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Remembering the Women of World War II

November 10, 2018

FITCHBURG -- Asher Jackson, archivist at Fitchburg State University, held a talk at the Historical Society Thursday night about the brave women who served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and the Army Women’s Corps during World War II.

The inspiration for his presentation began a year ago when “The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II,” by Denise Kiernan was the book selected for all FSU members to read as part of the Community Reads program.

“That’s a familiar narrative,” said Jackson about the novel that focuses on the women who worked in factories during the war. “When I started doing research in our archive, I did not find a lot of information on women who worked in the factory, but what I did find was a number of women who fought.”

He added that many women who served in the military during this time came from Massachusetts.

Jackson talked about how restrictions on women serving changed during World War II, and about a few Central Massachusetts women who served their country.

Anna Hyland Zimmerman was the first women to enroll in the WAAC; Elizabeth Morgan Haskins was a captain and photography interpreter in England and took a position at Fitchburg State upon returning home; Anne B. Wurts was a Leominster native who was a nurse POW for three years; and Fitchburg native Isabel Demmon served as a nurse and first lieutenant.

With images of dog tags, newspaper clippings and enlistment papers Jackson painted the picture of local women who proudly served their country.

Jackson emphasized the importance of sharing stories of veterans, especially those that might not often be told.

“We need to write our own history,” he said.

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