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W E STC H E STE R WOM E N & WAR P O R T R A I T S 1 9 4 3 – 1 9 4 5

Pvt. Jane Estelle Mooney, enlisted 1944. Brother John, U.S. Army and sister Aileen DeBrocke, WAC

 A R M Y F A M I L I E S

Pvt. Frances Calder Emerson, enlisted 1944. Husband Walter, U.S Army, served in England.

I want my brothers home again, that’s why I’m joining the WAC. Pvt. Frances Depole

As World War II raged, Yonkers women took a first-time chance to soldier for their country—they enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps, the WACs.

Pvt. Retta Shaefer, enlisted 1944. Brother Ross, Signal Corps, US Army, sister, Nancy, WAC

Before embarking for posts around the word, the Hudson River Museum joined forces with an artist and an Army officer to capture their likenesses

Pvt. Dorothy Spaulding, enlisted 1945. Brother Ralph killed in action October 1944.

in oil and pastel. Portraits of 70 years ago, they are Lt. Joanne Coates, U.S. Army officer, whose art background inspired her creative recruitment plan to paint the portraits of Yonkers women who enlisted in the WACs.

now an honored part of the Museum’s Permanent

Pvt. Frances Depole, enlisted 1944. Two brothers, Henry and Albert, joined the Army. Albert, died in combat in Italy

Collection. In 2012, the Museum widens its view of women in the military with photographs of 12 contemporary soldiers.

Pvt. Nancy Quartarella, enlisted 1945. Sister, Laura, WAC

Pvt. Kathleen A. Dupree, enlisted 1944. Brother Charles Mayerhofer, Coast Artillery, U.S. Army Pvt. Louise Theresa Bendick, enlisted 1944. Brother John, U.S. Army, served in Germany and Italy.

Tec 4 Irene Helena Wramble, enlisted 1944. Brother, Eugene, U.S. Army, stationed in South Dakota.

Pvt. Jennie George Lee, enlisted 1944. Husband Kenneth, Merchant Marine; brother William Robinson, Navy seaman; stepfather Cpl. Harry Greene, U.S. Army

Pvt. Florence Wallace, enlisted 1944. Brother, George, Medical Corps, U.S. Army

Pvt. Laura Quartarella, enlisted 1944. Sister, Nancy, WAC. Brothers Thomas, Coast Guard, and Nicholas, Army Air Forces, Italy




Yonkers “Factory Girls” in the War Effort

239 Kinds of Jobs for Women

WACs were required be 21 to 45 years old,

Pvt. Julie Bernadette Topolosky, enlisted 1944. Niece, Marie O’Buck, WAC Brothers, Michael, U.S. Army; Joseph, U.S. Navy

versus ages 18 to 37 years for men soldiers.

Pvt. Rose Untener, enlisted 1945. Born 1925. One of the youngest recruits.

Pvt. June Ewart, enlisted 1944. Air-WACs (Army Air Forces)

Pvt. Marguerite M. Chase, enlisted 1944. GM Eastern Aircraft, North Tarrytown

Pvt. Rachele Caione, enlisted 1944. GM Eastern Aircraft, North Tarrytown

Pvt. Loretta Cahill, enlisted 1943. Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Co., Yonkers

Pvt. Abigaile Halley, enlisted 1945. Otis Elevator Company, Yonkers

Pvt. Abagail Bovshow, enlisted 1944. Attended the “Yonkers Defense School” to prepare for wartime factory jobs.

Pvt. Evelyn Corey, enlisted 1944. Born 1904. Maid of honor at WAC niece Jean Beerman’s wedding, a two-generation WAC family.

Pvt. Marie Patricia O’Buck, enlisted 1945. Born 1925. Under-age enlistee, joined with parents’ permission.

Pvt. Flora M. Murray, enlisted 1945. Born 1909. A new WAC at age 36, she served in WWII, the Korean War, and became a Smithsonian war historian

Pvt. Gerda Thomas, enlisted 1944. Born 1897. Emigrated from Germany in 1929. Over the enlistment age of 45, she achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant.

Sgt. Lois Wilson, enlisted 1944. Born 1905. At 39, she began, a new WAC, as sergeant and occupational therapist. Post Army, recognized as a prolific Yonkers folk artist.

Pvt. Eleanor Miller Scapoli, enlisted 1944. Born 1912.

Pvt. Anne Bodian, enlisted 1944. Cryptographic Operator, U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Service, Virginia Cpl. Technician Jeanette Henriques, enlisted 1944. GM Eastern Aircraft, North Tarrytown

Pvt. Jeanne S. Solimine, enlisted 1944. Trained nurse

Pvt. Charlotte Harris, enlisted 1945. Otis Elevator Company, Yonkers Pvt. Mary Neary, enlisted 1944. Habirshaw Wire & Cable Company, Yonkers

Pvt. Myra Sessions Zarcone, enlisted 1944. Telephone operator at Army airbase, Whitehorse, Canada

Pvt. Lucretia Grace Antonacci, enlisted 1943. One of the first Yonkers Air-WACs (Army Air Forces) Sgt. Mary Virginia Nardy, enlisted 1943. Telephone operator in France after D-Day

Pvt. Elizabeth Kocis, enlisted 1944. An Air-WAC, she and friend Pvt. Olgee worked at Mitchel Field, Long Island.

Pvt. Mary Kurilecz, enlisted 1944. Surgical Technician Pvt. Helen Harrison, enlisted 1945. Trained nurse Pvt. Camille I. Olgee, enlisted 1944. Her wartime experiences inspired her life-long service in the American Legion as a veteran officer.

Cpl. Helen Organ, enlisted 1945. Born 1924. Joining the WACs at 20 years, she earned the rank of Medical Technician, 5th grade at a West Virginia Army orthopedic hospital.

Sgt. Eva A. Tompkins, enlisted 1943. Born 1921.

Pvt. Alice R. Kelly, enlisted 1945. Born 1910.

W E STC H E STE R WOM E N & WAR P O R T R A I T S 2 0 1 2

W E STC H E STE R WOM E N WITH “ STAR- S PAN G LE D H E ARTS” Maj. Tanya Pennella New York Army National Guard, Camp Smith, Peekskill; 53rd Army Liaison Team, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2009

Col. Theresa Mercado-Sconzo U.S. Army Reserve, Nursing Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-06, 2008-09; Operation Enduring Freedom, 2009-10

Sgt. Kristen Walker New York Army National Guard, 101st Expeditionary Signal Batallion, Yonkers; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2007-08

Spc. Rapcelies Almonte New York Army National Guard, 101st Expeditionary Signal Batallion, Yonkers Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2008

They worked as typists and mail sorters and as telephone and radio operators. They worked as weather

event, the Museum offered to help mothers make reel-

observers and air traffic controllers, medical technicians,

to-reel recorded messages to send daughters.

and nurses. All in all, as many as 400,000 women were a

American women always volunteered to serve,

part of the United States military victory in World War

even when they had to fight to join and to be ranked

II, the first time women were officially mobilized across

equal to male soldier colleagues. They hold a key place

all the armed forces. Factory workers, married women

in the U.S. armed forces and its conflicts from the World

without children, grandmothers, too; white, African-

Wars to Operation New Dawn. Today, there are 1.8

American, and first-generation Americans from Italy,

million women veterans, 213,000 women in active duty,

Ireland, and Czechoslovakia, they joined the Women’s

and 190,000 in the Reserves and National Guards. Many

Army Corps (WAC) at its announcement in 1943.

of these admirable women are our neighbors.

Lt. Joanne Coates traveled to Yonkers to sign up recruits, and asked the Hudson River Museum to

Maj. Heather X. Cereste, M.D. Air Force Combat Veteran 332nd Medical Operations Squadron, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2007

first exhibition of the WAC portraits. Advertising the

Laura Vookles, Chief Curator of Collections

Westchester Women & War

suggest artists to design recruitment posters. She got even more. Museum director H. Armour Smith and local artist Francis Vandeveer Kughler conceived an ambitious project to paint the portraits of Yonkers’ enlistees to “ensure that future generations … have a living record of our fighting women.” In November 1943 the Herald Statesman announced that every woman who enlisted before Pearl Harbor Day would have her portrait done. In fact, the Museum continued the project into 1945.

Col. Mary Westmoreland U.S. Army, retired, Legion of Merit Operation Desert ShieldOperation Desert Storm, 1990-91; Global War on Terrorism, Pentagon, 2002-08

Tsgt. Sgt. Crystal Radcliff New York Air National Guard, 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2008; U.S. Navy veteran, Operation Desert Shield-Operation Desert Storm, 1993, 1994

Hudson River Museum

At 40, Kughler, a Yonkers Art Association trustee, was too old for military service but he believed in the patriotic role of artists and waged battle with paint, pastel, and easel. Nearly 70 years later, in 2012, the Museum widens its view of women in the military, adding to Kughler’s portraits the photographs of 12 contemporary women soldiers and veterans by noted photographer Margaret Moulton. The WAC was a path to adventure, travel, and new jobs for women but for Yonkers mothers watching their daughters depart for boot camps, some flying to jobs near the war fronts, new worry was added to their fears for soldier sons. In July 1944 the City of Yonkers honored

Lt. Col. E. Barbara Wiggins U.S. Army, retired, Legion of Merit Adjutant at Fort Mead, Maryland, Vietnam War

Seaman Olivia Hooker Coast Guard SPAR, World War II Clerical, First Naval District, Boston

Pvt. Gloria Donen Sosin Women’s Army Corps, World War II Public Relations, Mason General Hospital, Long Island

Cpl. Margaret Lamar U.S. Army veteran, Korean War Medical Technician, Army hospital, Germany

the mothers with a tea at the Museum and a tour of the

Westchester Women & War: Portraits is sponsored in part by support from

Myra Sessions Zarcone, WAC, 1944, recalls in 2012, the excitement of posing for artist Francis Vandeveer Kughler, who set up his studio at the Museum to paint new WAC recruits. Photo Margaret Moulton

, Corporate Sponsor, and

Cover Top Pvt. Marguerite M. Chase and Pvt. Laura Quartarella. Pastels, Francis Vandeveer Kughler, 1943 Cover Bottom Tsgt. Sgt. Crystal Radcliff and Spc. Rapcelies Almonte. Photos, Margaret Moulton, 2012 Above “Mothers of Yonkers WACS,” The Herald Statesman, Yonkers, advertisement, July 12, 1944 Photos Margaret Moulton, 2012. Myra Sessions Zarcone; Portrait and Jacket (Gloria Donen Sosin, WAC, 1944)

, Media Sponsor.


Hudson River Museum Westchester Women & War Exhibition Oversize Tri-fold Brochure  

6 panels