On the Homefront

enginewoman.jpg

Just noodling around, looking for historical pictures of California for a possible project, I came across the Library of Congress stream on Flickr. Soon, I came across a series of slick, posed images of women at work during World War II in Los Angeles-area aircraft plants. I’m captivated by how much is going on here: high (for its time) technology, the serious industrial setting, the artful setup and shot, the costume, the war-on-the-homefront theme, the intensity of the worker as she does her job (not to mention the conceit that the man in the shot is instructing the little lady on what to do).

The caption: “Women are trained to do precise and vital engine installation detail in Douglas Aircraft Company plants, Long Beach, Calif.” It was shot in October 1942 for the Office of War Information, our domestic propaganda agency, and credited to Alfred T. Palmer, the agency’s chief photographer. Click for larger image.

3 Comments

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3 Responses to On the Homefront

  1. Looks like they’re working together to me. His hand is holding something rather than pointing. Rosie stepped up big time.

  2. Lydell

    Whatever’s Rosie’s actual contribution, it looks like her shirt/blouse/top (does that address the tender sensibilities of all?) was created by the same designer who did The Wicked Witch of The East’s socks. You know it’s a good war when imaginary characters pitch in.

  3. jb

    It’s a larger film transparency, 4X5 maybe. It is very beautiful. Look at the overhead factory lights set in a grid. That engine is some kind of radial design. They used them on B-17s and P-47s the latter of which was a monster. They are air cooled. Also, there were a great many woman fliers who flew aircraft from the States to some of the theaters. Yeah…I like this picture.

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