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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Virginia Excell: 1942

Virginia Excell: 1942

September 1942. "Tires need checking too? Shifting trends of employment in wartime America have opened up new jobs for women such as this young East Liverpool, Ohio, girl who has pioneered in two new fields since graduation from high school. She learned butchering first, and built up quite a reputation as a purveyor of choice cuts. Now she's one of the most efficient service station attendants in the neighborhood. Her name? Virginia Excell." Photo by Ann Rosener for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

I don't know why

I don't know what, in particular, makes it so, but I think she's beautiful. The freckles suggest red hair, and she seems to be working with confidence at her task. A feisty, pretty redhead!

Family History

Her home town, East Liverpool OH, caught my eye. I'm a native of Pittsburgh PA but my father's family history is based in Lisbon OH, Columbiana County. When I was a lad in late 40s and into the 50s his family was based in East Liverpool and I think he worked in an EL glass company of the era probably early 30s-ish. I don't think I have any family left in the area. Wife and I visited the area in 2010 and had a good research experience in the Lisbon Historical Records. Doubt there's any connection with her family but it was interesting to read of her. She was only 69 when she passed away. East Liverpool has sadly deteriorated over the years, at least the downtown areas from what we saw.

Its a 1939 Cadillac

The curve in the side panel below Virginias elbow along with the unique radiator shroud makes me think that this car is a 1939 Cadillac.

You Are Correct, Sir!

It looks like alert member, Doubleclutchin has nailed it again. The automobile certainly seems to be a '39 LaSalle with a flat-head V-8 behind that unique cowling.

Virginia Excell

Ruth Virginia Excell Burdick died in Wellsville, Ohio, on August 28. 1991. See her gravestone here:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=BURD&GSpartial=1&G...

The Air-Cleaner

Should provide a good clue to the car's identity. I thought at first a '41 or '42 Packard Clipper, but then remembered those hoods opened from either side, not the "alligator" style shown. It's probably sitting on a fairly large straight 8.

Where is the snood?

That lovely hair needs protecting!

(Much later, Virginia would become a software pioneer and be known as Queen of the Spreadsheets).

Peer Pressure

Even a '39 LaSalle has a pressurized radiator. Apparently this young lady has not yet been scalded pulling the cap on a hot car.

The choice cuts were disappearing

Ms. Excell is in the right business as those choice cuts were all going to the troops and beef was rationed then. The ability to keep the pre-war cars going was a good trade to be in. Gas was rationed too but you could still catch a few gallons a week.

 
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