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Welcome to hingesofhistory.com.

In this site we’ll be telling the the stories of the WAVES of World War II, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. The blog is part of the larger multimedia project Homefront Heroines: The WAVES of World War II.

Homefront Heroines follows a group of quirky, individual and determined women who decided to go where no woman had gone before — into the Navy as WAVES. It tells the story of the more than 100,000 women who joined the Navy during World War II. They were Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES.

We welcome all suggestions and comments!

26 Comments

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback – and your service! We’re going to be debuting the film connected to this blog “Homefront Heroines” at the WAVES National Convention in September. I hope we can meet you there.

    2. I love this photo, where can i get the original, i would like to get it casvaned but the upload size is too small quality. is someone able to send me the photo with higher quality?thanks

      1. Try the national archives. sometimes their photo uploads can be at different resolutions. Web is always at a lower resolution.

  1. I really enjoy this site, so good to see the WAVES again. I joined the Navy during Viet Nam and we were still called WAVES back then; later it was changed to WIN (women in the Navy). I enjoy the stories and they bring back many fond memories. Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much to the women of WAVES. Because of you I am proudly able to claim the title of veteran along with military spouse. You opened the doors not only for women to be in the military, but for us to hold jobs like mine, Air Traffic Control.

  3. Great site! I did my master thesis on women in “non-riveter” employment during WWII and enjoyed researching women’s changing roles during that time. Unfortunately I did not spend much time on the military aspect as I would have liked, but it’s fascinating never the less!

  4. My Mom proudly served in the WAVES. It afforded a minister’s daughter from Texas the chance to travel and see the world. My Mom became a life long traveler and adventurer. I can’t wait to see your movie.

  5. Where do we gain access to the movie? Will copies be made available to purchase or Youtube download? I’d like to get a copy for my mother-in-law. She was a WAVE ’43-’45 PM1c. She’ll be 90 next month! Still going strong.

    1. John, we’re working on that. The problem is licensing. We have film festival licensing for the movie, but not distribution (which would come to the $5-6K range). We’ll make an announcement as we get closer, and also about any screenings we have.

  6. My Mother proudly enlisted in the NAVY for WWII (’42-’45) and went to boot camp at Hunter College in the Bronx. She trained in Radio communications and eventually earned the rank of Radioman 1/c. She’s 92 now.
    Please be so kind and answer my questions: Were ALL women who served in the Armed Services during WWII referred to as “Eleanor’s Girls”?, or was it just the U.S. NAVY WAVES? I have looked and cannot find anything about “Eleanor’s Girls”. Do you know where I could find out any information about this topic?
    And, yes, I would love to see the movie about the WAVES when it becomes available.
    Thanks for your website and all the info you give us.
    Denise

    1. As I understand it, during WWII the term Eleanor’s Girls was a disparaging term and part of the slander campaign against military women. I believe the slander was directed mostly toward Army women and not Navy women (the Navy did all sorts of things to try and combat the slander; they also followed the Army so were able to learn from them). I’d check out Leisa Meyer’s “Creating G.I. Jane” for information about the slander campaign – it’s a great book on the subject.

  7. Thanks for this great site. My Mom was a WAVE and really proud of her service. I have the poster “You’ll be happy too…” hanging in my living room as does my sister so it’s a constant reminder of who these brave women were. Oh my Mom is he blond, second from bottom on the left side.

  8. I am currently working on a presentation of the Military Nurse Statue in Arlington National Cemetery for an art history graduate class at George Mason. A picture of Francis Rich, the sculptor was posted on January 10th this year, cited as from NARA. Would like to find out more specifics. In the future I hope to publish more about the statue, and Frances Rich’s history with the WAVES.

  9. Are there any active oral history projects for WAVES from WWII? My 94 year old mother served from ’43 until the wars end. She went through boot camp at Hunter College and was stationed in the Naval Dispensary in Washington DC. I would love for someone to capture her story and memories.

    1. You could check with Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) or the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical project. I’m not sure if either are doing active gathering, but they may know someone who is.

  10. Thank you for sharing the stories of these amazing women! My grandmother was a WAVE during WWII, and was stationed at Saufley Field in Pensacola, FL. She recalls being in the first group of women to “integrate” that field station. There was apparently a little bit of push-back from the men, but overall she had a wonderful experience and was proud to serve her country. I’m currently working on a project to honor her service and the service of all the women from DeKalb County, IL who served during WWII, including almost 50 WAVES. Do you happen to have any stories or photos from women from DeKalb County, IL?

    I’ve published the first part of my women’s honor roll here (and it’s still a work in progress!): https://thefamilyhistorylibrarian.com/2019/11/11/hidden-heroes-of-wwii-part1/

  11. I am researching the service of Nanette Smith from Chicago who entered WAVES in Dec 1943 at the officer training school at Smith College. She stayed in the Navy reserves after the way finally retiring as a Commander. One particular question is what were the qualifications to become a WAVES officer versus enlisted? Any info on Nanette or that question appreciated.

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