Photographing "Government Girls:" Esther Bubley, Wartime Femininity, and the Office of War Information

Beadle, Meaghan, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hale, Grace, Department of History, University of Virginia

While working for the Office of War Information in 1943, Esther Bubley made photographs of young women working and living in Washington, D.C. Her photography distinctively depicts a woman’s view of wartime femininity and female sexuality that is grounded in her status as a young woman who is, in many ways, a prime example of her single female subjects. Reading Bubley’s images in the contexts of her personal history, the broader social history, and the visual culture of her time allows for a fuller understanding of her photography that moves past the superficial and accesses a new visual record of wartime gender roles that counters imagery of women that men made for government propaganda and mass media.

MA (Master of Arts)
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