The first presidential statement observing women’s history was issued by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, who declared March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week. Carter’s official acknowledgment of Women’s History Week was monumental given that it grew out of one local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The following year, Public Law No. 97-28 was passed, which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as Women’s History Week. By 1987, a group named the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to designate the entire month of March as “Women’s History Month.” Since then, as a celebration of the contributions that women have made to the United States, each president has issued an annual proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month.
In honor and celebration of Women’s History Month, as well as International Women’s Day (March 8th), the Still Picture Branch presents: Women Doing Awesome Things.
“Women’s Machine Gun Squad Police Reserves, New York City – Praciticing with Lewis Machine gun, which is to be sent to the front….Capt. Elise Reniger manning the gun, Miss Helen Striffer on the rear seat, and Mrs. Ivan Farasoff driving.” Date taken: August 1918 (Local ID: 165-WW-143B-23)
“Scene in the operating room of a hospital showing women doctors of the American Women’s Hospital operating.” Date Taken: May 1918 (Local ID: 165-WW-41-047)
“Blind women putting pages together before binding them into magazines or books, which are printed for blind soldiers. The soldiers read by feeling the shape of the letters.” Date taken: July 26, 1918 (Local ID: 165-WW-32A-4)
“Mrs. Richard W. Sears at Wakefield rifle range, Wakefield, MA.” Date taken: June 1918 (Local ID: 165-WW-143B-7)
“Mrs. Allie Messer of Montgomery County, MD, will do a man’s part in getting her husband’s land in shape for planting food for Victory crops.” Date Taken: April 1942. (Local ID: 16-G-158-1-N3862)
“Miss Mildred Saums of Three Bridges, Hunterdon County, NJ, can do as good a job at the family wood pile on her widowed mother’s farm as her brother who runs the farm. She helps with the morning and evening chores. Daytimes she works as chief clerk at the Flemington Auction Market cooperative Association.” Date Taken: May 1942 (Local ID: 16-G-168-N-3983)
“From their observation posts on a downtown Detroit office building, these three women fire watchers study the roofs of surrounding buildings which are in their care. The women, members of the only OCD womens’ fire watcher unit in the country, are required to serve four hour shifts during times of emergency.” Date Taken: 1942 (Local ID: 171-OCD-109-C)
“Leaning against a parapet of a downtown Detroit office building, Miss Elizabeth Lakeman, a member of the nation’s only OCD women fire watcher unit, signals a companion after she has discovered a simulated bomb burning on the roof of a nearby building.” Date Taken: 1942 (Local ID: 171-OCD-111-C)
“Demolition workers of the Civilian Defense.” Date Taken: 1942 (Local ID: 171-OCD-125-C)
“OCD fire guard equipment at American University.” Date Taken: 1943 (Local ID: 171-OCD-313)
“U.S. Coast Guard LT. j.g. Jeanine McIntosh, Pilot, the first female African-American to successfully complete flight training, stands in front of a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130H Hercules patrol aircraft on Jan. 2, 2006, that she will pilot on service missions throughout the Pacific region, while stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs SPECIALIST 2nd Class Jennifer Johnson) (Released).” Date Taken: January 2006 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DD-SD-07-24603)
“US Air Force (USAF) AIRMAN First Class (A1C) Kristin Ferris, Sniper (one of only five enlisted female USAF snipers), 354th Security Forces Squadron (SFS), participates in an simulated emergency training scenario as she positions herself in the underbrush in preparation to eliminate a terrorist who has taken two hostages during a training exercise being conducted on Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), Alaska (AK).” Date Taken: August 2006 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DF-SD-07-03397)
“PFC. Maureen Daugherty, the first U.S. military woman to make a parachute jump in Bolivia, straps on her gear during Fuerzas Unidas Bolivia, a joint U.S. and Bolivian training exercise.” Date Taken: April 1986 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DF-ST-87-02152)
“The first female Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila Widnall.” Date Taken: November 1993 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DF-ST-95-00440)
“The Marine Corps first all-woman drill platoon marches in formation with M-16A1 rifles.” Date Taken: July 1985 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DM-ST-86-01726)
“ENSIGN Matice Wright, the Navy’s first black female naval flight officer, poses for a photograph. Wright is assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3 (VQ-3).” Date Taken: May 1993 (Local ID: 330-CFD-DN-SC-93-04639)
Check out some of our previous blog posts dedicated to women’s history!