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Women of WWII: Serving Soldiers at the Whistle Stop Canteen

March 28, 2023, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Geneva History Museum
543 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Five middle-aged women standing in a row behind a table. Each holds out a plate with rolls on it.

Women at the North Platte Canteen. Courtesy Lincoln County Historical Museum.

In conjunction with Historic Geneva's current exhibit Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Food and Beverages in Geneva, author Barb Warner Deane will present the lecture "Women of WWII: Serving Soldiers at the Whistle Stop Canteen." She will speak on the role women played in feeding and comforting the nation's soldiers when they were away from home.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, American troops started traveling across the U.S. for recruitment, induction, training, and deployment. Most servicemen had never been far away from home and certainly not on an over-crowded troop train, destination unknown. Some well-known canteens, like the Stage Door Canteen or Hollywood Canteen, had celebrities offering food, dancing, and entertainment to the servicemen. But the real surprise came at train stations all across the country, such as North Platte, NE, Dennison, OH, Reno, NV, and Connellsville, PA, where local women, children, and senior citizens sacrificed their own food and ration stamps to provide a morale boost to hungry, homesick, and frightened soldiers. In Geneva, such services were offered at the local USO club canteen. Join Deane to learn about how the Greatest Generation pulled together to help the troops.

Barb Warner Deane is the award-winning author of four published novels and is a public speaker on the topic of American women in WWII. Barb graduated from Cornell University and the University Of Connecticut School of Law. Barb, her husband, and family lived primarily in the Chicago area for thirty years, other than two years in Frankfurt, Germany and two years in Shanghai, China. She and her husband have recently moved home to the Finger Lakes. In addition to writing, Barb is a genealogy buff, loves to read, is a fan of all things Harry Potter, and is crazy for both U.S. and international travel.

The lecture series is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams fund for programs in the Humanities and is free and open to the public. For more information about the program, call the Historic Geneva office at 315-789-5151.

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