Good Girls, Good Food, Good Fun
The Story of USO Hostesses during World War II
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Series: Gender and American Culture
Title Page, Copyright
Rosie the Riveter remains the ubiquitous symbol of World War II’s female patriot. In the popular imagery of the ‘‘Good War,’’ Rosie arguably stands second only to the courageous soldiers raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. Today, the War Department’s depiction of Rosie peddling a ‘‘We Can Do It!’’ attitude, with her pouty lips, enviably long eyelashes, ...
One: To Make the Boys Feel at Home: Senior Hostesses and Gendered Citizenship
In 1943, Helen Scheidel and her sister Marge attended uso dances at Mayor Kelly’s Servicemen’s Center in Chicago, once a month on Saturday nights. As a single eighteen-year-old, Helen represented the typical junior hostess, famous for jitterbugging across the dance floor with fresh-faced soldiers and sailors. ...
Two: The Loveliest Girls in the Nation
Seventeen-year-old Doretta Cloyed graduated from Moravia High School in Iowa in 1942. Her parents, who owned and operated a farm, permitted her to join her three brothers in Washington, D.C., as long as she lived with one of them. All three of Doretta’s brothers worked in the Identification Division of the FBI. ...
Three: Wartime Socializing
Geraldine Stansbery wrote to the mayor of Philadelphia in May 1943 to ask him if she could be a hostess at the new USO Labor Plaza. She had applied to volunteer at several USO clubs earlier in the war, but they quickly filled their hostess positions before receiving her application. Stansbery’s description of herself could have been that of any typical junior hostess: ...
Four: Nice Girls Didn’t, Period: Junior Hostesses and Sexual Service
One evening early in her career as a junior hostess, Audrey Armstrong sneaked out of the USO with a sergeant and accompanied him to the Hollywood Palladium. When her mother, Mildred Armstrong, found out, she was upset and chastised Audrey: ‘‘How does it look to have the daughter of the director and a senior hostess sneaking out with a soldier?’’ ...
Five: Courtship and Competition in the uso Dance Hall
Hundreds of male soldiers and sailors sporting snappy uniforms and dozens of well-coiffed junior hostesses decorated in bright-colored dresses and lipstick packed uso dance halls on Saturday nights throughout the war. Cigarette smoke and the smell of hot coffee permeated the air while couples jitterbugged across the dance floor.1 ...
Six weeks after eighteen-year-old junior hostess Phyllis Mayfield married Larry Baldridge, whom she had met at a uso dance, he received orders that the army was sending him overseas. Phyllis accompanied him to New York City, his departure point, where she anxiously said goodbye to her new husband. ...
Appendix: Interview/Questionnaire Template
I am grateful for the support of numerous colleagues and institutions in assisting me with the completion of this book. The Academic Affairs Office at Nebraska Wesleyan University and the Ameritas Foundation provided vital financial assistance in the final stages of publication. ...
Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 26 illus., 1 table
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Gender and American Culture
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