Office of Women's Rights Women Firefighters Project Records, 1974-1980  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Seattle (Wash.). Office of Women's Rights
Title
Office of Women's Rights Women Firefighters Project Records
Dates
1974-1980 (inclusive)
Quantity
.4 cubic foot, (1 box)
Collection Number
8402-02
Summary
Records (1974-1980) relating to monitoring of the Seattle Fire Department's pre-recruit training program for prospective women fire fighters.
Repository
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
98124-4728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-233-7807
Fax: 206-386-9025
archives@seattle.gov
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Office for Women's Rights, an agency of the Executive Department, was established in 1973. Prior to 1973, the Women’s Division was a separate office within the Office of Human Resources, serving as staff support for the Seattle Women’s Commission. The Office developed and coordinated programs to promote equal opportunity for women and sexual minorities. The office was abolished in 1997, and its responsibilities were assumed by the Office for Civil Rights.

In 1975, Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman and the City Council ordered the Seattle Fire Department to begin hiring women as firefighters. Seattle Personnel/Civil Service, the Fire Department, and the International Association of Firefighters began recruiting women and minorities for firefighting work. However, of 45 women who applied, only nine were able to pass the physical examination, and none of the seven who entered the recruit class completed the program. Physical ability and mechanical ability were cited as "deficiencies" that made completion of the training difficult for women recruits. Personnel and Civil Service created a Pre-Recruit Firefighter Program which would involve both physical training and mechanical education; the program, beginning in January 1977, was intended to prepare women recruits for further training as firefighters.

The Fire Department administered the program, while Personnel and Civil Service provided support. Dr. T. Lee Doolittle of the University of Washington prepared a physical training program; training took place at YMCA facilities and was supervised by YMCA staff. Covered in the mechanical section of the program were plumbing, electricity, and lumber, as well as hoses, ropes and knots, and ladders. Two of the three women who enrolled in the initial pre-recruit training program resigned; the remaining recruit, Bonnie Beers, completed the program in 1977. Beers went on to complete recruit training and became Seattle's first woman firefighter; she became a lieutenant in 1981 and a Battalion Chief in 1996.

Throughout 1977 and 1978, recruitment of women continued and the pre-recruit program was further refined and developed.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records relate to monitoring of the Seattle Fire Department's pre-recruit training program for prospective women fire fighters. Also included are regulations, procedures, and overviews of training sessions; background material on SFD/women relations; copies of the Doolittle Reports on strength and endurance training; appeals from rejected women recruits; evaluations of women pre-recruits; and files related to the SFD's recruiting practices and apprenticeship programs. Seattle Fire Fighters' Pension Board Minutes are also included in the records.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Office of Women's Rights Women Firefighters Project, Record Series 8402-02. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Office of Women's Rights Women Firefighters Project, 1974-1980Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Apprenticeship Program
1978-1979
1/2
Background to Fire Department/Women Relations
1974-1975
1/3
Complaints, LEOFF (Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Retirement System) Standards
1976-1977
1/4
Evaluation of Recruits
1977
1/5
Evaluation of Recruits
1978
1/6
Medical Evaluations (Doolittle Reports)
1976-1979
1/7
Office of Management and Budget Report
1978
1/8
Press Clippings
1974-1979
1/9
Program Evaluation
1978
1/10
Recruit Dismissals and Resignations
1976
1/11
Recruit Training Program
1977-1979
1/12
Recruiting Effort
1977-1978
1/13
Recruits
1976
1/14
Seattle Firefighters' Pension Board
1977-1978
1/15
Seattle Firefighters' Pension Board
1979-1980

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.).
  • Occupations :
  • Fire fighters--Physical training--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Women fire fighters--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Doolittle, Dr. T. Lee (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept. (creator)