Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life | Kitsap Weekly

Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life | Kitsap Weekly

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 | Kitsap Weekly
Newsletter offers a window into 1940s island life | Kitsap Weekly

More in News

.
Update: Suspect confesses to killing Port Orchard man during botched pot deal

19-year-old dealer shot during scuffle at South Kitsap parking lot

.
19-year-old admits to killing Port Orchard man

Gig Harbor man turns himself in and is booked on first-degree murder. Another suspect is also booked.

Map view of Strickland property. Courtesy photo
City of Poulsbo looking to buy resident’s property next to PERC site

Ellen Strickland wants to sell her property to city instead of developers

.
Towne Square’s new ownership has big plans for reimagined mall

Klein, Fenner see a remix of restaurants, retail in refurbished property

.
Survey about NKSD: Quality good, COVID not

A majority of respondents to a survey about the North Kitsap School… Continue reading

.
Bremerton retiree donates $250,000 each to four Kitsap nonprofits

Donor gives $1.875 million in total to seven groups serving the environment, arts and children

.
Proposition 2 seeks to upgrade Kitsap 911’s emergency communications system

A 1/10th of 1 percent sales tax increase would pay for $41 million modernization

A volunteer helps pick up trash as part of Puget Soundkeeper’s Poulsbo cleanup. Tyler Shuey/North Kitsap Herald photos
Puget Soundkeeper holds cleanup events in Kitsap

Seattle-based water quality advocacy group looking to expand footprint

Most Read