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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Martha Sherrod, WAVES

Martha Sherrod was the daughter of Dana and Gladys Sherrod, but her father had died in 1938. Martha graduated from Bloomington High, where she was a Tridette, and attended both ISNU and IWU where she was most likely a elementary education or music student. After Martha left for Hunter College, a photo story was published in the Pantagraph, where Gladys Sherrod demonstrated the appropriate way to store clothing and shoes during a serviceperson's absence. (After her husband's death Gladys Sherrod worked as a drapery and slipcover maker as a way of making a living. It must have been a thin living.)

During the war great emphasis was placed on the care of personal possessions. Wasting the materials that went into making clothing, containers, rubber, leather or metal goods could almost be equated with bad citizenship. By wasting your clothing or shoes, you were depriving a soldier of important materials

This photo from the Pantagraph Negatives Collection, McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington, IL

Prior to her enlistment, Martha was a member of the "Sixth Floor Night Crew" at the State Farm Insurance Building in downtown Bloomington. The city directory indicates that her work was as a stenographer in 1943, when she would have been nineteen years old. In December of 1943 her friends invited her to farewell luncheon and presented her with a billfold just before she left for Hunter College. Almost immediately after entering the service, it was announced that Martha had been selected to be part of an 80 voice WAVES choir that would perform on the radio under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. Martha had been in frequent demand for her singing abilities in Bloomington and was often accompanied by her mother. Henry Admire was Martha's voice coach in Bloomington.

Martha's training took place first at Hunter College, then she had yeoman training at Cedar Falls, IA. Her ultimate post was the Great Lakes Naval Base north of Chicago. We do not have any indication of what Martha's job was in the Navy, but with her office training, perhaps she was an office worker.

After the war, Martha attended Principia College, a Christian Scientist liberal arts college. She married Kendal Alan Hinman in 1947. Kendal had attended ISNU in 1944. Their marriage announcement did not contain any mention of Martha's service in the Navy, but Kendal's service was acknowledged. They lived in Webster, Missouri and later in Oceanside, California. Martha died in 2000 and Kendal died in 2005. Martha's mother remarried in 1952 to a man named Bosworth.

Martha is the child furthest to the left in this 1936 photograph of a group of children in the springtime. Search: "Spring in the making"

Search: "Packing for duration" "Sherrod" "Homefront" "WAVES"

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