Women's Land Army Recruitment Poster, 1945.

Posters such as this one produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture were used to recruit urban women into the farm labor ranks.

Women's Land Army

Women of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds played an integral role in the success of the Emergency Farm Labor Service. Women who were recruited to work became part of a nationwide group known as the Women's Land Army (WLA). The WLA had its own insignia and uniform, although the uniform was not widely adopted. Soon after passage of Public Law 45, statewide responsibility for the WLA was given to Mabel Mack, the OSC Extension Service's nutrition specialist.

Most women worked on a "day haul" basis -- they lived at home and were transported to farms by personal cars, growers' trucks, or school buses. They hoed, weeded, thinned, and harvested crops of all kinds. Many supervised youth platoons, especially teachers out of school for the summer. A few worked year round, especially on poultry and dairy farms. Others worked in canneries or were leaders for recruiting other women. Nearly 135,000 placements of women were made in Oregon from 1943 through 1947.

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Women's Land Army Window Display at Miller's Department Store, Salem, 1944. Like billboards, widow displays were used to recruit workers during peak harvest seasons. [P120:2657]

Oregon State College Women Loading Up to Go to the Fields, May 1944.

OSC Women Recruited by the College's Experimental Hop Yard for a Hurry-Up Job of Hoeing, 1944.

Women Board a "Housewife Special" Bus to Go Help Save Marion County's Bean Crop, 1944. According to the Extension Service's 1944 Farm Labor Annual Report, "this special group worked shorter hours, 8:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., which enabled the busy housewife to do her home work." [P120:2755]

National Director of the Women's Land Army, Florence L. Hall, Visiting the LaFollette Peach Orchard, Marion County, 1944. With Hall (left) is Mabel Mack, supervisor of the Oregon Women's Land Army. Hall visited several harvesting operations in the Willamette Valley as well as the Coburg farm labor camp. [P120:2765]

Mabel and Jessie Blackwell "Wigwaming" Fiber Flax at the Benton County Flax Growers Cooperative Near Monroe, 1944. This photograph was sent out by the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. to weekly and small town newspapers throughout the U.S. [P120:2816]

Shirley Christy, OSC Dairy Maids Training School, 1944. OSC's Dairy Department cooperated with the Extension Service in providing a short training course for women dairy workers. A typical day began at 4:00 A.M. with milking in the college's dairy barns and ended the same way fourteen hours later. [#425]

Women Harvesting Canning Peas, Umatilla County, 1944. Marilyn Glenn was the truck driver, Pat Mann drove the tractor and Norma Mann, her sister-in-law, operated the loader. [P120:2396]

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