Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Meeting Jane and Emmett: Gender Roles, War, and Society

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How do relationships change during times of conflict? What purpose does the written word serve in creating, faciliating, and maintaining those relationships? What do private letters tell us about society?

The exhibits that follow encourage readers to ask difficult questions and think critically about World War II through the pens of Emmett and Jane Boyd. Readers should keep in mind that the letters and memorabilia read is only a snippet of the material in the collection. 

In fact, the exhibits that follow serve as preview to the potential of the project in the future and the potential of other projects in the same type of vein. 

Coming Home

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These last two letters detail Emmett's long awaited hope in returning home to Jane. With long periods of time going by of receiving letters, it comes with little surprise that Emmett would be eager to return home to his wife, home, family, friends, and new son. Although brief, this exhibit asks the readers to consider the following question:

With Emmett's imminent return to Canton, Ohio, how should historians consider the context of "coming home" in terms of gender, relationships, and society?

Beyond Rosie and the 'Manly' Soldier: Gender Overseas and at Home

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Some of the most recognizable images of World War II are Rosie the Riveter and the brave soldier fighting to preserve the freedoms of democracy. However, these two mythicized ideas are often too ideal and simplistic in understanding the relationship between men and women during World War II. While all the letters could have probably fit into this category, only a selection of them were placed into this section. 

Thus, as both readers and historians of this project, your task will be interpreting these materials, placing them in context, and determining what these letters tell us that other materials have not. As you go through the exhibit ask yourself the following questions:

How do Emmett's and Jane's relationships change through out the letters?

What do these letters tell us about gender and its function?

How do these letters complicate your understanding of World War II?

Why is it important that we consider gender within these letters in the context of World War II and American society?

Growing Up: Love and War

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Gender, in the simplest form, deals with characteristics in which society has labeled "masculine" and "feminine." Sometimes interchanged with sex, gender, though, remains a much more complicated socially and culturally. Unlike the other exhibits, this exhibit encourages the readers to consider the implications of adulthood, love, and war in the context of gender and society.

Thus, as both readers and historians of this project, your task will be interpreting these materials, placing them in context, and determining what these letters tell us that other materials have not. As you go through the exhibit ask yourself the following questions:

How do Emmett's and Jane's relationships change through out the letters?

Does war act as a social catalyst in the context of these letters? If so, how?

What impact does love and adulthood have on gender?

How do these letters complicate your understanding of World War II?

What purpose do these letters serve?