Blanca Vasquez Gaines papers
The Blanca Vasquez Gaines papers date from 1944 to 2009. The collection mainly consists of photographs of Vasquez and her fellow WACs at Fort Des Moines, taken during the winter of 1944 to 1945. Before donating the papers to the Iowa Women's Archives, Angela Gaines wrote captions for the majority of the photographs; the captions identify the subjects of each picture as well as the location and date, if known. The collectionÃÂ includes several newspaper clippings about Fort Des Moines and the Women's Army Corps. Completing the collection is a Nazi flag belonging to Harold Gaines' brother, Donald Gaines, who served in the U.S. military and obtained the flag as salvage after the war while stationed in Italy.
- Gaines, Blanca Vasquez, 1918- (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The papers are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
2.50 linear inches
Puerto Rican woman who served in the Women's Army Corps during World War II and trained at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Biographical / Historical
Blanca V. Vasquez was born in Puerto Rico in 1918. Vasquez joined the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II, and subsequently trained at Fort Des Moines, an army training school just south of Des Moines, Iowa. While stationed at Fort Des Moines, Vasquez met Harold Gaines of Buxton, Iowa, a predominately African-American coalmining town, which no longer exists today. The two married following the end of the war, and moved to Albia, Iowa; their daughter, Angela, was born in 1953. Blanca Gaines returned to Puerto Rico with her daughter in 1956. There she taught English and American literature at the University of Puerto Rico and was regarded as an excellent teacher. Because Harold Gaines initially feared he would not be able to find work in Puerto Rico, he did not join the family until the 1960s. The three maintained a warm connection to Iowa, returning every summer to visit family in Albia and their Iowa farm.
Method of Acquisition
The papers (donor no. 1334) were donated by Angela Gaines in 2014.
- Catherine Babikian, 2014.