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Phillis Abry Kaplan papers
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Phillis Abry Kaplan was a queer woman who served in World War II. This collection consists of her scrapbooks chronicling her service.
Phillis Abry was born on July 16, 1920. When she was seventeen, she was expelled from her private high school in the midwest after a love letter she had written to another young woman was found by the woman's guardian. Unable to continue living in her father's home, she moved to New York city to live with her mother. In March 1943, moved by a patriotic desire to help the war effort and by a desire to "be with all those women" in the army, she left her job as a lab technician at the RCA research labs in Princeton, New Jersey, to enlist in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). After training in Des Moines, Iowa, she went to Newark, New Jersey, to complete a radio repairman's course at the United Radio Television Institute. There she met her lover Mildred, who arranged for the two to be sent to the same army base: the South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock, Texas, in July 1943. In August, the WAACs were sworn into the US Army and Phillis officially became a member of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). She worked as a recruiter for the WAC in the winter of 1944, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Indeed, she was pictured (inspecting a radio together with Mildred) in a WAC recruiting poster. From August 1945, through March 1946, she was stationed in Paris; when she returned home, she received an honorable discharge. She lived with Mildred for some years, until she went to college in Reno, Nevada. There she met her husband; in 1950 she graduated and they were married. In 1987, she was interviewed by Allan Berube for his World War II Project. She died in 1995.
1 linear foot
Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.
Collection is open for research.