Social Education 58(2), 1994, pp. 101-103
National Council for the Social Studies

An Annotated List of Resources on Women and Wartime

Compiled by Mary E. Haas
This annotated bibliography contains teaching materials, videotapes, and books containing first-hand accounts as well as histories of women's wartime experiences, both in the military and on the homefront. Addresses are provided for smaller, less well-known publishers. A grade level is suggested for each resource.

Teaching Units
A Social History of 6 U.S. Women. Upper Midwest Women's History Center, St. Louis Park, MN. Manual contains five lessons about Theresa Ericksen, who served as a nurse in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and in Europe during World War I. Lessons go beyond her biography to examine stereotypes and the discrimination she had to overcome. Two lesson plans for primary and intermediate level students are provided for each lesson, along with the necessary materials. Primary and Intermediate Levels.

"U.S. Involvement in World War I." Cobblestone [Peterborough, NH], Vol. 7, No. 6 (June 1986). Two articles are largely devoted to the efforts of women. "The First Enlisted Women" describes the reasons for recruiting women and the roles of the Yeomen (F) in the Navy. "The American Red Cross" elaborates on how volunteers of both genders and all ages helped in the war effort. Intermediate Level.

Women in the American Revolution. Jackdaw B-A31. Golden Owl Publishing Co., Inc., Amawalk, NY. Five broadsheet essays explain the political, civilian, and military roles and views of both wealthy and poor women during the Revolution. Ten reproductions of documents with typed translations provide evidence and demonstrate official recognition of women's deeds and views. Materials also consider rebels and loyalists and changes in women's roles immediately after the revolution. Secondary Level.

Women in World Area Studies Books. Upper Midwest Women's History Center, Hamlen Univ., 1526 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104-1284. This series of secondary textbooks and activities by Susan Hill Gross and Marjorie Wall Bingham includes sections on women who were warriors or actively supported warriors in Africa, India, Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, China, the Islamic world, Japan, and Israel. Textbooks, teacher's guides and tests, and filmstrips are available. Secondary Level.

"Women's Perspectives on the Vietnam War." Unit 9 of Lessons of the Vietnam War. Center for Social Studies Education, 3857 Willow Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15234. This unit, which may be purchased separately, records the experiences and accomplishments of American and Vietnamese women. Even though the level of women's development in the two nations is very different, both American and Vietnamese women are seen filling such roles as soldiers, medical workers, social workers, journalists, entertainers, political activists, and survivors. Frequent use of the women's own words enriches the text, while the higher level questions stimulate thinking about the issues. Secondary and College Levels.

"World War II: The Home Front." Cobblestone [Peterborough, NH], Vol. 6, No. 12 (December 1985). The articles and activities in this issue illustrate how the lives and activities of women were changed during the war. Intermediate Level.

National Archives Materials
National Archives Trust Fund Catalog,
NEPS-Dept. P491, P.O. Box 100793, Atlanta, GA 30384. Posters and facsimiles catalog gives easy access to selected reproductions of posters as postcards or posters at reasonable cost. Available are both World War I and World War II efforts to recruit women into the military and to encourage them as civilians to assist in the war effort. Elementary, Intermediate, and Secondary Levels.

Women in Industry: World War II. Documents from the National Archives, published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., Dubuque, Iowa. Contains letters, pictures, cartoons, pamphlets, memoranda, and an executive order concerning the role of women in industry. Sections on document analysis and using the National Archives help teachers as they prepare and teach lessons or seek additional information. Elementary, Intermediate, and Secondary Levels.

"Silver Wings and Santiago Blue."
WETA, Washington, DC. Distributed by PBS, Alexandria, VA. Produced by Nelson Adams and Katherine Kingin in 1980, this 60-minute video gives the history of the WASPs in the words of some of the 1100 women who served in the WASPs, interviewed while attending a 35 year-reunion. Although these women were promised official military status if they could prove they could fly planes in a military way, their organization was disbanded December 20, 1944. In 1973, they were finally officially recognized as the first female pilots of the U.S. Air Force. Altogether, they flew all of the planes in the U.S. Air Force and logged 60 million miles. Secondary and Adult Levels.

"Women of Courage." KRMA-WOC Video, Denver, CO. Produced in 1993, this 60-minute video tells the story of the WASPs and includes interviews with many women who served in this volunteer group of pilots. Secondary and Adult Levels.

"Women Warriors." Center for Defense Information, Washington, DC. In this 1993 program, men and women with diverse views discuss the issue of women in combat. Speaking on the 29-minute video are some of the highest-ranking active-duty and retired women from various branches of the service. The tape examines the controversy in depth and includes a short history of the roles of American women in military service with pictures and clips from the National Archives. Both transcripts and tape are available. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Military Career Guidance
Coping with Sexism in the Military.
The Rosen Publishing Group, New York, NY. Col. Mary V. Stremlow, USMCR (Ret.), examines the history of the treatment of women in the services and concludes that the military is not any worse than civilian organizations on the issue of sexism. She then offers practical suggestions for dealing with issues of sexism to young women interested in joining the military. Secondary Level.

Exploring Military Service for Women. The Rosen Publishing Group, New York, NY. Lt. Commander Mary McGowan Slappey, USNR, discusses the training and educational opportunities for women in today's military. Secondary Level.

Bedpan Commando: Story of a Combat Nurse During World War II.
Elmore Publishing Co., Elmore, OH, 1991. June Wandry chronicles her three years as a surgical nurse in a field hospital on the battlefields of North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany. The book draws heavily on her unedited letters home and her diary to describe the dangers she faced, the frequent lack of food and supplies, and the absence of diversions from the stresses of war. Wandry dedicated the book to her children and grandchildren, whom she believed did not have a realistic view of war. Intermediate, Secondary, and Adult Levels.

Founding Mothers: Women of America in the Revolutionary Era. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1975. Linda Grant DePauw describes the lives of women of the era and highlights those activities related to the military. Individual chapters are devoted to American Indian, African-American, loyalist, and rebel women. Specific contributions of a number of women are described. Intermediate, Secondary, and Adult Levels.

Home Before Morning. Warner Books, New York, 1983. With this book, written with the help of Christopher Morgan, Lynda Van Devanter became the first of the nurses who served in Vietnam to tell her story. The book gives a vivid description of her experiences and the changes in her views of the Vietnam War and warfare in general. It also reveals how many women were unable to get assistance in dealing with postwar stress and the inequities they faced. The book contains strong language. Secondary and Adult Levels.

In the Men's House. Poseidon Press, New York, 1990. Captain Carla Barkalow, writing with Andrea Raab, tells her story as one of the first women at West Point. She describes the trials that women faced as plebes and cadets, then continues through several assignments as an officer and commander of troops. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Into the Breach: American Women Overseas in World War I. Viking Press, New York, 1991. Dorothy Schneider and Carl J. Schneider's very readable yet scholarly book tells about the 25,000 American women who took part in World War I. Only a few were officially in the service of the U.S. military, and many served long before America was officially participating in the war. American women on both sides filled many roles, including aid to civilians and displaced persons, journalists, peacemakers, nurses, entertainers, and military support personnel. This is the most informative book on the roles of American women during this war. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Matilda: The Forgotten Queen of England. Compu Books, P.O. Box 1162, Shingle Springs, CA 95682. The first of a trilogy on English women warriors and rulers by Sandra K. Wales writing as Haley Elizabeth Garwood, this historical novel is available on IBM-compatible computer diskette. Matilda was an accomplished Medieval noblewoman whose father, Henry I, wanted his daughter to become the first female king of England. After serving as a judge in the Holy Roman Empire, Matilda went on to lead armies, invade England, defeat her enemies in a civil war, claim the throne, and eventually also win the crown for her son. Secondary and Adult Levels.

On Silver Wings. Ballantine Books, New York. Author Marianne Verges relates the history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in World War II, the first American women to serve as pilots in the military. These women's story is one of great accomplishments and long political struggles to be permitted to serve and then to be justly recognized. The book is filled with descriptions of the WASPs' personal lives, training, accomplishments, and tragedies, as well as their disappointment at the program's cancellation. Secondary and Adult Levels.

One Woman's Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, TX, 1989. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, the daughter of a minister and teacher, Charity Adams Earley became one of the first officers of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and the first African American woman to be commissioned. She led the training of many of the black women who served during the war and commanded the only organization of black women to serve overseas. Earley discusses the issues of sexism and racism. She was keenly aware that her troops would be judged by the highest standards and would provide opportunities for others of their race if they succeeded. Intermediate, Secondary, and Adult Levels.

A Piece of My Heart. Ballantine Books, 1985. Keith Walker presents the stories of twenty-six American women who served in military and civilian agencies during the Vietnam War. Their stories are personal and moving, and reveal the pain women saw and suffered during and after the war and their pride in their accomplishments. Appendix includes tables of statistics on women in Vietnam. Intermediate, Secondary, and Adult Levels.

She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story. Presidio Press, Novato, CA. Writing with Peter Copeland, flight surgeon Rhonda Cornum tells her story of the Persian Gulf War, including being injured when shot down in a helicopter and taken captive. She discusses her treatment as a woman during her military career and details the activities of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and her experience as a POW. Secondary and Adult Levels.

To the Angels. Denson Press, New York, 1985. Denny Williams tells her personal story of her work as a nurse in the Philippines before World War II, during the sieges of Bataan and Corregidor, and in captivity at Santo Tomas until its liberation in 1945 by U.S. forces. The book tells how the nurses and other captives were able to survive and support each other during their ordeal of worry, hunger, illness, and fear. Williams details daily life of the camp and tells of the prisoners' attempts to celebrate holidays and maintain their faith and pride in America. Also included are incidents in which the Philippine people provided food, information, and contact with soldiers. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Visions of War, Dreams of Peace: Writings of Women in the Vietnam War. Warner Books, New York, 1991. Edited by Lynda Van Devanter and Joan A. Furey, this is a book of poems written by women, mostly nurses, who served in Vietnam. The writings describe scenes of Vietnam, memories the women can't forget, and reflections on the lessons of the war and their dreams for the future. The editors are donating their royalties from this book to the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project, Inc. Secondary and Adult Levels.

War Nurses. Walker and Co., New York, 1988. In this book, Sharon Cosner tells the stories of nurses from the Civil War through Vietnam, emphasizing American nurses' personal lives and activities during the wars. Includes pictures and descriptions of the activities of specific nurses and their responses to the events they encountered. Intermediate and Secondary Levels.

Warrior in White. The Watercress Press, San Antonio, TX, 1990. Here Lucy Wilson Jopling relates her World War II experiences as a Red Cross nurse working for the Army in the Philippines. Jopling was one of thirteen women evacuated from Corregidor to Australia in a submarine. After serving in assignments involving training, recruitment, and selling bonds, she returned to the Pacific as a flight nurse helping to remove patients from combat areas. Eventually, she helped evacuate liberated prisoners with whom she had worked at the beginning of the war. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution. Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 1982; revised 1992. Author Jeanne Holm is the first American woman awarded the rank of Major General. In this book, she surveys all of the major actions in which women have taken part from the American Revolution through the Persian Gulf War and addresses important issues, some now resolved and some still remaining for women in U.S. military service. Well documented by official reports, hearings, and statistics, this book reveals women's outstanding record of service in spite of the political struggles they have faced in trying to serve their country. This book is the single best reference on American women in the military. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Women in War from World War II to El Salvador. Penguin Books, New York, 1985. Author Shelley Saywell interviewed women who had fought in wars, seeking to find out how they became involved, what experiences they had, and how the wars changed them. About half of the book is devoted to the experience of European women in France, Britain, Italy, Poland, and the former Soviet Union; the remainder covers conflicts in Asia and Latin America. The women served as members of national military services and in revolutionary and resistance groups. This fascinating book clearly shows the bravery and devotion of women to their countries and their causes, as well as the great variety of skills women have employed in their military and paramilitary work. Secondary and Adult Levels.

Mary E. Haas is associate professor of curriculum and instruction at West Virginia University.