Kalamazoo Gals

by claesgellerbrink

Kalamazoo Gals 1944 Gibson factory

I have never thought about before but of course everything was built by women during the war. Not just guns, aircraft and cars, guitars as well. Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson’s ‘Banner’ Guitars of WWII by John Thomas is a book that came out in 2013.

The book revolves around the interviews of a dozen women who appeared in the Gibson Guitar Company’s 1944 workforce photograph. Prior to my discovery of these women, Gibson had claimed in Wartime advertisements and in a 1973 company history authored by its WWII personnel director that it ceased producing guitars during the War. The younger members of its workforce had left to serve the military War effort. The remaining seasoned craftsmen repaired some instruments but, because of their limited numbers and wartime restrictions on the use of raw materials, were unable to construct new musical instruments. I discovered that the female workforce produced nearly 25,000 instruments during the war. Taken from Banner Gibson

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