Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Charles W Crawford

Committee Member

Margaret M Caffrey

Committee Member

James E Fickle

Committee Member

Marius Carriere


This dissertation narrative attempts to illustrate everyday life on the home front in Memphis, Tennessee during the years of World War II, 1941 until 1945. This narrative demonstrates the evolution of the city concerning the growth of business and industry not only by those that transformed for the war, but also the many that moved into the city because of the war. The establishment of war industries caused a surge in population that spawned a housing shortage the likes of which the city had never experienced. Moreover, the increase in war industries generated a need for labor. With much of the city's workforce enlisting in the armed services, a previously untapped source of labor was implemented -- women. Though many had never worked outside the home, women helped fill the void in the workforce caused by the war. Although many goods were rationed during the war years, Memphians seemingly took it in stride and still managed to devote a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money to events such as scrap and bond drives as well as provide recreational and entertainment services for members of the military. But, even as the war waged in Europe and Japan, everyday affairs such as education, entertainment, disease, and crime could not be ignored. These aspects and how Memphians managed them are illustrated as well. Further, local politicians and city leaders were involved in many aspects of communal and industrial matters. Their primary concern seemed to always be for the betterment of the city, not only during the war years, but the impending postwar years as well. Memphians and their leaders adapted to a continual flow of modifications in the community as well as the workplace, but maintained their devotion to the war effort while attempting to retain a sense of normalcy in their lives despite the demands the war placed on them and the city. Overall, this narrative shows that with the help of its citizens and city leaders, the infrastructure of Memphis managed to flourish during an era wrought with uncertainty.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.