Margaret Simmons Vining

Margaret Simmons Vining


M.A., Museum Studies, George Washington University
B.A., History, American Studies, George Washington University

Research Specialties: 
  • Women's military history
  • Military material culture
  • The military's role in society

Current Projects:

  • Co-Author, Cutting a New Pattern: Mobilizing Women for War, 1854‒1919 (working title). “The World of Camp and Train: The Changing Role of Women in Early Modern Armies.”  With Barton C. Hacker. In Sovereign Arms: Armies and Fleets in the World between Lepanto and the French Revolution, 1571–1789, ed. Ciro Paoletti. Rome (forthcoming 2017)
  • Co-Director, “100 Years of American Women in Uniform: Reflecting upon an Epoch,” NEH-funded public program for military veterans (2016–2017)
  • Co-Curator, Uniformed Women in the Great War (2016 – 2018)
  • Co-Curator, Artist Soldiers: Artistic Expression in the First World War (2016–2018)
  • Co-Author, Bridging the Ocean: Technology and Nineteenth-Century Women’s Transatlantic Activism (article in progress).
  • Co-Author, From Blérancourt to Appalachia: CARD, Mary Breckinridge, and the Frontier Nursing Service (article in progress).

Past Projects:

  • Co-curator, Fast Attacks and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War. Centennial exhibition, U.S. Submarine Force. (April 2000–May 2003) 
  • Co-curator, West Point in the Making of America, 1802–1918. Bicentennial exhibition, U.S. Military Academy. (October 2002– January 2004)
  • Curator, All May Apply: The Yeoman (F) in World War I. (1997–2002)
  • Co-curator, The Family Car. (1996)
  • Co-curator, Remembering World War II. 50th anniversary of the end of WWII, (1995)
  • Curator, The G.I. Bill. Showcase exhibition, (1994)
  • Co-curator, G.I.: The American Soldier Experience in World War II. 50th Anniversary of World War II, (1993–2004)
  • Curator, The Mounted Buffalo Soldiers. Showcase exhibition, (1993)
  • Curator, Airborne! Semi-centennial exhibition, U. S. Airborne Service. (1991-1993)
  • Curator, American Women in War. Showcase exhibition, (1990)
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

National Museum of American History performance awards: 2008, 2007, 2003, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1990

Professional Affiliations: 
  • Academic Advisory Board, Allied Museum, Berlin
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Minerva Journal of Women and War
  • Women in Military Service for America Foundation Education Board
  • Columbia History of Science Group
  • International Association of Museums of Arms and Military History
  • International Committee for the History of Technology (ICHOTEC)
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Smithsonian Institution Women's Council (Executive Committee)
  • Society for Military History
  • Society for History in the Federal Government
  • Society for the History of Technology


“Displaying the Great War in America: The World War I Exhibition of the United States National Museum in Washington DC, 1918 and Beyond.” Smithsonian Books, 2008.
"Review of Improbable Warriors: Women Scientists and the U.S. Navy in World War II by Kathleen Broome Williams." Technology and Culture 44 (2003): 439–440.
“Military Uniforms,” in Dictionary of American History, ed. Stanley Kutler. 3rd ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Reference Books. 2003.
“Shaping Military Women Since World War II.” World Archaeology Congress, Washington, June 2003.

American womens' Cold War uniforms reflected official uncertainty about how the regular army's new women should look.

West Point in the Making of America with Barton C. Hacker. Irvington, N.Y.: Hydra, 2002.

Catalog of the West Point in the Making of America exhibition.

“The World of Camp and Train: The Changing Role of Women in Early Modern Armies” with Barton C. Hacker. In “Sovereign Arms: Armies and Fleets in the World between Lepanto and the French Revolution, 1571–1789,” Rome, 2002.

On the necessary and vital roles women served in supporting the activities of early modern armies.

“Volunteers Inspired by Conscription: Uniformed Women in World War I” with Barton C. Hacker. In Total War, Total Defense, 1789–1900, ed. Per Iko, Lars Ericson, and Gunnar Åselius, pp. 346–352. Stockholm: Svenska militärhistorika kommissionen, 2001.

Civilian women in large numbers volunteered for military-related health and welfare services in World War I, donning military-style uniforms as a symbolic claim to full citizenship.

“From Camp Follower to Lady in Uniform: Women, Social Class and Military Institutions before 1920.” with Barton C. Hacker. Contemporary European History 10 (2001): 353–73.

The relationship between women and military institutions altered radically from the mid 19th century to World War I, because of the changing place in society of both women and the military.

“The Inception of the World War II ‘Ike Jacket.’” Military Collector and Historian 43 (Winter 1991): 146–153.