - Smith Alumnae
1945-47

Box 180.2
[Wanting] Lists
1942-43

Box 180.2
Series II: Publications



General
1943-44 undated

Box 181
"The Activities of the WAVES, SPARS, and the MCWR at the Naval Reserve


Box 181
Midshipman's School, Northampton, MA"
1943-44

Box 181
"The Naval Reserve Midshipman's School


Box 181
(WR) Northampton and the Naval Training


Box 181
School (Communications-W) South Hadley, MA"
undated

Box 181
Newsletter
1945-46

Box 181
"Wave Lengths"
12/4/42-3/11/43

Box 181
Book - Naval Customs, Traditions and Usage
1939

Box 181
Book - Angel of the Navy: The Story Of a WAVE
1943

Box 181
Book - The WAVES : The Story of the Girls in Blue by Nancy Wilson Ross [1943]
1943

Box *
Publications - clippings
Jun 1942-Apr 1943

Box 181.1
Publications - clippings
ca.May 1943- 1996

Box 181.2
WAVES Clippings
1946

Box 181.2
Clippings
undated

Box 181.2
Clippings
1996

Box 181.2
Series III: Photographs



Photographs


Box 181.3
General
undated

Box 181.3
Alumnae House Headquarters
undated

Box 181.3
Events
undated

Box 181.3
Marching
undated

Box 181.3
Officers
undated

Box 181.3
Students and Classes
undated

Box 181.3
Publications - Newsletter (Oversize)


Box 8
Sounding Off, vol 1, no. 1-52,vol. 2, no. 1-39
1943-44

Box 8
Series IV: Audio-Visual



Spars and Marines. Coast Guard, W.A., semper paratus?
1939-45

Box AV
"Waves at Smith"
1939-45

Box AV

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Naval history--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Smith College--History--Sources.
  • United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve--History--Sources.
  • United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve.


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