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Women’s Coveralls
Costume, Division of Social History, National Museum of American History

Women’s Coveralls

Date: 1942-1945
Catalog #: 1995.0104.01    Accession #: 1995.0104
Credit: Costume, Division of Social History, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 63" H x 29" W

Physical Description

Stained natural canvas coveralls.

Specific History

Worn by Kathryn Wise who was a master painter at Jeffersonville Boat and Machine Compay. Wise painted navy vessels.

General History

As more and more men were drafted into military service in World War II, the jobs of keeping the military supplied and ready fell into the hands of women. While men were soldiers on the front lines, women were soliders of production, keeping munitions plants, industrial production and the war department in workers. While many people were skeptical of a female labor force, the women proved able and willing workers. In an August 1945 article in the Huntsville, Alabama newspaper , the role of the women employed at the Redstone Arsenal was described: “A woman was placed on the job here, another there, until it was no unusual thing to see shifts on the fill and press lines consisting of about 50 percent women. They did their jobs well, and kept up their end of the work so that the remaining men were often hard put to it, in order to keep up with them. Then one of the shift supervisors had the idea to form an all-girl line as an experiment. The experiment worked and today, the 10-girl crew in the fill-and-press breaking all production records.... These girls are all handling a man's job. Every one of them believes she has a personal stake in this war. Their morale is about the highest at the Arsenal. They are expert press operators, ball table operators, and they handle these 124 pound to 150 pound pallets with the ease and efficiency of old timers. ...Each one of them is capable of substituting for the other in case of need.... This spirit of knowing their assigned job well, and the job of the girl working next to them has made every one of them valuable operators.”


Country: United States
War: World War II
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