These records, collected by the Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women, Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel, offer women’s studies scholars and military historians an invaluable tool for researching the increasingly important role of women in the military.
The WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) branch was created in 1942 when Congress authorized the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Naval Reserve to permit women volunteers to serve within the continental United States. Legislation ultimately provided for one WAVES captain and unlimited numbers at lower ranks. After the war the Navy requested legislation for the inclusion of women within its permanent structure. By October 1948, both officers and enlisted women were sworn into the regular Navy.
These records contain information on the WAVES from 1942 to 1948 and on their subsequent activities and reunions through 1972.
Series I is arranged according to subject and contains primarily wartime and postwar materials, such as:
comparison studies of men and women
reports on planning, administration, training, and discipline
recruiting and public relations policies
songs, information on etiquette, and material on WAVE reunions.
Series II contains publicity materials and news files, and mainly covers postwar activities. The files are especially rich in press clippings and photographs of WAVES.
Total number of rolls: 20