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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Size Matters: 1943

Size Matters: 1943

February 1943. "Mrs. Mary Betchner measuring 105mm howitzers at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, plant of the Chain Belt Company. Her son is in the Army; her husband and daughter are in war work." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information.

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Service Age

The average WWII serviceman's age was 26 according to the Westmoreland papers. The average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam was 22.

Chain Belt

Apparently the company is now known as Rexnord, and is still in Wisconsin with facilities in other areas around the country; it does aerospace and industrial manufacturing now.

Re: Young Mother

I believe the average age of a soldier or Marine in World War II was nineteen. I know of one fellow who joined up at sixteen, fought in North Africa, transferred to the airborne, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and died in France at twenty, a grizzled veteran of three years hard combat.

Mary looks so young!

How could she possibly be old enough to have a son in the Army? Beautiful!

I can't resist...

"Feeling inadequate?"

Big gun go boom

You can have your howitzer any color you want as long as it's olive drab.


I hope she's not wearing purple socks like those other wartime workers and therefore delegitimizing herself.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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