Women in the Military Oral History Collection Available Online

Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections has published oral history recordings from MF144, the “Women in the Military” collection of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History. The full collection features recorded interviews with nearly 70 female military veterans serving between World War II and the Gulf War. Forty-nine of these interviews were published in the institutional repository, DigitalCommons@UMaine, in advance of Veterans Day, 2023.

Between 2000-2003, the Maine Women Veterans Oral History Project collected oral interviews with female veterans through a collaborative effort of the Maine Commission on Women Veterans and the University of Maine Women Studies and Maine Studies programs. The collection includes interviews with Mainers who were among the first American women to join the U.S. armed forces during World War II as members of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). According to the USO, nearly 350,000 women served in uniform during the Second World War.

“The collection was largely created by undergraduate students conducting the oral history interviews as part of their course work,” said Kimberly J. Sawtelle, of Fogler Library. “It provides valuable first-person accounts about individual women’s military experiences. Interviewees discuss not only the training they received, but also the social stereotypes they had to overcome to succeed.”

The collection can be accessed online through the library’s ArchivesSpace database or DigitalCommons@UMaine. For more information, contact the Special Collections and Projects Department  by email, um.library.spc@maine.edu, or phone, 1-207-581-1686.