Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-388
Location: LH-388

(Description ID: 595724)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Mary J. Shinn Collection


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

This collection was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in 2013. 

Biographical Sketch
Mary Junelle Shinn was born on 29 December 1922 to John R. and Anna Mary (Leatherman) Myers.  After graduating from high school Mary entered the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program through the United States Navy.  She completed her training as a storekeeper in Milledgeville, Georgia on 14 October 1944 and was stationed in Hawaii.  Mary was honorably discharged from the Navy in August 1946.

On 24 May 1947 she married Kenneth R. Shinn in Elkhart, Indiana.  The couple had two children; Lyle R. and Vicki Ann Prickett.  Mary worked as a ward secretary at Elkhart General Hospital from 1968 until her retirement in 1984.  Mary J. Shinn died on 8 October 2007 in Riverside Village, Elkhart, Indiana.

The WAVES program was created in August 1942 in response to the need for additional military personnel during World War II.  Secretarial and clerical jobs still made up a large portion of the positions, but thousands of WAVES personnel performed other duties such as aviation mechanics, photographers, control tower operators, parachute riggers, store keepers, and intelligence personnel.  WAVES were not eligible for combat duty, so as more men went off to war, positions in other fields became available.  They received the same pay and were subject to military discipline just like their male counterparts.  Late into the war they were authorized to serve in certain overseas positions, and a number were sent to Hawaii.  By the end of World War II over 84,000 women served in the program, which comprised 2.5% of the United States Navy personnel strength.  On 12 June 1948 Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, allowing women to gain permanent status in all military branches of the United States, which put the WAVES program into obsolescence.  

Scope and Content
This collection, spanning the years from 1943-1946, contains the training material of Mary J. (Meyer) Shinn while serving with the United States Navy as storekeeper in the WAVES program during World War II.  Six issues of the Field Branch Gazette, a naval publication, complete the collection.

Ac. 5835 

 Box 1

  1. U.S. Navy Storekeeper Training Workbooks
  2. U.S. Navy Storekeeper Training Workbooks
  3. U.S. Navy Storekeeper Training Worksheets
  4. The Field Branch Gazette(6 issues)  January 1945 – April 1945
  5. Ephemera