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Here come the WAVES!


One in 8.5 Million

The Virginia Historical Society has been collecting since 1831.  Included in our unique collection are 8-million processed manuscripts, 200,000 books, 290,000 prints and photographs, and 32,000 museum objects documenting the daily lives and times of all Virginians.  The object featured here offers one opportunity to look into the past.  Millions more treasures await you at our headquarters in Richmond, by appointment at Virginia House, and online at

Here come the WAVES!

As a response to a shortage of manpower during World War II, the U.S. Navy created in July 1942 an all-female auxiliary unit called Women Accepted For Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). Before this, women’s military roles were limited to nursing and clerical work. Although most WAVES initially served in communications, they later branched out into aeronautics, engineering, navigation, and intelligence. Originally intended to serve only temporarily, 35,000 WAVES opened the door to women in the navy. Today more than 200,000 women are on active military duty.

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