WWII American Home Front Oral History Project

I’m often asked, at readings, about the inspiration for “Wax”. I was inspired by oral histories I read — transcripts of interviews with women who worked in the shipyards during WWII — obtained through Rosie the Riveter, WWII Home Front, National Historical Park.

“Wax” is a work of fiction. The women in “Wax” are imagined, but their experiences are crafted from story threads gathered from “real life” interviews. I distinctly remember a story one Rosie recalled — about her welding supervisor telling her she’d get the rhythm for connecting beads of molten metal — like the rhythm for “knitting or crocheting” — but they were things she had never learned to do. Or the Rosie who was waiting at a bus stop when her vision went dark — the result of a flash burn to her corneas. These conversations and more, between interviewer and subject, fueled my imagination.

On Friday, I was contacted by David Dunham with the WWII American Home front Oral History Project, and learned that his team had completed those interviews, and that more are coming! Approximately 100 transcripts are now available online, at http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/rosie/
with an additional 75 expected by the end of 2012.

If you have stories to share, schedule an interview by contacting David at ddunham@library.berkeley.edu You will inspire generations to come.

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2 Responses to WWII American Home Front Oral History Project

  1. Sheila McCabe says:

    My sister was a “Rosie”. She lives in Alameda, CA and has a wonderful story about riveting, welding and falling in love. If you are interested then I will try to talk her into an interview, she is very suspicious of people and their motives. Perhaps one of her sons would join the interview.

    • Therese says:

      Hi Sheila,
      Thanks so much for contacting me.
      I’ve finished my book, but the oral history project at the Bancroft Library, on the Berkeley campus, is still collecting stories. I’m sure they’d love to talk with your sister if she’s up for it. If you’d like details on the project, please email me at wax1941@att.net.
      Thanks again for thinking of me.
      Best regards,
      Therese

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