Curtiss-Wright Cadettes Material [Fayram] - University of Minnesota Curtiss-Wright Cadettes Reunion Photograph

About the Project

During World War II, Curtiss-Wright addressed a labor shortage with the creation of the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes program to train women to take entry-level positions within the company and enable men who remained at the company to be promoted to more advanced positions. Between February 1943 and March 1945, 918 female college students, identified as mathematically advanced, took courses in aerodynamics, engineering, and design, completing more than two years curriculum in just ten months for the initial class, and even less for later groups, at seven universities (Purdue University, Cornell, Pennsylvania State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, Rensselear University, and University of Texas). Curtiss-Wright paid for lodging and tuition for the participants as well as providing a stipend. Ultimately, 766 Cadettes graduated from the government-sponsored program and began work in one of the country's five Curtiss-Wright plants. Although Curtiss-Wright had promised additional funding to help the Cadettes complete their engineering degrees after the war, this does not appear to have materialized.Louise Fayram McClain began studying mathematics at the University of Denver in 1942 but left during her sophomore year after being accepted into the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes program at the University of Minnesota where she began studies in early 1943. After the ten month program, Fayram went to work in the engineering department at Curtiss-Wright in Columbus, Ohio in the landing gear and hydraulics section, working on the Helldiver and other aircraft. After the war, Fayram resumed her studies at the University of Denver and also worked as a draftsperson for Prouty Brothers Engineering Company and later Sterns Roger Manufacturing and Engineering. Upon graduating with her degree in mathematics, Fayram married and then moved to California and worked for Douglas Aircraft as a statistician doing master scheduling work but was forced to leave due to company policy when she became pregnant. Fayram McClain was prepared to challenge the policy in court, but was dissuaded by her lawyer who thought the suit would not succeed. Note: Please do not describe the images, photographs, or maps that appear in this project. We are only seeking transcriptions.

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(2 out of 5)

Level 1 --- BEGINNER

Content: all typed
Language: English
Format: letters, diaries, flyers, pamphlets, and one-page documents
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required

Level 2

Content: mostly typed, handwritten in print, or otherwise very clearly written/readable
Language: English
Format: memorabilia, advertisements, image captions, telegrams, diaries, letters, notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: none required


Content: typed and handwritten materials in cursive or print
Language: English
Format: newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, letters/diaries/notes that may include annotations or margin notes
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: experience reading cursive writing may be useful

Level 4

Content: handwritten materials, primarily in cursive or somewhat difficult to read (predominantly from the 19th and 20th centuries) , audio recordings that are relatively easy to hear/decipher, and scientific materials
Language: English and/or other languages that use Roman script but may require the use of diacritics (French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.)
Format: audio recordings, letters, diaries, notes and other written materials, projects with templated fields and special instructions
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: some knowledge of non-English Roman-character/script languages and diacritics may be useful, as well as experience reading cursive handwriting. A general knowledge or familiarity with scientific terminology.

Level 5 --- ADVANCED

Content: handwritten materials in cursive (from the 19th century or earlier) or in a non-Roman script language, audio recordings that are difficult to hear or are not in English, specialty materials/projects such as numismatics projects and the Project Phaedra notebooks 
Language: foreign languages that use non-Roman characters (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Greek/Cyrillic, Native American and Indigenous languages, etc.) and English 
Format: audio recordings, columned data/tables, manuscripts, letters, diaries, notes, currency sheets, coins
Subject Area Expertise/Special Skills: knowledge of a specific language and access to a keyboard with the characters in that language may be required for certain projects. Experience reading cursive handwriting and familiarity with 19th century (or prior) handwriting and conventions/abbreviations may be useful, as well as knowledge of scientific terminology, astrophysics data, or linguistics.

Project Progress (details)
2pages completed





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