Bronx New Deal - Photo #78 - Lehman College Campus

Photo: Frank da Cruz, June 2014.
Stained glass over main entrance to the Music Building at Lehman College commemorating the building's use for training of US Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in World War II.

A great deal of work was required to adapt the Hunter campus to Navy requirements, but the details of who did the work and who paid for it are not to be found, but it entailed at least "the expansion of classrooms, the general conversion of college class, administration and cafeteria buildings to meet the requirements of a Naval training school"[1]. Furthermore a number of neighboring apartment buildings were converted to dormitories and this too required labor and materials (e.g. lots of bunk beds). It's hard to imagine that this conversion did not include New Deal funding or labor. Certainly the money was Federal so it's just a question of which agency. For example the Navy Department might have paid for materials but used WPA workers. I prefer to err on the side of inclusion and call this conversion a New Deal project, probably with WPA labor.

  1. Navy Service, A Short History of the United States Naval Training School (WR) Bronx New York, Public Relations Office USNTS (WR), 190 pages, undated but probably 1944.
  2. Hunter Unit Taken by Navy As Its Chief Women's Camp, New York Times, 11 January 1943, pp.1,11.
  3. WPA Construction as a Defense Aid, New York Times, 7 July 1940, p.4: "...constituting another major bracket of defense work, [WPA Commissioner] Colonel Harrington said, were projects operated by the Army, Navy and Coast Guard under WPA regulations and with WPA funds. These projects accounted for 39,650 of the 99,433 persons working on defense projects on June 12." This was written shortly before the Hunter campus conversion but suggests how it might have been accomplished.
  4. WAVES OCCUPY CAMPUS, The Hunter Bulletin, 15 February 1943, front page.
  5. Hunter Goes to War, Hunter College Alumnae News, February 1943.
  6. Navy WAVES Training Gallery - World War II.