Women in WWII
Ms. Abney recounts her experiences working on airplanes at Curtiss-Wright, including the training she received at Ahrens Trade School. She discusses working conditions, women’s expectations with regard to the closing of the plant at the end of the war, and her perception of the influence these experiences had on women working outside home after the war.
Ms. Ashby discusses her employment, primarily with High Rock Bottling, DuPont and Reynolds, during the war. Ms. Ashby was one of the first two black women hired at the DuPont plant; she also describes an integrated workplace at Reynolds. She also describes her life after her husband returned from the war, and attitudes toward work during the war.
World War II working women
Eunice Brashear Collins describes her family’s long-standing ownership of land at Scuddy (subsequently a coal mining community), Perry County, Kentucky as well as her childhood and youth there in the 1920s and 1930s. Ms. Collins touches on her high school and early employment at nearby Vicco, as well as an early teaching job at Scuddy. In the later recollection, she briefly discusses race conditions in Perry County, including one particularly violent episode. Collins vividly recalls her two years at Alice Lloyd College at Pippa Passes, Kentucky, and the forces that eventually persuaded her to migrate to Louisville as a single woman, where she sought further education and held a series of World War II jobs. That work included employment at the Jeffersonville, Indiana U. S. Army Quartermaster Depot, the Charlestown, Indiana powder plant where she worked on the bagging production line, and finally as a business teacher at a Bowman Field recuperation facility for wounded soldiers. Collins describes how she met Bill Collins, whom she married just before he was shipped out for three years of military service, and the early difficulty he faced in the immediate postwar period when he settled in Louisville. Finally, Eunice describes her educational preparation and career advancement to principal of Chenoweth Elementary School in the old Jefferson County Public Schools and the special role she played in the mid-1970s in a merged system responding to a court-ordered desegregation plan.
Ms. Hayden tells of her work as an inspector and a riveter at Curtiss-Wright. She discusses her work, the social conditions, and the influence of women’s work during the war on women’s subsequent participation in the labor force.
Ms. Lane talks about working before and during the war. She describes working in a bag plant in Charlestown, Indiana that was initially segregated, but which intermixed the workforce over time. (She worked making bags for gunpowder.) She discusses opportunities for work after the war, as well as motivation for working during the war.
Poston worked in the Carbide Carbon plant as a chemical operator during the war; she also worked for Brown-Forman. She talks about motivations for working during the war, and the influence these experiences had on women in general after the war.
Rhodes worked at Beatty-Cummins making shells, and then at Curtiss-Wright. Discusses employment conditions, union participation, and attitudes toward work during and after the war.