About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines"

Welcome Remarks for "The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines"
McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
February 11, 2019

Good afternoon. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased to welcome you to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. Whether you are in the room or participating through Facebook or YouTube, we’re glad you could join us.

Before we begin today’s talk about The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines, I’d like to let you know about two other programs coming up next week here in the McGowan Theater.

On Thursday, February 14, we’re hosting two programs. At noon, we’ll present the documentary film Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed. The film chronicles the 1972 Presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the Presidency. In honor of the 50th anniversary of her election to the House, we also have a featured document display of her 1969 oath of office. That display is upstairs in the East Rotunda Gallery.

And at 7 p.m. we’ll look at “Music in the Life of President Lincoln.” In partnership with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, we will explore President Lincoln’s musical tastes. Accompanied by video clips of the orchestra, a distinguished panel will discuss music in the Lincoln White House, the many performances Lincoln attended, and the role music played in his life during the Civil War.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Visit its website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about the Foundation and join online.

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Upon opening a new book, some people first scan the table of contents. Others may head for the index or plunge straight into chapter one, page one. I like to look first at the acknowledgments. And so often, there’s a wonderful payoff for that detour.

On so many occasions, the names of National Archives staff appear on those pages. I am very proud of the work our staff do every day to help researchers navigate through the records, and this sort of public recognition shines a light on their dedication to the mission of our institution.

In the acknowledgments section of The Girls Next Door, Kara Vuic remarks that “Finding one’s way through military and civilian records of several wars at the National Archives was a daunting task.” But Tab Lewis, Wil Mahoney, Martin Gedra, and Eric Van Slander helped her find her way so she could uncover the information she needed. Even a retired archivist, Richard Boylan, gets a mention for continuing to help even after he left the National Archives.

Whether you’re a published author, a student, or a beginning genealogist—our staff are there for you, to help you find your own way through the formidable volume of records in our care. And we are gratified each time a researcher publishes a work that couldn’t have been told without access to those records because that book, that article, that blog post means the stories once locked in folders and files are now out in the world, touching unknown numbers of readers.

Now let’s hear from Dr. Vuic about her new book and the stories of the women who volunteered to work in war zones from the First World War to the Vietnam War.

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Kara Dixon Vuic  is the Lance Corporal Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America at Texas Christian University, where she teaches courses on U.S. wars and American society, gender and war, and memory and war.

 Her first book, Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War, won the Lavinia L. Dock Book Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing, was named a Book of the Year in History and Public Policy by the American Journal of Nursing, and was a finalist for the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award. 

She also edited The Routledge Handbook on Gender, War, and the U.S. Military and is co-editor of the University of Nebraska Press’s book series “Studies in War, Society, and the Military.” She is currently co-editing a collection “Managing Sex in the U.S. Military.”

Vuic currently serves on the Advisory Board to Eastern National for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kara Dixon Vuic.