Anoka County Historical Society

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					Anoka County Historical Society
2135 Third Avenue North
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 421-0600 Fax: (763) 323-0218

CONTACT: Vickie Wendel, ACHS Program Director

January 15, 2008

           We Can Do It! Women in Wartime Exhibit to Open January 29th

        Anoka County women have aided their soldiers in every war since Anoka has
been a county. Without wearing the uniform, women have supported and supplied
troops, gathered information, typed reports and nursed the wounded.
        The Anoka County Historical Society is proud to present We Can Do It! Women
in Wartime, opening on January 29th at the History Center in downtown Anoka. The
public is invited to view the exhibit, beginning at 7:00 pm. Access to the museum will be
free that evening. In addition, there will be an opportunity to meet a few of these very
special women, who will be on hand to share their stories of service and support.
        The exhibit presents a timeline, beginning with the “Sanitary Commission” efforts
of Civil War wives. During World War I, when women were not even allowed to vote,
over 30,000 women served in support roles. World War II was the first opportunity for
women to enlist, and many local women joined the military as nurses, secretaries, and
drivers, both stateside and overseas. Gradually, through the Korean War and the Vietnam
War, the role of women has expanded until today 80% of the jobs in the military, and
90% of career fields are open to the best qualified candidate regardless of gender.
        Outside the military, women did much more than just keep the home fires
burning. Millions of stateside women took over jobs on farms and in factories that were
previously open only to men. Joyce Paul was in “special services” and provided
recreation and entertainment on a military base in Germany. In a more recent example,
Becki Mastrian is both an army wife and a Family Readiness Group Assistant. Other
local ladies have served, or are serving currently, as nurses, dental hygienists and even a
        The exhibit also explores the more human side of feminine soldiers. It features the
story of a pregnant Marine, who needed to figure out how to wear a maternity uniform.
And it has a sample of “birth control glasses” that are so ugly that it was said that no
woman would be able to get a date while wearing them.
        The public is invited to explore this significant aspect of our history, and meet the
women who are, or were, on the cutting edge of the movement.
        For additional information, call the Anoka County History Center and Library, at
763-421-0600 or visit our website at

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