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Wendy the Welder: Work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in World War II

October 15, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Location: Lamb Room

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was established in 1801 as a naval shipbuilding and repair facility, becoming one of the premiere shipyards of the US Navy until it’s closing in 1966. The Yard reached its peak in World War II, when it employed 70,000 civilian workers and built or repaired 5,000 vessels. Desperately short of labor, the Navy employed more than 10,000 women, in jobs ranging from seamstress to draftswoman to welder. Utilizing documents, artifacts, and oral histories from the Brooklyn Navy Yard archives, this talk will look back at the history of the Yard, how World War II represented a major change in the culture of work, but also continued traditions of female labor dating back more than a century. Included will be examples used in creating the world of Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach.”


Andrew Gustafson is a manager, researcher, and tour guide at Turnstile Tours, a company based in Brooklyn, NY that develops and operates tours and public programs in partnership with non-profit organizations, including with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. He has been the lead developer of tour programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal, both former military sites that are now city-owned industrial parks, focusing on history, architecture, and manufacturing. Originally from Hamden, Connecticut, Andrew studied geography and history at Middlebury College, and political geography at the University of Colorado-Boulder graduate school. He previously worked at the International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience, a worldwide network of museums and historic sites that use difficult histories to promote positive social change, coordinating their programming in the former Soviet Union.

CLICK HERE for more programs celebrating Manhattan Beach.


October 15, 2018
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:


Adult Programs


Lamb Room
151 Main Street
New Canaan, CT 06840 United States
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