Title

World War II and the Women of Disney’s Animation Studios

Presenter Information

Samantha PoatFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

History

Minor

Art

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Marjorie Hilton

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

When the Walt Disney Studios were established in 1923, men dominated the animation industry. The women that were employed here throughout the next decade were relegated to inking and painting the images and characters that men created. However, by the start of 1940, there were a select few women that overcame this prejudice and were hired into the male-exclusive story department of the studio, such as Bianca Majolie, Grace Huntington, and Retta Scott. Although, World World II would further complicate the situation. When the United States entered the war in 1941, millions of women now had the opportunity to join the workforce to fill in for the large number of men enlisted into the army. However, the war was a time of financial struggle for Disney animation. Many of the departments were drastically shrunk, resulting in some women losing their jobs or having to work with limited resources. Despite this, the war did allow more opportunities for women to cross-train, learning how to create characters and stories from male animators. Overall, the goal of this paper is to explore the experiences of the women working at Disney’s studios in the years before and during World War II.

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World War II and the Women of Disney’s Animation Studios

When the Walt Disney Studios were established in 1923, men dominated the animation industry. The women that were employed here throughout the next decade were relegated to inking and painting the images and characters that men created. However, by the start of 1940, there were a select few women that overcame this prejudice and were hired into the male-exclusive story department of the studio, such as Bianca Majolie, Grace Huntington, and Retta Scott. Although, World World II would further complicate the situation. When the United States entered the war in 1941, millions of women now had the opportunity to join the workforce to fill in for the large number of men enlisted into the army. However, the war was a time of financial struggle for Disney animation. Many of the departments were drastically shrunk, resulting in some women losing their jobs or having to work with limited resources. Despite this, the war did allow more opportunities for women to cross-train, learning how to create characters and stories from male animators. Overall, the goal of this paper is to explore the experiences of the women working at Disney’s studios in the years before and during World War II.