The Price of Freedom: Americans at War Home Collection Search

Object Record

    New Search



Accession #: 1985.0954
Credit: Engineering and Industry, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 6.25" H x 12.5" W x 12" D

Physical Description

Metal case, gray with “Underwood” lettered on front

General History

Typewriters of this kind were used by thousands of women employed in the war effort using their clerical skills. Early in 1941 Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts met with General George C. Marshall, the Army's Chief of Staff, and told him that she intended to introduce a bill to establish an Army women's corps, separate and distinct from the existing Army Nurse Corps. As public sentiment increasingly favored the creation of some form of a women's corps, but the Army did not want to accept women directly into its ranks. The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established to work with the Army. General Marshall's active support and congressional testimony helped the Rogers bill through Congress. Marshall believed that the two-front war in which the United States was engaged would cause an eventual manpower shortage. The Army could ill afford to spend the time and money necessary to train men in essential service skills such as typing and switchboard operations when highly skilled women were already available. Marshall and others felt that women were inherently suited to certain critical communications jobs which, while repetitious, demanded high levels of manual dexterity. They believed that men tended to become impatient with such jobs and might make careless mistakes which could be costly during war.


War: World War II
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Behring Center Printable ScriptVisit the MuseumEducationCredits