The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established during World War II to allow women to take over administrative duties at Army posts, camps, stations, service headquarters, and other army installations to relieve men for active duty. In July of 1943, President Roosevelt signed a bill to make the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps an integral part of the Army. This change was made over a period of months and by September 30, 1943, enlistments were made in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and the WAAC ceased to exist.
The Women's Army Corps Army Administration School at Nacogdoches was established in February, 1943. Stephen F. Austin College provided all necessary quarters, classrooms, and offices for the school while holding classes as usual for civilian students. Quarters were prepared in Gibbs Hall, the women's dormitory, the men's dormitory, and the Women's Recreation Center. Classes were held in the basement of the Administration Building while offices were set up in the basement of the Science Building. Army officers and WAC officers served as instructors and directors. Lt. Col. Thomas M. Childs, A.G.D., New York City, was Commanding Officer of the school while Major John C. Woodbury was Educational Director of the 60 subjects taught. Training for the women lasted six weeks with a new class starting at the school every three weeks. The first class arrived February 12, 1943 and consisted of 250 WAC trainees. This first class was called Company A, Class 1, the next was Company B, Class 2, and the next was Company A, Class 3. Thus the classes were lettered alternately between A and B but numbered consecutively.
In June 1943, the school was expanded to eight weeks rather than six weeks, with an increased emphasis being put on clerical training. As a result, classes graduated every four weeks rather than every three weeks. The dates of graduation for the twelve classes were: March 24, 1943; April 14, 1943; May 5, 1943; May 26, 1943; June 30, 1943; July 28, 1943; September 1, 1943; September 29, 1943; November 3, 1943; December 1, 1943; December 29, 1943; and January 26, 1944. Each of the classes presented a program at the high school auditorium usually the night before graduation. The titles of the programs in the order presented are as follows: "Variety Show" "Two Knights in a Day Room" "Salute to the Nations" "Why I Joined the WAAC" "A Night in the Day Room" "G. I. Follies of 1943" "WAC’s a' Poppin'" "Passing in Revue" "WAC Tracks" "Reunion in 155" "Bal Masque" and "Women at Camp." The classes also produced a mimeographed service newspaper for the local WAC branch called the "Tag Echo.” Most of the women trained at the school were from outside the state of Texas with many coming from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and Iowa.
Through financial support from the businesses around Nacogdoches, a Service Club was opened for the enjoyment of WACs and others in the Military Service. The Service Club was formally opened on May 15, 1943 in the Beall Building on Main Street Nacogdoches with about 150 WACs and as many civilians attending.
Prior to the closing of the school in January 1944, several officers of the school were transferred. Lt. Col. Thomas M. Childs was reassigned to the 8th Service Command, Dallas, in December of 1943. He was replaced as Commanding Officer of the school by Major Alford T. Hearne who was Adjutant of the station from the beginning. Major Woodbury was also transferred in December and was replaced as Educational Director by Major Ellen Bailey who had been Assistant Director of Instructions. The Army Administration School at Nacogdoches closed with the graduation of Company B, Class 12 on January 26, 1944. In all, over 2,000 WACs were trained at the school located on the Stephen F. Austin College campus.
Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of two large scrapbooks entitled "WAAC Branch Number 1, Army Administration School, Nacogdoches, Texas, Volume 1" and "WAC Branch Number 1, Army Administration School, Nacogdoches, Texas, Volume 2." The scrapbooks are organized in near date order. Volume 1 spans February 5, 1943 – August 30, 1943 while Volume 2 covers September, 1943 - February 10, 1944. Information about each class is usually presented together. The scrapbooks contain graduation programs of all 12 classes as well as programs of the shows presented by the classes. The DAILY SENTINEL's column "With the WAC" is included many times. Newspaper clippings from the DAILY SENTINEL, PINE LOG, and REDLAND HERALD announcing various events of the school and presenting human interest stories about the WACs are included. Also, clippings from the hometown newspapers of WACs of each class telling of their training at the WAC Army Administration School in Nacogdoches are included.
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