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Hermina “Billie” Strmiska

Hermina “Billie” Strmiska Hermina Strmiska collection

Women in the Shipyards

Oregon women joined millions of women across the country who found meaningful employment in war-related industries. Women who had been restricted to particular jobs—or to no jobs at all because of their gender and race—worked with men in factories and farms The increased democratization of the labor force in the United States during World War II was a consequence of the desperate need for workers to begin working immediately.

Handbook for New Women Shipyard Workers

In 1943 Portland Public Schools produced a handbook designed to orient new women workes to life in the shipyards. One section dealt with the problems of childcare. 

During World War II, women were actively recruited for employment in the nation’s defense industries. In Oregon that meant laboring in the shipyards. Such employment proved attractive, offering working …

Iona Murphy at Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland

This ca. 1943 photograph, taken by Ray Atkeson, shows Iona Murphy welding in an assembly building at the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland. During World War II, up to 30,000 women worked in shipyards in Portland and Vancouver, Washington, building tankers, aircraft carriers, and merchant marine transportation ships for the …

The Bo's'n's Whistle


Click here to see a pdf version of this issue.

The Bo’s’n’s Whistle was an in-house publication distributed to employees of the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation (OSC), owned by Henry Kaiser. The name comes from the bosun’s whistle, an instrument used by naval boatswains to alert crewmembers …

Interpretive Essays

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