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Rosie the Riveter: Working Women and World War II

Oral Histories & Recorded Sound

Oral histories are an excellent resource for researching the working women of World War II. This is a list of sample resources.

On the Radio

The Library's recorded sound collections are an especially valuable source for studying the lives of American women during the Second World War. During that time, radio served many functions for women both at home and abroad. The comedies and entertainment programs provided an escape mechanism by which women on both fronts could escape the realities of war. Reference librarians in Recorded Sound Reference Services can provide assistance in accessing oral histories from the collections.

The Office of War Information (OWI) launched the “Womanpower” campaign in 1942. In addition, OWI's American Women Speak (1942-43) and Women Can Take It (1942) told women's stories, described their contributions to the war effort, and praised them for jobs well done. Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995), commander of the Women's Army Corps (earlier called Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, or WAACs), was often heard on the radio describing the role of women in wartime (1944 broadcast, RWA 6883 B1). To mark her 1943 participation in the program The Pause That Refreshes on the Air, the host, Andre Kostelanetz, included a choral rendition of Lt. Ruby J. Douglas's “The WAAC Is a Soldier Too” (LWO 5855 R31A1).