Dorothy Turnbull had a history of service with the Navy in her family. Her father was in the Navy during World War I, and her brother later would become a Navy officer during World War II.
As World War I was ending, Dorothy’s father, the longtime New Orleanian, was sent back to the U.S. in New York. There he met Dorothy’s mother, a New Yorker from German Harlem. They married and moved to the South.
This photograph comes from the collection of Dorothy Turnbull Stewart.
Navy WAVES were active, regular military. That meant they were expected to wear their uniforms during all public functions. Including weddings.
Franny Prindle, like other WAVES of the era, had to get a special dispensation from the Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve to wear something other than her uniform on her wedding day. But note the special conditions: no photographs of Prindle outside of her uniform could be released to the press.
Meet Franny Prindle Taft. She was a WAVE during World War II and spent her entire Navy career at Smith College in Northampton, training future officers. Taft was in the first full officer class at Smith College in the fall of 1942.
This photo was taken sometime in 1943 while she was on her honeymoon with her husband Seth Taft (the grandson of President William Howard Taft). They traveled up the Hudson River to Canada; both were officers in the Navy and had met while at college (she at Vassar, he at Yale).
I did work in cancer research at Yale right after I got out. That’s where I went immediately after graduation … I was making really almost no money, and I heard about the WAVES. I didn’t want to go into anything that was kind of just an auxiliary with people jumping around in uniforms and not really doing very much. And (the secretary to the Dean at Vassar College) assured me it was going to much more than that.
Frannie lives in the Cleveland area, where she teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
This photograph is courtesy of Franny Prindle Taft.