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Final Edition

Ames Tannery Welcomes Women to Its Workforce For First Time

As the world war rages on, Ames Tannery changes the face of its workforce.

By Henry G. Wilson | August 12, 1943

With Question Mark’s brave men fighting overseas, Ames Tannery in Question Mark has adapted to the times by welcoming women into its workforce for the first time. This significant shift comes as many men have been called to serve, leaving vital positions vacant.

“It was let ladies work or shut down,” tannery owner Wilbur Ames explained. “We were at a crossroads with the men gone off to war. Of course we were not used to women working in the tannery, but these are unusual times. They're doing the work, but it's not quite the same, you know. We're making do with what we have."

The work inside a tannery is not really women's work. It involves handling raw, odorous animal skins, treating them with various harsh chemicals, and undergoing a messy process of cleaning and preparation.

“I hope they’re all right ruining their manicures,” Ames added.

One of his new lady employees, Margaret Doyle, shared her thoughts: "I'm grateful for the work, especially in these trying times. However, the reality inside the tannery is something else. It's a harsh and challenging environment, dealing with animal hides and strong chemicals. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted."

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