Molly Wilson papers  1945-1946
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Molly Wilson papers consist of 21 letters written by Molly to her husband Robert prior to her departure for the United States. The letters provide an Australia bride's perspective of the war bride experience after World War II.

There are two main areas of interest in the Wilson papers. First, Wilson's letters to her husband detail the process of emigrating to the United States. The War Brides' Act (Public Law 271) was passed by Congress on December 28, 1945 to facilitate "admission of alien spouses and alien minor children of citizen members of the United States armed forces." Wilson struggled with the Australian government attempting to ensure that her visa was valid and that she had a petition to enter the United States. Not until early February, a month after Congress had passed the War Brides' Act, did she learn that all that was needed to enter the United States was proof of being a war bride.

The second area of interest involves the interaction of Australian women with armed forces personnel stationed in Australia. Many brides met their husbands while employed at a United States military base. Molly wrote of how nice the officers are to the brides, having parties and screening movies for them. When the food at the war brides' barracks was inedible, the Army stepped in and provided food service for the brides. Naval officers secured her passage on the first bridal ship although she was low on the priority list.

During World War II, an estimated one million American soldiers married women from over fifty different countries. In the Pacific, 16,000 of the one million American soldiers married Australian and New Zealand women. The war brides represent the largest migration to the United States since the 1920s.

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