Soon after World War II several thousand instantaneous lacquer discs representing propaganda broadcasts made by the U.S. Office
of War Information (OWI) were transferred to the Library of Congress. Most of this collection has since been copied onto tape
and is available to researchers. In addition to more than eight thousand programs in English, the collection includes broadcasts
in many other languages. It features domestic and foreign news, entertainment, information, and propaganda broadcasts from
1942 through 1945.
“It's a Woman's War Too! Join the WAVES.” John Philip Falter. 1942. Artists Posters, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-1856.
The OWI made a concerted effort to recruit women into wartime service at home. Programs such as Place of Women in War (LWO 5554 GR18 7B7-8A1), Women's Part in the War (LWO 5554 GR 8 19A2), and Women's Contribution to the War Effort (LWO 5833 GR 34 18A3), all from 1942, sought to convince women that it was their patriotic duty to apply for wartime work
[picture]. Yet, as Michelle Hilmes points out in her book on American broadcasting, “all of these appeals were directed at the class
of women whose lives permitted a solely domestic role, leaving many working-class and black women outside the boundaries of
developing feminist address.”12
There are OWI reports on the activities of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) and the Women's Naval Reserve (WAVES).
Other programs focus on women from a particular industry, city, or culture, for example, Women in Railroading (LWO 5833 GR19 10A8), Detroit Woman War Worker (LWO 5833 GR38 5B2), and Spirit of '43 (LWO 5833 GR42 1A4-B3). The last program deals with African American women at war. Stars such as Ethel Merman (1909-1984),
Billie Burke (1884-1970), and Patrice Munsel (b. 1925) were featured in OWI broadcasts to help build morale and raise spirits.
The OWI collection is cataloged in SONIC and can be searched by name, program title, genre, date, and subject.