19 Sep NDSU Archives to host presentation on women and military service in World War II
The NDSU Archives are scheduled to host “The Experience of a Lifetime: Women and Military Service in World War II.” Presented by Ashley Baggett assistant professor of history, philosophy and religious studies, on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. at the NDSU Archives, located at 3551 7th Ave. N.
Baggett’s talk will focus on the more than 350,000 American women who enlisted to serve their country in the Second World War. Enlistment posters promised women exciting opportunities while depicting servicewomen as traditionally feminine with makeup and well-coiffed hair. Despite governmental intentions, military service transformed female veterans’ lives and challenged restrictive views of femininity. Ultimately, many women described the impact as life-altering and their service as “the experience of a lifetime.”
Baggett’s presentation is in correlation with the 2019 One Book One Community reading project. This year’s book is “Fly Girls” by Keith O’Brien, described as the previously untold story of five remarkable women who competed against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s. The women – Florence Klingensmith, who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; the famous Amelia Earhart; Ruth Nichols, who disliked the constraints of her blue blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young children who got her start selling coal in Wichita – fought for the chance to fly and race airplanes. In 1936, one of them would triumph, beating the men in the toughest air race of them all.
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