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Helen Stafford Papers
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Helen Stafford Papers

  • 3.4.2

Inlcudes membership handbooks, programs, agendas, and other information related to several organizations with which Stafford was involved including Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Matron's Club, the Washington Association of Colored Women, the Allen AME Church, and others. Also included are speeches and writings by Stafford and honors and awards she received.

Helen Stafford


U.S.O. #2, 713-15 Commerce St., circa 1946. During World War II, although black and white soldiers fought side by side, the United States Army was still segregated. In Tacoma, African American service men and women had their own USO Club at 713-15 Commerce. It was dedicated on September 4, 1942 and closed late in March of 1947. The Kaufman-Wolff building where it was located had previously housed the Soldiers and Sailors Clubhouse during World War I. USO #2 was enlarged in 1944 by adding an annex in the building to the north of the original club. The enlarged structure provided the following facilities: dark room, music room, hobby room, game room, showers, sleeping accommodations, library and snack bar. It was operated by the YMCA and staffed primarily by volunteers. (brochure from Recognition Ceremony USO Number Two on 3/30/1947; photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma).


On Sunday February 3, 1946, a dinner was held at the Tacoma USO #2, 713-15 Commerce St., honoring the 5th anniversary of USO operation. The United Service Organizations, or USO, was incorporated in New York Feb. 4, 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who believed it was important for private citizens to take responsibility for the on-leave recreation needs of service members. One of the guests of honor for the Tacoma celebration was Mayor Harry Cain, standing center, who attended with his wife Marjorie, last woman seated left. Seated to the right of Mayor Cain was Mr. Arthur Hayes, chairman of the club's operating committee. The other individuals at the table were unidentified. (TNT 2/3/1946, pg. A-7, 2/4/1946, pg. 1: photograph by F.L. Powell of Tacoma)

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