Found in the LOC: 29 Pics of Female Machinists, ’41-43

Earlier this month, I posted an incredible image of a woman working on B-25 bomber during World War II. That was just one of hundreds such images taken by Office of War Information photographer Alfred T. Palmer, though only a few dozen are color.

Here are 29 of those colorized images, some taken in Long Beach, others in Akron and others in Nashville, all between 1941 and 1943, and all showing how integral women were to the war effort: A quarter of the female population was working either on the home front or as part of the armed services during those years, only to be sent back to the kitchen when the men folk returned. It was an injustice, to be sure, but helped set the stage for the women’s rights movement in the decades ahead.

[That said, had men of that era really respected and appreciated women’s efforts in the war years and kept them on, perhaps the women’s rights movement wouldn’t have been necessary….]

Anyway, check out 28other great images after the jump. I’ve kept commentary to a minimum, but I must say some of the outfits here deserved a shout out. To some, commenting on women’s clothing may seem sexist, but what can I say? I’m a fan of fashion.

Above, a woman working on “Vengeance” dive bomber in Tennessee, 1943.

[And for more Found in the LOC, click here.]

A woman named Phyllis Ann Marxson Clark* working on a B-17, Long Beach, California, 1942.

*She was identified by her grandson in 2012. Isn’t the wild?!


Two women working on a bomber, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Fitting a propeller on a C-47 Douglas cargo plane, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Assembling a fuselage, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Working on an engine, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


This picture is just alvageo great. And her outfit!? Amazing. Long Beach, CA, 1942:


They’re a bit eerie, but still working hard. Akron, OH, 1942:


Working on a switch box, Inglewood, CA, 1942:


Inspecting inner-wings, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Touching up the Air Force insignia, Nashville, TN, 1943:


Inspecting tubing for A-31 in Nashville, TN, 1943:


Crafting bomber parts, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Lunchtime moves, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


This driller’s look is impeccable. Inglewood, CA, 1942.


Taking inventory, Inglewood, CA, 1942:


Assembling engines, Inglewood, CA, 1942:


Stop! This lunch break image is too good. Long Beach, CA, 1942.


This woman’s like, “Sprung from domestic life and I’m still ironing?! Fuck.” Akron, OH, 1941.


Riveting, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Machinist, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Working on landing gear for a P-51 fighter plane, Inglewood, CA, 1942:


Mellow yellow, Nashville, TN, 1943:


Getting motor cinched, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Punching rivet holes, Inglewood, CA, 1942:


Love it! Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Riveting an A-20 bomber, Long Beach, CA, 1942:


Working on a “Vengeance” bomber, Nashville, TN, 1942:


A woman named Annette del Sur promoting a salvage campaign. Long Beach, CA, 1942:

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