General George Catlett Marshall (1880–1959) served as U.S. Army chief of staff during the entire war. He was Time magazine's "Man of the Year" for 1943 and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill called him the "organizer of victory." Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but considered himself a Virginian. His family had come to the Northern Neck in the 1650s and lived there for generations. He attended Virginia Military Institute, lived at Fort Myer throughout the war, and retired to Dodona Manor near Leesburg. The George C. Marshall Foundation is in Lexington. The charcoal portrait by Samuel J. Woolf was published in The New York Times Sunday magazine, December 31, 1944. (VHS accession number: 1995.66)
Martinsville was once the site of the world's largest nylon plant, built by the DuPont Corporation to keep up with demand for its new product, women's nylon hosiery. The Martinsville plant opened in 1941, and the first pair of stockings produced was sent to Eleanor Roosevelt. The Blender was the newsletter of the Martinsville plant. Because it was published "by, and in the interest of all employees," it offers insights into world events and local culture from a worker's perspective. During World War II, production shifted to national defense, and the plant churned out items from parachutes to B-29 bomber tires. (VHS call number: TP1101 .B647)
Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) was born in the Presbyterian manse in Staunton, Virginia, but was taken to Georgia as an infant. In later life he attended the University of Virginia and his second wife was a Virginian. He referred to himself as a Virginian, but he was elected president in 1912 while serving as governor of New Jersey. His first term was marked by domestic reforms, his second by American participation in World War I. (VHS accession number 2000.237)
"Petersburg" Sheet music, words by E. D. Macfee; music by W. J. Burleigh (Petersburg, c. 1916)
This sheet music, c. 1916, features a song about the Dupont guncotton (explosive) plant in Hopewell, Virginia, which prospered from Allied war orders even before the United States joined the war in 1917. Called "the toughest town north of hell," Hopewell grew rapidly from 210 to 40,000 inhabitants after Dupont built the smokeless powder plant.
This award banner was typical of the devices used to stimulate sale of war bonds. School rivalries were activated to try to outdo each other in sales. Companies took pride in 100 percent employee participation. (VHS accession number: 1998.49)