In the Community and Beyond
WACs, WASPs, SPARs, and Marines:
Nicknames, Recruiting, and the Wartime Experience of
Servicewomen from Grand Rapids
by Will Miner,
Grand Rapids Public Library History and Special Collections
Thursday, November 10, 2016, 7:00pm
Ryerson Auditorium, Grand Rapids Public Library
The Second World War saw the first large-scale employment of women in the armed forces of the United States. Initially unwelcomed by the services, women were first accepted by the Army, later the Navy and Coast Guard, and finally the Marine Corps. This struggle for acceptance is reflected in how they were portrayed in the media, how they were recruited and trained, and even in the nicknames they were given. This presentation will include record of the struggle in Grand Rapids and examine how, though being the most resistant of all the forces, the Marine Corps ultimately became the most progressive branch of the armed services in its acceptance of women.
The Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council is pleased to provide the November 10th program of the Grand Rapids Historical Society--just two days after the historic 2016 presidential election and one day before Veterans Day. Honoring the latter, the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Will Miner will highlight the WWII experiences of local women Marines to illustrate the first large-scale employment of women in the United States armed forces.
Co-sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, the Grand Rapids Historical Society & Grand Rapids Public Library.
A related treasure from the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council's oral history collection was featured in our most recent newsletter:
Marie Jay Cady ((1903-1996) was a smart, outspoken woman best remembered for her long-time role as the executive director of the World Affairs Council in Grand Rapids. Cady’s vibrant early career in public relations provided the backdrop to many of her life accomplishments--in journalism, politics, and the Air Force, as well as the World Affairs Council. Read the rest of the article at this link.
(Audio recordings and transcripts, mostly from the 1990s, are stored in the Grand Rapids Public Library archives and are accessible to the public upon request. A list of interview subjects and transcript summaries can be found on the GGRWHC website at our-projects. The following material has been shaped from one of the summaries, which are added to the website as they become available.)
Getting it Right: Best (and Worst) Practices of Oral History
A workshop sponsored by GVSU’s Kutsche Office of Local History
Wednesday, October 26, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Mary Idema Pew Library, Multipurpose Room (Allendale Campus)
Oral history is a method that preserves the voices and memories of individuals from family members and community members to leaders of organizations and members of political or social movements. This workshop will discuss the importance and value of oral histories as method and examine (un)successful practices in conducting oral histories. James Smither, Professor of History at GVSU and Director of the GVSU Veterans History Project, will facilitate.
Please RSVP by noon on 10/26/2016: firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-331-8099
Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center at Aquinas College
Celebrates 30 Years!
Kudos to the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center at Aquinas College on its 30th anniversary this year! Read the story and check out their calendar. GGRWHC has a circular connection to JHIWSC via board member Amy Dunham Strand, current director, and one of our GGRWHC founders, Jane Hibbard Idema. The JHIWSC honors Idema for her pioneering role in the women's movement in Grand Rapids. And so do we!
Not only was Jane Hibbard Idema (1921-2006) a founder of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council in 1988--see our 25th anniversary history (see our story at this link)--she worked in the same arena as the local women WWII veterans featured in our November 10th program by Will Miner. She served in the American Red Cross in the European theater. CHECK OUT our program details above.