Join the WAC

A recent addition to the Military Collection is a poster dating from World War Two. It solicits American women to join the WAC, the initials of the Women’s Army Corps. The image is a reproduction of a painting (signed by Spector?) and depicts a member of the WAC seated on a cot, writing on her typewriter. As the subtitle states, “…this is my war, too.”

Beneath the image is a line of text that reads: “This poster contributed to the WAC by Wamsutta Mills, New Bedford, Mass.” According to the history of Wamsutta Mills, during World War One, the Mills produced woven balloon cloth and gas mask fabric.When America went to war again in 1941, balloon cloth was once more manufactured for observation and barrage balloons, but it also “wove thousands and thousands of yards of fine poplin for uniforms as well, and lighter fabrics for powder bags, camouflage purposes, and ponchos…the war contribution of the mills was one of the important technical accomplishments which helped to make up American supremacy in matching urgent problems with immediate practical solutions.”

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, “over 150,000 American women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War Two, being the first women other than nurses to serve in the ranks of the United States Army. Both the Army and the public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform in uniform. However, political and military leaders, faced with fighting a two-front war and supplying men and materiel for that war while continuing to send lend-lease material to the Allies, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors. Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it. By the end of the war their contributions would be widely heralded.”

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