Real-life Rosie the Riveters worked the lines in New Jerseys factories, such as those of General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division, while women on the vulnerable coast enforced blackout orders. Others sold war bonds, planted victory gardens and conserved materials for the war effort. Thousands more served as nurses and in branches of the armed forces like the Women,s Army Corps and the U.S. Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. African American women fought a double war, one against the nations enemies and another against discrimination. Historian Patricia Chappine explores the pivotal roles that New Jersey women played in World War II.
Region Your Book Covers: New Jersey
What Inspired You to Write History Books?
I have always loved history, particularly World War II. My inspiration for writing about women during this time came from several places. Through researching World War II in general, I came across so many stories about women joining the military or volunteering for the Red Cross and I immediately wondered why I never heard about any of these things in grade school. I actually didn’t hear much about them, if anything, in college either. I had to find out on my own and I thought that this needed to change. There are so many wonderful volumes on American women in World War II, I knew the women of New Jersey had a unique story to tell, too. The other inspiration came from simply looking through my grandfather’s old war items. He and many of my great uncles served in World War II. I thought to myself, “Well, I wonder what grandmom was doing?”
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
If you really have a story that needs to be told than write it. The process is time consuming and can be frustrating but the end result is something you can be proud of. You will be glad you did it. Making time to research and write is probably one of the most difficult parts. Personally, I do my best work in the mornings, before work. Maybe after work is your best time. Regardless, set aside a few hours each day where you research, organize, or write. Keeping a schedule is a great help.
Writing About US History Must Be Difficult, How Do You Do Your Reseach?
It’s easiest when you build good relationships with local historical societies, universities and libraries. The people working at these places generally know their collections and can offer you insight, speed up your research, and often lead you to material you never even considered. You already know you have shared interests, so build on that and let them know you appreciate their help.
Patricia Chappine is an adjunct professor at the Richard Stockton University and Atlantic Cape Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in Holocaust and genocide studies from Stockton University and is currently a doctoral student in the History and Culture Program at Drew University. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband, Ernie.