Margaret S. Vining

Margaret S. 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 social sciences in the Progressive Era

Current Projects:

  • Book in progress. Academic Social Science, Public Welfare and War in the Progressive Era. Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge and the University of Chicago 1894-1948. 2010.
  • Co-edited book in progress: The Companion to Women's Military History. Leiden: Brill, 2009.
  • Co-authored book and exhibition in progress. Working title Out of the Shadows: Women's Military Work as Depicted in the Graphic Arts since the 15th Century.
  • Co-authored book and traveling exhibition in progress. Capturing America's Great War. The Smithsonian Colleciton of World War I Art.
  • Co-authored book in progress. Cutting a New Pattern: Mobilizing Women for War, 1854-1919. Leiden: Brill, 2011.

Past Projects:

  • Curator, American Women in War. Showcase exhibition, 1990.
  • Curator, Airborne! Semi-centennial exhibition, U. S. Airborne Service. 1991“1993.
  • Curator, The Mounted Buffalo Soldiers. Showcase exhibition, 1993.
  • Co-curator, G.I.: The American Soldier Experience in World War II. 50th Anniversary of World War II, 1993–2004.
  • Curator, The G.I. Bill. Showcase exhibition, 1994.
  • Co-curator, Remembering World War II. 50th anniversary of the end of WWII, 1995.
  • Co-curator, The Family Car. 1996
  • Curator, All May Apply: The Yeoman (F) in World War I. 1997–2002.
  • Co-curator, West Point in the Making of America, 1802–1918. Bicentennial exhibition, U.S. Military Academy. October 2002– January 2004.
  • Co-curator, Fast Attacks and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War. Centennial exhibition, U.S. Submarine Force. April 2000–May 2003. 
  • Conference paper. "Brave Colors, Peaceful Conquest: North African Zouaves, Western Armies and Nineteenth Century Military Acculturation." World History Association Annual Conference, Al Akhawayn University, Morocco, June 2005.
  • Co-authored conference paper. "For Respect and Attention: Women's Uniforms in the Smithsonian's Great War Exhibition, 1918-1928." International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History, Royal Army Museum, Brussels, Belgium. 2006
  • Conference paper. "Progressive Social Sciences in the Great War." Annual Meeting of the Society of Military History, Frederick, MD, 2007.
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

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

Professional Affiliations: 
  • 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
  • United States Commission of Military History (Secretary General of USCMH, 2003–2006)
  • Women in Military Service for America Foundation (Education board, 1994– )


“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.
“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.

"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.
“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.

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.

“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.

“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.

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