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Home Front Women

I am sure most of us have heard of “Rosie the Riveter” but as medal collectors most of us, myself included, rarely think of the home front during a war and the huge role played by women in the labor force. Illustrated below is an identification group of one such lady. She was a new hire at the Badger Ordnance Works near Baraboo in South Central Wisconsin. The works made explosives and therefore was located as far from civilization as possible as long as there was good transportation access, water and local labor available. Photo id’s were required for workers starting just before the second world war which is great for us collectors since it puts a face on many of our collectibles. Here we have a good looking lady with a rather hard or tough facial expression. Judging from her face she has seen some hard times. By Nov. of 1941 the US Army had acquired 10,500 acres of farm land for the B.O.W. Most of the land was small farms which barely supported the families through the depression. The land is hilly, rocky and beautiful and though life was hard the farmers loved their land and didn’t want to leave it. In this country we like to view ourselves as the leaders of the free world and the bastion of democracy. However our government on all levels, local to federal, doesn’t always act that way when dealing with it’s own citizens. If they want your land and you do not want to sell or the price the government offers you is not fair enough you will still end up loosing your land through the law of Eminent Domain. By March 1, 1942 all of the local farmers had left or were forcibly removed. For many the amount of money that they were paid for their land could not support them as well as their land had. Ironically many of these displaced farm families ended up having to work for the Badger Ordnance Works on their former land in order to survive. This could explain the hard expression on the lady’s face.