Montgomery Blair High school Victory Corps. Members of the Victory Corps exhibited their best formations before Army, Navy, and civilian officials in Silver Spring, Maryland. The girls being reviewed are students of Montgomery Blair High School.

Victory Corps: World War II Homefront

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard,
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: (410) 260-6400
Internet: www.mdsa.net
e-mail: archives@mdsa.net


Introduction

As Americans became more involved in the escalation of World War II, volunteer organizations began to form. Seeing the need for high school students to become involved, Commissioner of Education John W. Studebaker, on September 25, 1942, upon the recommendation of his advisory Wartime Commission, established the Victory Corps.

The purpose of this student organization was to prepare high school students to aid in the war effort on the homefront and the frontlines.  Both girls and boys from white and African American schools participated.  In order to be a member, a student needed to participate in a physical fitness program, enroll in a war-effort class, and volunteer for at least one extracurricular wartime activity.  Engaging in a physical fitness program was essential because military officials were alarmed by the poor condition of recent enlistments.  At the advent of the war, high school curriculums in Maryland had been altered to accommodate war-effort classes.  By modifiying industrial arts and vocational-industrial classes, students could learn about machinery, fundamentals of electricity, radios, canning of food, aeronautics, first aid, and other pertinent topics. 

Due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., Maryland had the first three Victory Corps programs: Ellicott City High School in Howard County and Sherwood High School and Montgomery Blair Senior High School, both in Montgomery County.  As the war progressed, 126 of the 145 Maryland county high schools and all of Baltimore City’s high schools had established Victory Corps.

As the war drew to a close, the Victory Corps program was phased out beginning in June of 1944.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 8:  The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

STANDARD 3:  The causes and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad, and its reshaping of the U.S. role in world affairs. 

Standard 3C:  The student understands the effects of World War II at home.

5-12 Explain how the United States mobilized its economic and military resources during World War II. [Utilize visual and quantitative data] 
7-12 Evaluate how minorities organized to gain access to wartime jobs and how they confronted discrimination. [Formulate a position or course of action on an issue] 
7-12 Analyze the effects of World War II on gender roles and the American family. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas] 
9-12  Evaluate the war’s impact on science, medicine, and technology, especially in nuclear physics, weaponry, synthetic fibers, and television. [Utilize quantitative data]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Montgomery Blair High school Victory Corps. Montgomery Blair High School girls are being trained for positions in war industry. As part of the Victory Corps activities in this Silver Spring, Maryland school, Shirley Noonan learns how to weld. John Studebaker, U.S. Commissioner of Education, watches her work. He, along with several Army, Navy, and civilian officials, reviewed Victory Corps maneuvers at the high school.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, High school Victory Corps. Home economics students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, make their contribution to the school's Victory Corps program by preparing and serving food in the student-operated cafeteria
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  3. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, High school Victory Corps. Domestic governing body at the Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland, is the student council which cooperates with school officials and the parent-teachers association in determining policies for their Victory Corps.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  4. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Montgomery Blair High school Victory Corps. Members of the Victory Corps exhibited their best formations before Army, Navy, and civilian officials in Silver Spring, Maryland. The girls being reviewed are students of Montgomery Blair High School.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, High school Victory Corps. To release housewives in Silver Spring, Maryland, for war work, girls in the Victory Corps of Montgomery Blair High School operate a day nursery. Besides helping the community, the project ties in with the school's home economics course.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  6. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Montgomery Blair High school Victory Corps. Victory Corps girls of Montgomery Blair high school in Silver Spring, Maryland stood erect when "superior officers" reviewed their maneuvers. Students wear their uniforms three times a week and have their extra- curricular activities directed towards war work.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  7. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, High school Victory Corps. James Parsley and Bill Sabin do their clean-up chores for the day in Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland. Because of labor shortage, Victory Corps members at Montgomery Blair are taking over some of the janitor, mechanical and electrical repair activities at the school.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  8. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, High school Victory Corps. Young Americans study the problems of Democracy at war to prepare them for their future usefulness to their country. This panel discussion on inflation is typical of those held in social studies classes at Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland, in which members of the Victory Corps learn what they are organized to fight.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  9. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland. Victory Corps boy learning bench metal mathematics.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  10. DESCRIPTION
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Oct.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  11. DESCRIPTION: Photograph,  Buying war stamps at the booth maintained by the Victory Corp at Woodrow Wilson High School
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  October 1943
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  12. DESCRIPTION: Records of the High School Victory Corps Records of the Office of Education
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1942-1944
    SOURCE:  Records of the Office of Education (Record Group 12) 1870-1983
    RESPOSITORY:  U.S. National Archives & Records Administration

  13. DESCRIPTION: Photograph,  High school Victory Corps. Members of the Victory Corps of Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles, California, have an opportunity to learn first aid. Here, one of the groups practice on a classmate.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  September-October 1942
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to order reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and other restrictions
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC

  14. DESCRIPTION: Newspaper article, “Victory Corps: School Units Planned”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 25, 1942
    SOURCE: Evening Sun (Baltimore)
    NOTE: Also located in flat file in Maryland Room, Enoch Pratt Library

  15. DESCRIPTION: Newspaper article, “Pace setters in War Effort” 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 27, 1942
    SOURCE: Sun (Baltimore)
    NOTE: Includes photographs of Ellicott City High School; Also located in flat file in Maryland Room, Enoch Pratt Library

  16. DESCRIPTION: “High School Victory Corps”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March-June 1943
    SOURCE: Baltimore Bulletin of Education, Vol XX, No. 3
    NOTE: Also located in flat file in Maryland Room, Enoch Pratt Library

  17. DESCRIPTION: Victory Corps. Along with their English course, this class at Benjamin Franklin High School in New York City is learning the basic principles of first aid
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 1942
    SOURCE:  Archival Research Catalog of U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
    RESPOSITORY:  Franklin D. Roosevelt Library (Hyde Park, NY)
    NOTE: Search by title listed above

  18. DESCRIPTION:  "Cardozo High School, Washington, DC." High School Victory Corps
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  June 1943
    SOURCE:  Archival Research Catalog of U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
    RESPOSITORY: National Archives at College Park - Archives II
    NOTE: Search by title listed above

Additional Instructional Resources 

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

On the Homefront: America During World War I and World War II. From the Learning Page, American Memory.

Secondary Resources 

Andrus, Ethel Percy. High School Victory Corps Journal of Educational Sociology (December 1942): 231-240.

Ugland, Richard M. "Education for Victory: The High School Victory Corps and Curriculum Adaptation during World War II." History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 4. (Winter, 1979), pp. 435-451.

Uhler, Jr., William P., "The Impact of the War Upon the School Health Program." Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 16, No. 7. (Mar., 1943), pp. 411-416. 
NOTE: describes the changes outlined for a National Physical Fitness program

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Traci Siegler.

An Archives of Maryland Online Publication
© Copyright, Maryland State Archives, June 23, 2004