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Immerse yourself in Virginia's history by visiting one of our exhibitions.

 

The Story of Virginia
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The League of Wives: Vietnam's POW/MIA Advocates & Allies

Featuring artifacts, photographs, and oral histories, The League of Wives illustrates the dramatic story of how the spouses of American servicemen bucked government protocol and challenged the traditional role of “military wife.”

About the image: President Nixon meets with POW wives Carole Hansen, Louise Mulligan, Sybil Stockdale, Andrea Rander, and Mary Mearns in December 1969. Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum.

As early as March 1964, even before active combat units were deployed to Vietnam, American servicemen were taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. For years, with little or no information about their husband’s status, wives waited at home in silence, following the United States’ government’s orders to “Keep Quiet.” They decided to take matters into their own hands, organizing privately, until challenging the Johnson administration’s stance—and finding allies in President Richard M. Nixon, Congress, and others. These courageous women, led by Sybil Stockdale on the West Coast, Jane Denton, Louise Mulligan, and Phyllis Galanti on the East Coast, and later Helene Knapp in the Interior West, organized to form the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia on May 28, 1970. They would go to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom.

Curated by 2017 Dole Archives Curatorial Fellow Heath Hardage Lee and based on her upcoming book, The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home (2019, St. Martin’s Press). The League of Wives was organized by the Dole Institute of Politics and made possible by Harlan and Alice Ann Ochs in honor of Larry Ochs.

Read Senator Robert J. Dole's remarks regarding The League of Wives exhibition opening.

ASSOCIATED PROGRAMMING:

Exhibition Information

From
Sat Mar 2 2019, 10:00amMon Sep 2 2019, 5:00pm
Open
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Daily
In Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Gallery

Highlighted objects from The League of Wives: Vietnam's POW/MIA Advocates & Allies

United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger meets with Helene Knapp (right), Darlene Sadler (center), and Phyllis Galanti (left) on January 26, 1973. Image courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Enter Fullscreen More information
United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger meets with Helene Knapp (right), Darlene Sadler (center), and Phyllis Galanti (left) on January 26, 1973. Image courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger meets with Helene Knapp (right), Darlene Sadler (center), and Phyllis Galanti (left) on January 26, 1973. Image courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Air Force POW wife and National League member Evelyn Fowler Grubb (right) presents the flag of the National League of Family Members of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird in 1972. POW mother Jean Ray looks on. Image courtesy of the Associated Press. Enter Fullscreen More information
Presentation of the flag of the National League of Family Members of Prisoners of War & Missing in Action in Southeast Asia.
Air Force POW wife & National League member Evelyn Fowler Grubb (right) presents the flag of the National League of Family Members of Prisoners of War & Missing in Action in Southeast Asia to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, 1972. POW mother Jean Ray looks on. Image: Associated Press.
Naval commander’s cap belonging to Naval intelligence officer Cdr. Robert S. Boroughs. Photo courtesy of Lynn Amwake. Enter Fullscreen More information
Naval commander’s cap belonging to Naval intelligence officer Cdr. Robert S. Boroughs. Photo courtesy of Lynn Amwake.
Naval commander’s cap belonging to Naval intelligence officer Cdr. Robert S. Boroughs. Photo courtesy of Lynn Amwake.
Newsweek issue from February 26, 1973, featuring Phyllis and Cmdr. Paul Galanti. Courtesy of the Galanti Family. Enter Fullscreen More information
Newsweek issue from February 26, 1973, featuring Phyllis and Cmdr. Paul Galanti. Courtesy of the Galanti Family.
Newsweek issue from February 26, 1973, featuring Phyllis and Cmdr. Paul Galanti. Courtesy of the Galanti Family.
Invitation and program for the White House Dinner in Honor of Returning Vietnam POWs in 1973. Photo courtesy of Ted Sienicki. Enter Fullscreen More information
Invitation and program for the White House Dinner in Honor of Returning Vietnam POWs in 1973. Photo courtesy of Ted Sienicki.
Invitation and program for the White House Dinner in Honor of Returning Vietnam POWs in 1973. Photo courtesy of Ted Sienicki.
Enter Fullscreen More information
Page 1 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Page 1 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Page 2 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives. Enter Fullscreen More information
Page 2 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Page 2 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Enter Fullscreen More information
Page 4 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Page 4 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger meets with Helene Knapp (right), Darlene Sadler (center), and Phyllis Galanti (left) on January 26, 1973. Image courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
United States National Security Advisor He
Air Force POW wife and National League member Evelyn Fowler Grubb (right) presents the flag of the National League of Family Members of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird in 1972. POW mother Jean Ray looks on. Image courtesy of the Associated Press.
Presentation of the flag of the National L
Naval commander’s cap belonging to Naval intelligence officer Cdr. Robert S. Boroughs. Photo courtesy of Lynn Amwake.
Naval commander’s cap belonging to Naval i
Newsweek issue from February 26, 1973, featuring Phyllis and Cmdr. Paul Galanti. Courtesy of the Galanti Family.
Newsweek issue from February 26, 1973, fea
Invitation and program for the White House Dinner in Honor of Returning Vietnam POWs in 1973. Photo courtesy of Ted Sienicki.
Invitation and program for the White House
Page 1 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert
Page 2 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert Dole given during the “Appeal for International Justice” held at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1970. Image courtesy of the Dole Archives.
Page 2 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert
Page 4 of remarks by Kansas Senator Robert

In the museum shop

This title will be released April 2, 2019. by Heath Hardage Lee The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington―and Hanoi―to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.
$28.99
The League of Wives