Oral histories of Lowell sisters Claire Contardo and Doris Poisson.
"I was working at the Navy Yard in Boston in a supply department. I was in the stock control division there. It had to do with the supplies that the Navy Yard had on hand to supply the ships or repair the ships. Everything was in our warehouse and we controlled the prices according to how many we had on hand and how many came in . . .
"I asked for a transfer. I found out that the navy was going to open something in Lawrence, and being so close to Lawrence we thought this would be easier to get to, the commuting part of it. So both Doris and I applied for a transfer and it was effected without any trouble at all.
"Over there I was actually asked to come to work again in a stock control division because I had the experience. But when I got there that division was not ready, so the commander in charge there asked me if I'd like to help him on personnel work to interview people to set up the different departments. And after about six months on that, when all the departments were ready to open, I had become quite interested in personnel work and he asked me if I would like to stay on. And one day a week I went into the labor board at the Nay Yard to learn more about personnel work, and I enjoyed it tremendously."
Doris Poisson (who worked first in the Navy Yard typing pool):
"I was in a production department and when a ship came in for repairs, all the repairs to be done to it were sent up to us and we would have to type it up. . .
From there I was in the stenographic pool. And then I became a secretary to the production officer, Captain Rush. Everybody feared him. I was enjoying working for him. There my job was all secretarial, but the confidential part of it was when a ship came in and it was docked, I was the first one to be called. . .
"I stopped in '44. I transferred and went to Lawrence for the Navy again. It was a redistribution center. All the materials, I guess it was left from the war, they were distributing to various naval places, I imagine. . . I was secretary there. It was on a smaller scale you know, you got to know everybody that you worked with.. . . Then we went to Boston for the Separation Center. . . There I was supervisor for thirty girls. . . I stopped working for the government in 1957."
FromThe Irony of Victory: World War II and Lowell, Massachusetts, by Marc Scott Miller (University of Chicago Press, 1988).