The Basic Bookshelf   |   Recommended Reading

The Basic Bookshelf

These reference books form the essential foundation for research on the history of American women in military service. Each presents overviews of issues, eras and individuals from political and military leaders to servicewomen themselves. Their authors are experts who drew on their own extensive professional experience, a wealth of primary resources and years of accumulated research materials

Most may may be purchased from the Gift Shop of The Women's Memorial.

Holm, Major General Jeanne, USAF (Ret.), Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, rev. ed. Presidio Press, Novato, California, 1992.

Holm served as director of Women in the Air Force between 1965 and 1973. This classic work on women in the armed forces is a history of issues, major players and policy development concerning women's role in and with the military and women's gradual integration into tradition-bound military institutions and culture.

Ebbert, Jean and Marie-Beth Hall, Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI To Tailhook. Brassey's (A Maxwell Macmillan Company), Washington, New York, London, 1993.

Ebbert and Hall identify two crossed currents in women's naval history. One is the Navy's attempt to include women gradually without losing the service's traditional values. The other crosscurrent arises from women's challenge to traditional assumptions about their roles and potential and as a result, their aspirations rise as their opportunities expand. This seminal work on women in the Navy traces the history of the convergence and divergence of these currents throughout the twentieth century.

Stremlow, Colonel Mary V. US Marine Corps Reserve, A History of the Women Marines, 1946-1977. History and Museums Division Headquarters, US Marine Corps, Washington, DC, 1986.

In 1945, the director of the Marine's Division of Plans and Policies believed that women had no proper place or function in the regular service in peacetime. Influenced by other services, the Marines retained a small postwar nucleus of women whose numbers grew through the 1970s until women 's units were integrated into the Corps. Stremlow's book offers an in-depth look at policy, politics, leaders and rank-and-file women who directed and participated in this process.

Morden, Colonel Bettie J., USA. The Women's Army Corps, 1945-1978. Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, DC, 1990.

Morden's history examines the Women's Army Corps from the postwar era until its discontinuation and absorption into the regular Army in 1978. The focus is the interaction of plans, decisions and personalities at the highest levels of the Department of the Army and their effect on policy including women's recruitment, retention, training, promotion and their relationship to and reception by male soldiers.

Sarnecky, Colonel Mary (Army Nurse Corps, Ret.). A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1999.

Colonel Sarnecky examines the history of the Army Nurse Corps outlining the political and social context in which the policy and practice of military medical care evolved and its effect on the nursing profession as a whole. The voices of the nurses are heard in their own words, stories of courage and bravery from the earliest years of our country to the founding of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901 to through the Vietnam era.

Treadwell, Mattie E. The United States Army in World War II, Special Studies: The Women's Army Corps. Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 1954

Although difficult to obtain today, Treadwell's articulation of the history of Army women during World War II remains the most definitive and comprehensive work published on the topic to date. Treadwell's proximity to primary source documents that inform almost 900-page text offers a detailed perspective on policy and issues as well as on the women who served.


Women in the US Military - Recommended Reading: American Women in Military Service