Dr. John M. Cohn

LRC Director, CCM

Ann Kelsey

LRC Associate Director, CCM


Amy Sciuto

LRC Multimedia Designer, CCM


Regina A. Cannizzaro

LRC Reference Librarian, CCM


Christine Cavanaugh

LRC Library Assistant, CCM


Michael O'Hagan

LRC Media Producer, CCM


Christopher Underwood

LRC Systems Librarian, CCM

A special thanks to the many others who assisted in making the Rosie Luncheon a success:

Joseph Beshar

   Flying Sites Coordinator, Academy

   of Aeronautics

Dennis Cassidy

Clarity Films, Berkeley CA

Nieves Gruneiro-Roadcap

   Instructor, Visual Arts Dept., CCM

James Howard

   Instructor, Visual Arts Dept., CCM

Joanne Kares

   Director, Morris County Library

Kevin Keefe

   Director, Resource Development/

   Institutional Grants, CCM

Dr. Maria Lee

   Professor, History Dept., CCM

Dominic Latorraca, JD

  VP Academic Affairs, CCM

Honorable Cecilia Laureys

   Morris County Freeholder

Learning Resource Center Staff, CCM

Macys of Livingston

Loretta C. McLaughlin

   Sr. TV Producer/Director, CCM

Elaine Muller

   Director, Women's Center, CCM

Dr. Joseph Nazzaro

   Executive Director for College

   Advancement & Planning, CCM

Honorable Margaret Nordstrom

   Deputy Freeholder Director

Lynne Olver

   Head of Reference,

   Morris County Library

Patrick J. Owens

   ARDEC Historian, Picatinny Arsenal

Debbie Westmoreland

   Curator, Acorn Hall,

   Morristown Historical Society

Women's Center Staff, CCM

Dr. Edward J Yaw

   President, CCM

We would like to extend a special acknowledgement to Ann Kelsey, LRC Associate Director, CCM, whose vision and dedication spearheaded this project from the beginning.


The United States’ entry into World War II resulted in male workers in many industries being called into military service. Faced with a shortage of workers and the need to support the war effort on the home front, the Federal Manpower Commission and the Office of War Information decided to initiate a national campaign to recruit women into the labor force.

From 1940 to 1945, the number of female workers rose by 50% -- from 12 million women to almost 19 million. This change in the labor pool, initiated because of the war, allowed women to work in industries previously reserved primarily for men.  The image of “Rosie the Riveter” became a cultural icon, as “Rosie” represented the approximately 6 million American women who now worked in manufacturing and munitions plants. 

New Jersey’s World War II history is multi-layered. Fort Dix and Camp Kilmer served as major troop embarkation and staging points. New Jersey shipyards produced aircraft carriers, battleships, heavy cruisers, and destroyers. Located in Morris County, Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway and Hercules Powder Company in Kenvil produced ordnance and munitions. Iron ore mining and furnace production in Morris County continued to prosper in the Dover area. The Mount Hope Mine in Rockaway (the New Leonard Mine was opened in the early 1940’s specifically to help with the war effort), the Richard Mine in Rockaway and the Scrub Oaks Mine in Mine Hill all supplied large amounts of iron ore which was melted down into “pig iron” and later refined into metals for the war effort. Miners took canaries, raised in a building in the Denville area,  into the iron mines for air safety precautions. McWilliams Forge in Rockaway and Ulster Iron Works in Dover, among many other furnaces and foundries in the Dover/Rockaway area, produced metal castings for ships, planes and other war materiel from melted down iron ore.

Wright Aeronautical’s Engine Division in Paterson, Curtiss’ Propeller Division in Caldwell, and the Bendix Corporation manufactured airplane parts. With the invention of polyvinyl, RCA in Camden supported the troops in the war effort by producing V-Disc records. These music recordings could be sent overseas to the troops with much less breakage than the earlier records made of shellac. Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors in Linden built the Wildcat fighter for both the United States and Great Britain. Lakehurst Naval Air Station was the headquarters of Naval Airship Training and Experimentation.

The Morris County area required better roads and more railroad tracks to support the larger number of supplies and manufactured goods being transported for assembly and use directly in the war effort. This transportation boom also created more jobs. Because of the shortage of men, companies hired women to work in all of these occupations, jobs non-traditional for women.   

Although “Rosie” posters and ads showed her with the strength, stamina, and courage equal to the men she replaced, they depicted “Rosie” as still being feminine in her underlying appearance. This dual image appealed to many women attracted to the prospect of a new, exciting, and more remunerative work life outside of the home. When the war ended, however, many of these working women were replaced in their jobs by men returning from the war, forcing them to go back, sometimes reluctantly, to the home and their household duties.  Still, the influence that this experience had on these women led to social change for them and for women of subsequent generations.

These women are indeed role models for current and future generations.  As such, the purpose of this project is to expand and enhance both the college community’s and the general public’s understanding and awareness of Morris County women who worked in the home front defense industries during World War II.  It will preserve these women’s memories and the images and mementos of their work and service for future generations of students, New Jersey residents, and the public at large. It will also contribute to the historical recording and preservation of the stories of local residents who actively participated in the World War II war effort.




This project was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.


The Learning Resource Center at the County College of Morris

214 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey 07869