Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life

Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life

Along with the contracts to build minesweepers in 1943 came money to publish a professionally written and photographed newsletter. Aptly named “The Minesweeper,” it was published weekly on payday starting Jan. 8, 1943. The final issue was published Sept. 14, 1945.

The four-page paper’s objectives: “To Build Ships; To Defeat the Axis; To Win The Peace.”

The publication promoted safety, discouraged worker absenteeism, and encouraged workers to buy War Bonds.

Chuck full of names and photos of workers, it is a goldmine for today’s genealogists and historians. And, thanks to the efforts of the Bainbridge Island Historical Society, original and digitized versions are available.

Some of the information is humorous — the slang of the period and the fact that every male worker had a nickname. Other information is more socially revealing. Reading through the issues, one can see “gals” move from pushing paper in the front office and beauty queen contests, to staffing the warehouses and, finally, working side-by-side with the men in the shipyard.

Nancy Cooper was the first woman shipyard worker to be recognized in the newsletter. The paper said she had a number of other firsts to her name. She had been the first streetcar motorwoman in San Francisco, and she had been at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 1941.

Racial jokes also vanished over the years, and photos suggest that there was at least one African-American working at the yard by 1945.

Workers put together a band to play at dances and launchings, and sports were huge. The 160 homes built for worker housing in Winslow was big news.

— Terryl Asla is a reporter for the Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tasla@sound publishing.com.

Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life
Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life
Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life

More in News

.
4 more COVID-related deaths confirmed in Kitsap, 251 total

182 new cases also confirmed since Monday

Scouts Henrik Zapf, Adrian Meidell, Ethan Meidell, Nathan Cole, Jason Arul selling trees to support the Bainbridge Island Boy Scout Troop 1565. The Christmas Tree lot is located next to Ace Hardware on High School Road.
Scouting out Christmas trees on BI? They’re shorter

Because of the financial crisis of 2008, it’s going to be hard… Continue reading

BPA plans holiday events this month

Bainbridge Performing Arts closes out 2021 with some music and comedy at… Continue reading

It's free to go to Bloedel Reserve on Gratitude Day. Courtesy Photo
Bainbridge Island briefs

Free at Bloedel Dec. 11 is Gratitude Day at the Bloedel Reserve… Continue reading

Joanne Maher
IVC names executive director

Interim director Joanne Maher has been named the new executive director for… Continue reading

New transmission wires would be located above the distribution ones already in place. Courtesy illustration
PSE picks ‘Missing Link’ route

Transmission lines would be above distribution lines already in place

.
BISD getting back to its traditions

With things going on despite COVID-19 this year, traditions are returning in… Continue reading

.
115 new COVID cases confirmed in Kitsap over long Holiday weekend

Over last week, case rate per 100,000 has dropped to 83

Most Read