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Missouri Department of Labor Honors Working Women During World War II

Missouri Department of Labor Honors Working Women During World War II

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has partnered with the National Archives-Central Plains Region in Kansas City to honor working women during World War II. 

“Women played a significant role in the workforce during World War II,” said Rod Chapel, director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.  “We felt is was appropriate to honor these woman as we celebrate Labor Day and the many contributions made by workers to the growth and prosperity of our country.”

A temporary photo exhibit entitled, WOWs!: Women Ordnance Workers of the Cornhusker Ordnance Plant will be on display at the Missouri Department of Labor, 1410 Genessee Street, Kansas City, Missouri from September 13 through November 13, 2007.  The display features over 50 photographs, as well as selected posters from World War II.  A reception unveiling the exhibit will be held on September 13 at 3:30 p.m. at 1410 Genessee Street and will include remarks by Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith.

Governor Matt Blunt provided remarks at the photo exhibit’s grand opening on April 4th in Jefferson City.  Blunt reminded Missourians of the contributions and sacrifices made by women during World War II and the importance of honoring them for their service to this nation. 

During World War II, over three million women worked in war plants across the United States.  Working women were vital to the war effort, as the loss of men to military service left a workforce shortage in many areas.  The U.S. Government launched a major public relations campaign to encourage women to work.  The use of an invented character —  “Rosie the Riveter”—on a brightly colored poster was a powerful propaganda piece.

The Cornhusker Ordnance Plant (COP) located in Grand Island, Nebraska, was one of 60 ammunition plants built across the United States during World War II by the U.S. Army.  The plant was responsible for building bombs and artillery shells.  This photo exhibition depicts the type of work women did at the COP.  The images presented represent a handful of the actual number taken and preserved at the National Archives and Records Administration-Central Plains Region. 

In addition to these photographs, the Central Plains Region has records from two plants in Missouri:  the Lake City Arsenal in Independence and the St. Louis Ordnance Plant.

The Central Plains Region is one of 14 facilities nationwide where the public has access to federal archival records.  It is home to more than 43,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 federal agencies.  To learn more about the National Archives-Central Plains Region visit