Back Susan B. Anthony II, “Working at the Navy Yard”

Susan B. Anthony II (1916–1991)
From Reporting World War II: American Journalism 1944–1946

Chippers removing excess metal from welded seams in a shipyard, 1942. (National Archives)

Seventy-five years ago next week, Susan B. Anthony II (the great-niece of the famous suffragist) published an essay in The New Republic on the surge of women who entered the workforce during World War II.

More than 350,000 women served in the armed forces as nurses, truck drivers, mechanics, engineers, and clerks—and some 500 of them died in such war-related incidents as workplace accidents, hospital-borne diseases, vehicle crashes, and even enemy fire. In addition, by 1944 the number of women hired to work in the defense industry had risen to more than four million, and there were over twenty million women working in the labor force overall.

Anthony, a journalist, was one of those women, having taken a job at the Washington Navy Yard. The drastic changes in the workforce were not without tensions, as factories and facilities that had been the preserve of men were now dominated by women—yet supervised by the men who remained on the home front. In her article, which we present as our Story of the Week, Anthony details her experience of these changes.

Read “Working at the Navy Yard” by Susan B. Anthony II

Library of America
Curator

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More
Publisher

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.


Browse our books Subscribe
Non-Profit

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Support our mission