Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Edith Nourse Rogers represented a Massachusetts district for 35 years, setting the record for longest-serving woman in the House.
On this date, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) Act, which authorized a voluntary enrollment program for up to 150,000 women to join the U.S. Army in a noncombat capacity, was signed into law. Authored and introduced by Representative Edith Nourse Rogers
of Massachusetts, the proposal cleared the way for women to serve in a variety of jobs: medical care professionals, welfare workers, clerical workers, cooks, messengers, military postal employees, chauffeurs, and telephone and telegraph operators. In making her case on the House Floor, Representative Rogers explained that the WAAC Act gave “
women a chance to volunteer to serve their country in a patriotic way.”
A year later the measure was supplanted by Rogers’s Women’s Army Corps Bill, which granted official military status to the volunteers by creating the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) within the Army. Rogers’s success opened the way for other uniformed women’s services in the Navy (WAVEs) and the Air Force (WASPs).