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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections


Carol Highsmith, photographer. The Vietnam Women's Memorial, the first memorial placed in the nation's capital honoring women's military service is on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Between 1980 and 2006. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The government as well as many women themselves saw their military work during World War II as a temporary measure. Some, of course, remained to make a career for themselves, but women were not fully integrated into all the branches until the late 1970s, did not gain admittance to the four major military academies until 1975-76, and only in recent years have begun to reach the highest ranks.

Asian affairs analyst and Indonesian expert Jeanne S. Mintz (1922-1994) was one of the first American women to be given operational responsibility for high-level military policy. Early in her career, she was an adviser to the Indonesian ambassador to the United Nations and worked for two Washington, D.C., think tanks doing national security work for the Department of Defense. During the Vietnam War, Mintz supervised special operations teams responsible for emplacing remote sensors along North Vietnamese supply routes. She joined the Defense Department in 1970 and held numerous positions before retiring as an assistant deputy undersecretary for Asia, Middle East, and the Southern Hemisphere. In her last position, she was involved in missile nonproliferation treaty negotiations and in Israel-Egypt peace talks. Her papers (23,400 items; 1928-93; bulk 1943-65) touch on all aspects of her career but are strongest for the period of the 1940s through 1960s.

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.