War Women: The Role of Women in Holland, Michigan during World War II

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Marc Baer, Hope College

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When World War II began, men were either drafted or volunteered to join the armed forces, which left a void in most communities, including the city of Holland, Michigan. The women who remained behind rose to the occasion and dedicated themselves to the war effort. This research will demonstrate the extent to which the women of Holland aided the war effort—globally, nationally, and locally. One vital way that the women helped for the duration of the war was by working in a factory located on Lake Macatawa—Fafnir Bearing. In this plant, workers produced ball bearings for a variety of military planes that flew around the world. As well, even though times were financially tight, the women of Holland saved as much as they could to invest in war bonds and, in their spare time, knitted scarves, hats, and sweaters for servicemen. Finally, it fell to the female faculty, students, and staff to see that Hope College remained a place where learning thrived. The women that remained in Holland, Michigan, though faced with adversity, met the challenges of World War II with diligence and dignity.


This research was supported by a Pagenkopf History Research Scholarship

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