Making WAVES

The Wilton Historical Society celebrates Memorial Day through the acknowledgment of a recently donated 1940s young girl’s navy uniform. Longtime patron of the society, Ruth Wolfe, made the donation.

The uniform, a charming navy blue skirt and jacket, is adorned with various pins and patches that indicate its origin. The JR WAVE patch, for example, refers to the W.A.V.E.S., a World War II division of the U.S. Navy, which consisted entirely of women in the 1940s. The name was the acronym for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.” Back then, Wolfe notes, “The whole country was so deeply involved [in the war effort]... young and old.”

Ms. Wolfe, though a Wiltonian for 40 years, grew up in a small town in Georgia, near “the site of a woman’s teacher college designated as a W.A.V.E. training facility.” She explains that, living on the campus, she was constantly amidst “young women in uniform,” whom, she notes, she truly admired as a girl.

She says the uniform itself, though worn primarily to school for show-and-tell purposes, “was emblematic of the time… an indication of everyone’s devotion to the war effort.”

With its gold buttons and deep blue fabric, the uniform emits a kind of nostalgia for a time when, as Ms. Wolfe surmises, “everybody was in this together.”

The Historical Society is exceedingly grateful for Ruth Wolfe’s gift and the opportunity to house such a wonderful piece of history.

—Cressida Richards