The History & Legacy of UMW

UMW Digital History Archive

Mary Washington College during WWII


Left: MWC students in Calvary troop attire promoting war bonds to the Fredericksburg community.

Smith, Judson. War Effort. October 5, 1942. Photograph. The Centennial Image Collection. University of Mary Washington Special Collections and University Archives. Simpson Library Special Collections, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA.


Right: Students during the Spanish Fiesta demonstrating bull fighting with a person as the bull.

Alvey, Edward. History of Mary Washington College; 1908-1972. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974.


This website is intended to present the rich history of Mary Washington College and the greater Fredericksburg area during World War II. It shows the community’s contributions to the American war effort, as well as the importance of women in American history. For this project, users can explore the lives of Mary Washington College students during World War II through oral histories, photos, yearbooks, and newspapers. MWC in WWII displays the effort and work students put into helping their campus and country throughout the war. There is the inclusion of both their efforts towards the war itself and what was happening on campus. The material within this website would allow our audience to further any research into the topic by making the material we found easier to access. 


The bottom of the home page offers a visual representation of the events of the war in a timeline both internationally, nationally, and locally. This can help viewers contextualize the information they will find throughout the website alongside key events from the war. There are short descriptions of the material from the local events, but more information can be found in the archival section. Furthermore, the Assisting the War Effort page displays how students used their time and money to support the U.S. in wartime. This included but was not limited to selling stamps and bonds and fundraising competitions for the students who would raise the most. The Student Life page displays the content found about different events both on and off campus for Mary Washington College students that happened to occur during the years of World War II. Some events noted are traditions that still occur on the campus today, such as Devil Goat Day. Finally, the archive section is a collection of the different materials used throughout the website with the metadata, description, and citation. Additionally, the archive can facilitate a deeper understanding of the history of the University of Mary Washington. 


To further emphasize the goal of the archive, it allows for all the materials used on the site to be in one place. Other materials include a video produced by the Fredericksburg Area Museum on the 1942 Fredericksburg Flood and oral histories of World War II alumni. The site is a great starting place for those interested in conducting research on the war specifically at MWC, or in the greater Fredericksburg area. In addition to the content itself, there were extensive efforts to ensure that this medium is accessible to everyone. Specifically, there is the inclusion of an accessibility tools button on the side of the website that includes features to change text size, contrast, font, and more. This was a conscious decision to create a space that would be inclusive of everyone who wants to use our research.