The program is for Washington Navy Yard base personnel, CAC holders, and active duty and retired military members. It will be recorded and shared on the museum’s social media pages at a later date.


Providing nuance to the idea that all mid-century American women chose motherhood and suburbia, women like Captain Joy Bright Hancock and her allies dedicated their lives to the continued success of women in the Navy. Their activism ushered in occupations and careers for women that challenged pronatalist Cold War social norms encouraging biological motherhood and conspicuous consumerism. By restricting the types of billets available to women, narrowly limiting their age of enlistment, and honorably discharging pregnant sailors, however, Navy and government officials continued to expect that women sailors would remain in the postwar Navy only for a limited time, before their destined retreat to suburbia, homemaking, and motherhood. At a time in American history when predominantly white middle-class women and their families retreated to suburbia, the passage of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948 allowed women to shirk, albeit temporarily, the conformist virtues of homemaking and motherhood for a career in the Navy.


Dr. Heather M. Haley has been with the Naval History and Heritage Command ((NHHC) for ten months as a historian with the History Advisory Group. She received her Ph.D. in American History from Auburn University in December 2021, with a certification in Public History and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. A social historian of the Cold War U.S. Navy, Dr. Haley is the author of a number of articles that center LGBTQ+ service members, including two forthcoming in the McMullen Naval History Symposium Proceedings. In her short time at NHHC, she has tried her hand at operational histories, many of which can be found on the NHHC blog The Sextant. She is an active member of, and subject matter expert for, the SECNAV LGBTQI+ Advisory Board, which endeavors to advance equity, diversity, safety, and inclusivity for sailors and civilians in the modern Navy.

Finding a Permanent Place, image provided by speaker,  Dr. Heather M. Haley, pictured.

Finding a Permanent Place, image provided by speaker, Dr. Heather M. Haley, pictured.