American Women's History: A Research Guide
World War II
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Reference/Primary Sources Featured Digital Collection

"Color Photographs from the FSA and OWI."
Library of Congress. Available from

The photo above is of a woman aircraft
worker at the Vega Aircraft Corp. in Burbank,
California. This collection includes over 100
photos of women working in various plants
during the early 1940s


Armstrong, Sarah. "Work, Womanpower, and World War II." Reference Services Review 26 (Spring 1998): 31-36, 42.
This annotated bibliography includes 35 references to books and journal articles covering "General Sources on Women's Studies," "African Americans," "Child Care," "Location and Industry Specific Studies," "Media Studies," "Unions," "Internet Resources," and "Documentaries."

Campbell, D'Ann. "Women in the Military [Bibliographic Essay]." Choice 31 (September 1993): 63-70.

Friedl, Vicki L. Women in the United States Military, 1901-1995: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

Hartmann, Susan M. "Essay on Sources." In The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.

Jeansonne, Glen. "Bibliographical Essay." In Women of the Far Right: The Mother's Movement and World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Scrivener, Laurie. "U.S. Military Women in World War II: The SPAR, WAC, WAVES, WASP, and Women Marines in U.S. Government Publications." Journal of Government Publications 26 (1999): 361-83. This annotated bibliography includes sections covering "General Works," "Representative Congressional Activity," "Recruiting," and miscellaneous publications.

Biographical Sources

National Personnel Records Center []

Encyclopedias & Historical Overviews

Larson, C. Kay. 'Til I Come Marching Home: A Brief History of American Women in World War II. Pasadena, Md.: The MINERVA Center, 1995.

Poulos, Paula Nassen, ed. A Woman's War Too: U.S. Women in the Military in World War II. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1996. 406p.

Sherrow, Victoria. Women and the Military: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 1996. 381p.


MINERVA: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military. Pasadena, Md.: The MINERVA Center, 1983- .
Complete Table of Contents, 1983-Present:

Networking Tools: Discussion Groups

H-Minerva: Women in the Military, Women and War []

Primary Sources: Archival Collection Guides

See the general Archival Collections section for additional information sources.

Collections Relating to Women and War [online]. Iowa City: Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, 2002- [cited 1 November 2004]. Available from:

McDaid, Jennifer Davis, comp. Virginia Women and the Second World War [online]. Richmond: Library of Virginia, February 2001 [cited 12 January 2002]. Available from:

The WAVES Collection [online]. [Stillwater]: Oklahoma State University Library, last updated 9 July 1998 [cited 9 October 1998]. Available from:

The Women Airforce Service Pilots Collection [online]. Denton: Texas Woman's University, n.d. [cited 25 July 1998]. Available from:

Women at War [online]. Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Albert A. Gore, Sr., Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University, n.d. [cited 5 October 2003]. Available from:

Primary Sources: Digital Collections

After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2002 [cited 19 October 2003]. Available from:

Color Photographs from the FSA and OWI [online]. [Washington, D.C.]: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, 1998 [cited 19 September 2000]. Available from:
This collection includes over 100 photos of women working in various plants during the early 1940s.

The Ground Beneath Our Feet -- Virginia Fights: World War Two [online]. Charlottesville: The Virginia Center for Digital History, n.d. [cited 3 July 2003]. Available from:

Historic Government Publications from World War II: A Digital Library [online]. Dallas, TX: Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, n.d. [cited 7 April 2002]. Available from:

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive (JARDA) [online]. Regents of the University of California, c2000. Available from:

Oral History Digital Collection [online]. Youngstown, OH: William F. Maag Jr. Library, Youngstown State University, updated March 2002 [cited 7 July 2002]. Available from:
Select World War, 1939-1945 from the list of subject headings.

PictureAustralia [online]. Canberra: National Library of Australia, n.d. [cited 26 March 2004]. Available from:
An advanced search for world war, 1939-1945 AND United States AND women retrieves over 200 records.

Rosie the Riveter WWII American Homefront Project [online]. Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 2006 [cited 22 December 2006]. Available from:
Oral history transcripts of women and men who worked in the Bay Area during World War II.

Rosie the Riveters [online]. Midwest City: Eastern Oklahoma County Regional History Center, Rose State College, updated 8 October 2004 [cited 18 February 2005]. Available from:
Transcripts of 16 oral history interviews with women who worked in defense factories during World War II.

Rutgers Oral History Archives of World War II [online]. [New Brunswick]: Department of History at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, updated 31 January 2001 [cited 26 February 2001]. Available from:

Student Voices from World War II and the McCarthy Era: An Oral History Website [online]. New York: City University of New York's Brooklyn College, John Jay College, and The Center for Media and Learning/American Social History Project at the Graduate Center, CUNY, n.d. [cited 19 July 2002]. Available from:

"A Summons to Comradeship": World War I and II Posters [online]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Libraries, 1999- [cited 9 April 2002]. Available from:
Applicable subject headings for World War II posters include "Family" and "Prostitution."

U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection [online]. Richmond, VA: The Library of Virginia, n.d. [cited 19 September 2000]. Available from:
This collection includes over 3,500 photographs from the Virginia Hampton Roads Embarkation Series, 1942-1946. Many of the personnel (administrators, clerks, mechanics, nurses, photographers) were women. A few search terms to try: WAC [Women's Army Corps], WAAC [Women's Army Auxiliary Corps], and nurse*.

Veterans History Project [online]. Washington, DC: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 2000- [cited 1 November 2004]. Available from:

WASP Digital Photograph Project [online]. Denton: Texas Woman's University, updated 15 June 2004 [cited 1 November 2004]. Available from:

Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters [online]. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, November 1995 [cited 17 June 1997]. Available from:

World War II Iowa Press Clippings Digital Collection [online]. This collection from the State Historical Society of Iowa includes 2970 clippings about Women's military activity.

Primary Sources: Microform Collections

National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses Records, 1908-1951. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1995. 2 microfilm reels.
Part of this collection documents the NACGN's successful campaign to integrate army nursing during World War II.

Records of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, 1918-1965. Part II: Women in World War II. University Publications of America.
Online overview from the publisher:

The WAVES: Records of the Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1991.
Reviewed by D'Ann Campbell in Journal of American History (June 1994): 362-363.

Primary Sources: Oral Histories

See the general Oral History section for additional information sources.

Horowitz, Roger. "Oral History and the Story of America and World War II." Journal of American History 82 (September 1995): 617-24.

Primary Sources: Selected Books

The Books with Primary Sources section includes suggestions for finding additional primary sources in books.

Litoff, Judy Barrett, and David C. Smith, eds. Since You Went Away: World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Reviewed by Theresa Kaminski in H-Women, H-Net Reviews, May, 1996. Available from

------. We're in This War Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Talking About Women's History

Brysac, Shareen. Mildred Harnack [online]. Interviewed by Bryan Le Beau. Talking History, 27 August 2001. Available from:
Brysac is the author of Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra. Harnack was the only American woman executed for treason during World War on Hitler's orders.

Harvey, Sheridan. Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II [online]. Journeys and Crossings, Library of Congress, 12 September 2003. Available from:

Norman, Elizabeth. [Interview] [online]. Interviewed by Brian Lamb. Booknotes. C-SPAN, 15 August 1999. Available from:
Norman discusses her book, We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese (New York : Random House, c1999).

Wetherford, Doris. American Women and World WarII [online]. Interviewed by Dennis Mihelich, 28 October 1999. Available from:

A World War II Diary and Lost Love [online]. Morning Edition. National Public Radio, 3 March 2004. Available from:

American Women's History: A Research Guide

Ken Middleton
Middle Tennessee State Univ. Library
Murfreesboro, TN 37132