Justice Florence Kerins Murray: A study of technology and the contemporary woman

Marian Mathison Desrosiers, Salve Regina University


This study examines whether technological needs in World War II promoted opportunities for college-educated women to expand their leadership roles in United States society. In 1942, Congress established a Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), attracting educated women to serve as officers. Women organized and administrated war related programs that were once the domain of men. Technology-related leadership roles helped educated women to choose positions that would shape public policy and professional development in the decades after the war. The dissertation focuses on how technology-related military experiences of Justice Florence Kerins Murray (1916–2004) influenced her post-war self-actualization. When Lt. Col. Murray returned to private life in 1946, she sought local and statewide political office, becoming the second woman state senator in Rhode Island history. In 1956, she became New England's first female trial judge. An exemplar of women in her generation, Murray benefited armed forces experiences, attaining positions of community, political, and judicial leadership. Educated women army officers attained skills and attitudes that led them into post-war careers. To aid this project, Justice Murray has provided authentic insights in the form of personal recollections and unpublished sources that clarify our understanding of women's leadership roles after World War II, particularly by pioneers, like Murray, who facilitated a series of remarkable changes for women. Thus, this study contributes to an understanding of what it means to be human in an age of modern technology.

Subject Area

Womens studies|American history|Law|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Desrosiers, Marian Mathison, "Justice Florence Kerins Murray: A study of technology and the contemporary woman" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3150457.