About the Project

We began working on Homefront Heroines in 2006, interviewing WAVES and SPARs. This started as academic research, with the intent of transforming it into a multi-media interactive documentary project. Follow our timeline below:

  • Februrary, 2006: Director Kathleen M. Ryan gets in contact with WAVES National and does the first interviews with Navy WAVES and Coast Guard SPARs.
  • September, 2006: Ryan and friend Mel Kangleon attend the WAVES National Convention, held aboard a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. There Ryan interviews nine women and makes contacts to interview dozens more. Kangleon is unofficially adopted by the WAVES who meet her.
  • October, 2006-May, 2008: Ryan continues interviewing WAVES and SPARs over the next 18 months. She receives a grant to do archive research from the Library of Congress and from the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon. She also completes her Ph.D. at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her dissertation is entitled When Flags Flew High: Propaganda, Memory and Oral History for World War II Female Veterans, and uses the oral histories gathered for this project.
  • Summer, 2008-Spring, 2009: The project relocates to Ohio. Ryan presents research on the project at several conferences, including the International Oral History Association in Guadalajara.
  • Summer, 2009: Producer David Staton begins work on the project. Ryan receives a grant to do research at Radcliffe College’s Schlesinger Library. Thanks to that funding and some additional funding from Miami University (Ohio), the two spend the summer, along with Executive (Fe)Line Producer Miranda, traveling across the United States, interviewing WAVES and shooting location and archival footage for the project, which is now been dubbed Homefront Heroines: The WAVES of World War II.
  • August, 2009 – May, 2010:  Production Assistant Caitlin Van Mol begins working on the project, doing the groundwork for the first version of the website, which launched in Spring, 2010. The project receives a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council, and as a result is able to travel to archives and do expert interviews in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. Ryan and Staton meet WAVE officer Frannie Pringle Taft, who not only is interviewed, but provides the project with 5 reels of 16mm color film from World War II.
  • Summer, 2010: Based on the new material, Staton and Ryan write an updated project script. Line Producer Joe Sampson works on audio vignettes of selected interviews. The project relocates from Ohio to Colorado.
  • Fall, 2010-Spring, 2011: Script revisions, based upon feedback from project consultants. The project receives grants from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of North Carolina Greensboro Archives and Special Collections for archive travel and archival film digitization. Production Assistant Keke Mullins creates video vignettes for selected interviews. Final expert interviews are shot.
  • Summer, 2011: Post-production begins. Project successfully raises funds on Kickstarter and is able to bring WAVE Margaret Thorngate to the U.S.S. Missouri. Production Assistant Laura Hampton receives a research assistant appointment from the University of Colorado to create geo-tagged story elements for smartphones using the TagWhat platform. Hinges of History blog established.
  • October, 2011: Web site relaunch.
  • October, 2012: Film previews at WAVES National Convention in Orlando.
  • April, 2013: Film debuts at Through Women’s Eyes, Sarasota Film Festival
  • October, 2013: Film screens at San Pedro International Film Festival
  • April 2014: Film receives Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts Award of Excellence

Help Tell the Story of the WAVES