Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) established the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project in 1998 to document the experiences of female veterans who are students and well as residents of Greensboro. The project also includes resources related to female civilians who worked at military facilities and those who served in auxiliary organizations like the American Red Cross and nursing corps. The primary sources consist of oral history interviews, photographs, diaries, letters, and scrapbooks of female veterans.
Since 2002, the site has continuously received upgrades thanks to the North Carolina ECHO Digitization Grant and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In 2006, the UNCG University Library revamped the site to add search and browse features; contributed more content; and imposed criteria for technical and descriptive standards. By 2014, the site migrated to a better hosting platform that allowed advanced search options.
The site offers a variety of collections that can be used to develop curriculum for classroom lessons. For example, the collections are categorized by a particular period or war that occurred. Lesson plans can be developed that compare and contrast war efforts during the Korean War and World War II. These plans can also explore the strategies of different military branches. Educators could explore the history of war and medicine or women and war to chronicle how these subjects evolved over time from one war to another. These areas of study could be situated in the context of social and political changes that occurred before, during and after each war effort.
An outstanding feature of the site is access to high resolution images and 425 oral histories. However, the site does not clearly state what criteria is used to conduct interviews nor who are the interviewers. Also, researchers who are interested in using the interviews as primary source material should ensure that consent is granted. These oral history interviews could also be used to develop curriculum that focuses on the use of qualitative data in research. Furthermore, oral history interviews could be combined with quantitative data to support research questions and arguments.
Although the site is focused on the Greensboro, North Carolina area, there is an extensive list under “Resources” that identify other veteran-focused databases at universities and research institutions throughout the United States. This is a comprehensive site that serves to educate students and researchers about the experiences of female veterans. The project continues to accept artifact donations and conduct oral history interviews to gain additional insights.