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women in the weather bureau during world war 2


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Personal View of Esther Studer

My appointments with the Weather Bureau were as follows: at Goodland, Kansas, from April 4, 1944, to May 7, 1945 - October 16, 1945, to December 17, 1946 -February 7, 1956, to February 21, 1959 - April 8, 1959, to January 17, 1960 - part-time January 18, 1960, to October 27, 1960 - and December 12, 1962, to July, 28, 1963; at Alamosa, Colorado, from July 29, 1963 through April 1, 1973; again at Goodland, Kansas, from September 2, 1973 through May 31, 1985. I retired May 31, 1985, with 30 years service.

These were the wages for the various grades: SP-3 in 1944 - S1440; SP-4 in 1945 - S1902; SP-5 in 1946 -$2394; GS-7 in 1959 - $4980; GS-9 in 1967 - $7957; GS-10 from 1973 to 1985 - S14,905 to S18,626.

I worked for the Weather Bureau because I needed a job. At the time I started there, I used the name of Esther Anderson. I learned that the Weather Bureau needed new employees from the Meteorologist in Charge that ate supper at the restaurant where I was the waitress. He liked the job I was doing and one evening he offered me a job at the weather office. My previous experience included high school, farm work, and service work in Washington, D.C. The Weather Bureau provided on thejob training.

My first impression of the Weather Bureau was that it was very interesting. I really liked it. The employees were very nice. All the workers were women except for the MIC. There was a lot of rapid turnover, but in general the morale was o.k.

The duties included surface observations, map plotting, and answering numerous telephone calls. I worked all rotating shifts, eight hours a day and forty hours a week. What were the high and low points of my career? Retirement. The low point was when I was stationed at Alamosa, Colorado and wanted to transfer back to Goodland. There always seemed to be vacancies at Goodland but I was never selected for one of the positions. I was a single parent at the time with several children to raise. Finally I scraped up enough money to join the union, and presto the next time there was a job opening at Goodland I was selected. I worked with all women during the war years and after the war was over, men began replacing the women in the work place. I would choose to work for the Bureau again. Wages for women working for the Weather Bureau were great for the times. Working for the Weather Bureau, women's wages were more compatible than anywhere else.

I feel that my major contributions included doing neat bookwork for the office and keeping current the climate charts that I developed. I had an excellent weather radio voice. After I retired there have been several inquiries about where the woman went that used to be on the weather radio.

While I was at Alamosa there was a feud going between the cloud seeders and the farmers. The Weather Bureau was caught in the middle. One night the farmers dynamited the cloud seeders" radar. Another time the rammers saw the (Alamosa Meteorologist in Charge open the door on the PIBAL shelter to take a PIBAL and they fired a rifle at him. The bullet hit the door making the MIC very nervous.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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