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Mary Ellen West Collection

Identifier: WV 0059

Scope and Contents

The Mary Ellen West Papers primarily contain printed materials collected by West while serving in WAVES in WWII. This includes a variety of base newsletters, military brochures and booklets, and newspapers from VJ Day. The collection also contains several WAVES uniforms and accessories, in addition to some correspondence, photographs, and personal materials from West's time in the service.


  • 1943-1948, 1999
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1943 - 1948


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Ellen West was born in Dover, North Carolina. She attended Dover High School and graduated in 1939. She was enrolled at Louisburg Junior College for two years before transferring to the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). West graduated in 1943 with a degree in business science and secretarial administration and received her teaching certificate.

West enlisted in the WAVES in 1943 and was sent to Hunter College, New York, for basic training. She was then sent to Indiana University for storekeeper school, where she learned typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping. West was assigned to Whiting Field, Pensacola, Florida, and worked opening an office at a housing project. In 1944 she was sent to Officer's Candidate School at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was then assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics in the Publication Division in Washington, D.C., where she worked in publications and procuring. West was discharged in 1946.

After the war West worked temporarily for the Imperial Tobacco Company. She went on to work for a general contractor as a bookkeeper and secretary. In 1968 she began work at the Electrical Equipment Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. West retired from the company in 1985.


7.00 Linear Feet (2 boxes.)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


Mary Ellen West (b. 1922) of Dover, North Carolina, served in the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from 1943 to 1946.

The Mary Ellen West Papers primarily date from 1943 to 1948 and contain papers, printed material, photographs, textiles, artifacts, and an oral history interview which document West's military service.

Arrangement Note

The collection is comprised of the following series: 1. Oral History interview; 2. Papers, Printed Material, and Photographs; and 3. Textiles and Artifacts

Method of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Ellen West in October 1998.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Jacobson, December 1999.

Mary Ellen West Collection
Linda Jacobson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US