Portrait Studio and Optical Department Ads Aimed at WACs

WAC book 7

Here’s another page from the booklet that the Miller Brother Company department store in Chattanooga, Tennessee gave new WACs who were in basic training at nearby Fort Oglethorpe.

Homesick young WAC enlistees probably bought lots of photos to send to family and friends. I bet they wanted everyone back home to see how lovely they looked in their  uniforms, and  with their haircuts for new Wartime careers.

But, did Aunt Marian visit the Portrait Studio? She was 45-years old and her parents were gone.

23 thoughts on “Portrait Studio and Optical Department Ads Aimed at WACs”

  1. We’ve all seen the photos of young men, looking serious and proud in their uniforms. I would think women would also feel the desire to have themselves depicted that way.

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  2. It’s too sad to think she wouldn’t have had some professional photos taken just because her parents were gone. I hope she did it for herself and perhaps some proud siblings…or future nieces and her blog followers?

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  3. My immediate thought was what womanseyeview expressed. And, as an artist, I love scrutinizing the illustrations. I can tell they are probably drawn with pen and black ink on illustration board (& printed in sepia), like most commercial artwork of the time. Nowadays, we’ve dumbed down to clip art, stock art, generic art–and illustrators like the one depicted here are out of work. I wonder if the booklet even credits the artist? *sigh*

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    1. I’m glad you scrutinized the art. I’ve been enjoying the drawings, and it’s nice to know a little more about how they were probably made. I looked at the booklet, and as you guessed, the artist was not credited (though the printing company was). Something seems wrong here. It’s so sad that artists often don’t get the credit they deserve.

      There was so much more work for artists back then. Even old small-town newspapers often had advertisements for local businesses with beautiful graphics. Somehow “outsourcing” it and using clip art, etc. just doesn’t seem the same.

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  4. I wonder if the artist might have been “in-house.” We’ve become so used to free-lancers, it’s easy to forget that some companies had artistic staff, who would have been salaried. I’ve known of such arrangements. As employees, they might have agreed to terms that they would simply provide illustrations for a set salary, and their work for the company would become the company’s property.

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  5. I’ll hope though, that friends and siblings were proud and encouraging and would have wanted photos.
    It continues to impress me that she had the courage, the spirit, and the confidence at 45 to strike out and forge a new path! It would be hard for a woman to do that today even with all the strides women have made.

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    1. So far I haven’t been able to learn very much about what her personality was like before she joined the WACs. Even though she was living at home, it seems like she must have always had a sense of adventure.

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  6. ‘Miller Brother Company department store’ has fast become one of my favorite old stores. I wish it was still in business.
    I figure the WACs appreciated the opportunity for photos to send home to their families and beaus.

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    1. And, there was a lot more than what you’ve seen. I didn’t show you many of the pages in the booklet. tt really looks like it was an incredible store with numerous departments and services.

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