Elizabeth Reynard is credited for being the woman who came up with the name for the WAVES. According to Virginia Gildersleeve, in her book Many a Good Crusade, the Navy wanted something that was “nautical, suitable, fool-proof, and attractive.” Reynard took up the challenge, as she wrote to Gildersleeve:
I played with those two letters [w and v] and the idea of the sea and finally came up with ‘Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service’ — W.A.V.E.S. I figure the word ‘Emergency’ will comfort the older admirals, because it implies that we’re only a temporary crisis and won’t be around for keeps.
This photograph of Reynard comes from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.