The Massachusetts Women's Corps
October 29, 2009
The uniform seen here was originally worn by Anne E. Gedges (1916-2007), a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Corps (MWC) during World War II. As Gedges explained in a letter years later, the MWC offered local women a way to assist the war effort:
“Women wanted to do something to help end the war so we volunteered to serve coffee + doughnuts on the Boston Common, collected money for the U.S.O. at the Boston Garden + other theaters, worked Sundays at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea…We marched in parades and felt we were better than the National Guard staying in step.”
The uniform includes a red patch on one shoulder that shows a gold-colored coffeepot, reflecting one of the group’s activities. A lapel pin on the jacket includes the motto, Paratus Et Fidelis – Latin for “faithful and ready.” The uniform was donated to the National Heritage Museum in 2007 by Gedges' niece.
The photograph at right shows Gedges with the rest of her local group. She stands at the center of the second row of women, wearing her uniform. The donor also gave a certificate documenting her honorable discharge from this service in 1946 to the Museum with the uniform and the photograph. After the war, Gedges taught in the Waltham school system. She lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, for much of her life.
Massachusetts Women’s Corps Uniform, ca. 1942, Leopold Morselo, Boston, Massachusetts. National Heritage Museum, gift of H. Thaddeus and Ellen Wolosinski, 2007.038a-c. Photograph by David Bohl.
Photograph of Anne Gedges and Massachusetts Women’s Corps Unit, ca. 1942, Boston, Massachusetts. National Heritage Museum, gift of H. Thaddeus and Ellen Wolosinski.