Women's Army Corps and WAC African American Band scrapbook from Fort Des Moines

Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Women's Army Corps and WAC African American Band scrapbook from Fort Des Moines 1941-1945

Collection #RL.11173 | 0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Collection consists of a 44-page scrapbook belonging to an unidentified compiler, that documents the history of Fort Des Moines as a Women's Army Corps training center, and more specifically the 404th Women's Army Corps (WAC) band, the first African American female band in the United States military. In addition to the approximately 100 photographs, there are photographic postcards, and clippings from official Fort Des Moines publications. The scrapbook begins with a photograph of the front page of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from 8 December 1941, followed by a short history of Fort Des Moines, with clippings and photo postcards documenting its conversion to the first Women's Army Auxiliary Corps training center. The second half of the scrapbook documents the African American women's band, with photographs showing the women in and out of uniform; many of the photographs are signed or are otherwise identified in ink. Scenes include the practice room, women marching with instruments, and band members enjoying off-duty pastimes. There are at least two photographs of Major Charity Adams Earley, the first commissioned African American WAC. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.

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