Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II

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Union Documents

Union pin for a Boiler Makers Union. Donated by Beatrice O. Keller, accession 119. Beatrice was a journeyman burner at Richmond Shipyard No. 2 in Richmond, CA between 1942-1943. Size: approximately ½” diameter.

 

Union pin. Donated by Bernice Cartwright, accession 230. Bearnice was an assembler at Allis Chalmhers in Milwaukee, WI for 2 years. Size: approximately ¾” diameter.

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Union membership book, front (#2) and open (#3), with envelope (#1), with union dues stamps from United Steel Workers of America. The stamps are from 1943 and 1944. Donated by Virginia E. Noe, accession 198. Virginia was a drill press operator at Amertorp Corporation in Forest Park, IL between 1942-1945. Size of envelope: 4”x2.5”. Size of open book: 4”x5”.

 

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Union Retiring Card from International Association of Machinists, front (#1) and back (#2). Donated by Olga May Schwender, accession 172. Olga was an assembly mechanic - “A” leader at Columbia Aircraft in Portland, OR for 3 ½ years. Size: 2”x4”.

 

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Union membership card, front (#1) and back (#2). Donated by Margaret L Bartholomew, accession 263. Margaret was a telegraph operator at Northern Pacific Railroad in Olympia and Bucode, WA between 1944-1945. Size: 2”x3.5”.

 

 

Book: Union Constitution for the International Association of Machinists. Donated by Mary Ellen Arnesen, accession 340. Mary was a riveter at Char-Gale for 3 months. Size: 6”x4.5”.

 

Union membership card. Donated by Edith Whitesell, accession 168. Edith was an assembler at Bellanca Air in New Castle, DE for 5 months. Size: 2”x4”.

 

 

Unions are an important part of the American workforce. Most of the unions represented by these artifacts were closed to women before the war, and some were closed to them after the war as well. One of the most significant aspects of women’s work during World War II was their ability to join unions. Even still, their participation was limited simply because they were women and the men were not completely comfortable with their presence.

 

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