As the Museum Corner’s articles for Black History Month have just come to a close, I am looking forward to researching and writing the next series for March which is Women’s History Month.
Back in mid January of this year, I sent out a special request asking the readers of the Advocate, Times Tribune and Sentinel Echo if they knew of any women who went to work at the Oak Ridge Laboratories during World War II. I asked people to contact me if they knew anyone. I actually heard from two women who gave me names and information of the women they knew.
In February, I received a delightful letter from Virginia Lawrence of Cincinnati, Ohio, a former Barbourville resident, who described two women that she knew, Helen King and Lois Kathleen “Kitty” Parker who had both worked in Oak Ridge during the war. Later, I followed up Virginia’s letter with a phone conversation during which she talked at length about her dear friend Kitty. At the end of our call, I asked her if she happened to have a photo of Kitty and would she be so kind as to send it to me. Last week, I received a letter from Virginia with two photos enclosed. I excitedly scanned them into my computer and plan to use them later on in this series.
Two other women were brought to my attention as well. I had the really good fortune to know and have one of these exceptional women as my Chemistry and Physics teacher at Knox Central High School, Miss Virginia Lee Bolton of Barbourville. The other woman is Roellen Carnes Stoerr of Lexington, Kentucky.
Information on all four of these women will be presented in future articles during this month. Again, I am asking the readers of the Advocate, Times Tribune and Sentinel Echo if they know of any women who went to work at the Oak Ridge Laboratories during World War II. If you do, please contact me at 606-546-3940 and leave a message along with your phone number; I will get back with you as soon as possible. You can also email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Special thanks to: Virginia Lawrence and Mayla McKeehan.
For those of you who are interested in reading more about our local Kentucky women who worked in the other war effort, the atomic bomb program, the book, The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win WW II by Denise Kiernan, describes their stories, an excellent resource.