Pallas Athena: The WAC Insignia

WAC insignia
Source: Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (WAC recruiting brochure, 1944)

The WAC insignia was widely used. It would have even been on the buttons on Aunt Marian’s uniform.

The insignia was an image of the Greek Goddess, Pallas Athena. According to the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association:

… hit upon the idea of a head of Pallas Athene, a Roman and Greek Goddess associated with an impressive variety of womanly virtues…She was the goddess of handicrafts, wise in industries of peace and arts of war, also the goddess of storms and battle, who led through victory to peace and prosperity. Accordingly, the head of Pallas Athene, together with the traditional US, was selected for lapel insignia, cut out for officers and on discs for enlisted women.

20 thoughts on “Pallas Athena: The WAC Insignia”

  1. A woman of opposites … Peace and battle …. Her association with craft wouldn’t be so surprising if you could hear me struggling with winding a new warp on my loom!!!

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  2. If I’d heard mention of Athena, I would have thought immediately (and perhaps only) of war. I don’t remember the Pantheon very well, but I don’t think when we were studying Greece and Rome, I heard about the handicraft angle. Interesting. Heaven knows the serious crafters I know often battle with a variety of frustrations. It certainly is an apt insignia. Interesting, too.

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    1. My memory of the Greek and Roman Pantheon is also very foggy. I enjoyed reading the old myths when I was in jr. high–but, whew, that was a long time ago. 🙂

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  3. How interesting!!had to chuckle on the one post of peace and war! Some times that’s how I feel about my sewing machine when the tension is off. :))

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    1. Peace and war is an interesting dichotomy. Your description of your sewing machine wonderfully describes how two opposites can be embodied in the same thing.

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