Rosie the Riveter at LaVale, 2004
CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Library System recently hosted a reception at the LaVale Library to honor women who accepted jobs vacated by men who were serving in the U.S. armed forces during World Warn.
The reception was co-sponsored by the Western Maryland Public Libraries in partnership with the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond, Calif.
Rosie the Riveter became a national icon during the time, a strong-armed woman who rolled up her sleeves to help the war effort. The National Park Service is conducting a nationwide initiative to collect stories, authentic artifacts and personal histories from living "Rosies," their families, and all the men and women who joined in the World War II effort in the United States.
June Reeves, Gertrude Kifer and Miriam Shipley attended the reception and shared their personal experiences as workers. Library Director John Taube welcomed the women he called "the unsung heroes of World War II." Taube also pointed out other contributions, saying they "laid the foundation for the society we enjoy today" and "carved out powerful new roles for women in American society and shattered the definitions of what women could achieve and what girls could dream."
Shipley worked in Pensacola, Fla., at the naval airbase, repairing aircraft instruments.
Reeves of Westernport said she worked in Akron, Ohio, on airplanes. She worked in the "dope room" first, putting lacquer on the surface of tail pieces. They then moved over to "rib stitching," on F6FN Corsairs. Reeves said her mother worked at the converted Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. inspecting bullets.
Kifer went to work in a plant in New Jersey manufacturing small motors, from the armature up. "We put the wires on, and then we had to test them," she said "I met my husband up there."
Dan WhetzeL history teacher at Allegany High School, explained the six books his students have published on local history including "Work and Wait," the story of the home front. Because of the amount of ground to cover, the World War II project was split it into two volumes, war stories and the home front, he said.
Linda Burkey is community outreach coordinator for the library system.
WMRL staff earlier in the year held a similar reception in Hagerstown, so they offered to videotape the reception in LaVale, followed by videotaping of the honorees' individual stories.
Copies of the videotaped stories will be sent to the Historic Park in California.
Also copies can be found on the new Whilbr, Western Maryland's Historical Library online, at http://www.whilbr.org/
Photograph WMRL. Text Cumberland Times-News
The picture shows Miriam Shipley, seated, who worked at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida during World War II, Marie Shipley, her daughter-in-law, a librarian at LaVale Library and John Taube, Director of Allegany County Library System. The interviews from the library day can be found at Rosie the Riveter - Women on the Home Front during World War II
Public libraries, Maryland, Allegany County; Allegany County Library System (Md.), Anniversaries.
Allegany County (Md,), 1924-2010