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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

JANE GAIL BRISTER PAPERS

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BIOABSTRACT

Jane G. Brister (1921-2011), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) from May 1943 to December 1946 and from December 1948 to June 1965.


COLLECTION SUMMARY

The Brister Papers contains printed materials and photos, primarily from her time stationed in Germany in 1945-1946, 1951-1954, and 1959-1961. These document her tours in the European Theater Intelligence School, the Intelligence Center at Camp King, the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (HQ SHAEF), and the Soviet intelligence training school. Her experiences at Fort Oglethorpe; the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York; Army Language School in Monterey, California; Fort Hayes, Ohio; and Camp King are also documented through two scrapbooks. The collection contains similar material from reunions and dedications Brister attended following her retirement from the army.

The Brister Papers also contain uniform accessories, including ribbons, medals, patches, buttons and a VHS videotape of a 2002 interview with Brister. The 1999 Oral History interview transcript primarily documents Brister’s experiences in Germany while serving in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, and her work in army intelligence in the 1950s and 1960s.

To view a detailed listing of the contents of this collection, please visit:
http://libapps.uncg.edu/archon/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=459&q=brister


BIOGRAPHY

Jane Gail Brister was born in 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1938, and then attended Presbyterian College for Young Women [now Arcadia University] in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, on a scholarship. She did not graduate, but took a job at an H.W. Butterworth and Sons factory in January 1942.

In May 1943, Brister joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She went to basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and then attended Officer Candidate School in Des Moines, Iowa. She returned to Fort Oglethorpe, where she had two weeks of Intermediate Officer School and was then assigned to a basic training company. In May 1945, she was sent overseas to Camp Lucky Strike in Le Havre, France, and then stationed briefly in Versailles before going to Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She was later moved to the European Theater Intelligence School (ETIS) in Oberammergau, Germany, until she was demobilized in December 1946.

Brister studied journalism at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, but did not graduate. In December 1948, she returned to the WAC when they were brought into the regular army and was assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. From June 1950 to June 1951, she went to an Army Language School for Russian at Monterey, California. She then went to the Intelligence Center at Oberursel, Germany, until 1954. Her next assignment was recruiting out of Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio.

In 1956, Brister got into the Foreign Area Specialist Training (FAST) program and went for a year of training at Columbia University before serving two more years in Oberammergau. There, from 1959 to 1961, she worked in a Soviet intelligence training school and as a Strategic Intelligence Officer. She returned to the United States in 1961 to work in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for the Department of Intelligence in the Pentagon. In 1963, Brister was promoted to lieutenant colonel and transferred to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In June 1965, she retired from the army and was recruited to work for Sylvania Electronics. She later did tutoring and teaching of remedial elementary school classes. In 1995 Brister moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, where she died in 2011.


CONTENTS AVAILABLE ONLINE:
Item
Jane Brister in her office, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.003
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister in Germany, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.002
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Camp King WAC Detatchment, circa 1952
Item # WV0115.6.019
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Portrait of Jane Brister, 1957
Item # WV0115.6.023
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister, 1945
Item # WV0115.6.016
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister, circa 1954
Item # WV0115.6.017
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Women Officers Advanced Course Class IV, 1957
Item # WV0115.6.024
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs at Command Inspection, circa 1952
Item # WV0115.6.021
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Reception for WAC director, 1961
Item # WV0115.6.025
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Oral history interview with Jane Brister, 1999
Item # WV0115.5.001
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Army officers at Red Cross Club, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.001
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WAC detachment in Germany, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.004
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WAC softball team, 1954
Item # WV0115.6.005
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Portrait of four WACs in Germany, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.006
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WAC Barracks at Camp King, circa 1952
Item # WV0115.6.022
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs holding pennant, circa 1952
Item # WV0115.6.020
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister by a campfire, 1945
Item # WV0115.6.013
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WAC softball team, 1954
Item # WV0115.6.014
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs at camp, 1952
Item # WV0115.6.015
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister at pistol range, circa 1952
Item # WV0115.6.018
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Jane Brister at party, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.007
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs off duty in Germany, 1946
Item # WV0115.6.008
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs at orphanage, 1952
Item # WV0115.6.009
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
WACs at orphanage, 1952
Item # WV0115.6.010
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Gas mask drill, 1952
Item # WV0115.6.011
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers
Special Services Department collects rations, 1945
Item # WV0115.6.012
From the Jane Gail Brister Papers