Michigan State University

Digital Repository

Women's Overseas Service League Oral Histories

About the Collection

The Women’s Overseas Service League (WOSL) oral history digital collection offers free, worldwide listening to 162 audio interviews with American women who served overseas during the Great War, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

The Women’s Overseas Service League donated their oral history collection to the MSU Libraries' Vincent Voice Library in 1999. The materials include sound recording masters on audio cassette, full copyright releases, some transcripts, and biographical data. The University of Texas at San Antonio also has a WOSL archival collection that includes approximately 40 interviews. These two collections have been digitized as part of an NHPRC-funded grant project and combined in this online collection, which forms the most complete known collection of WOSL oral histories.

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About the Women’s Overseas Service League

Founded in 1921 by women who had served in World War I, WOSL initially existed as local units, but soon became a national organization. The recordings, transcripts, and ephemera presented here enable the listener to understand the context under which these women served and later banded together to form the League.

In listening to these women's recollections, we learn of their experiences, including fighting for government benefits for women and supporting fellow service women through strategic philanthropic effort. We are beneficiaries of poignant reminiscences from their day-to-day challenges while overseas and after returning home.

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This project was generously funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).