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Oveta Culp Hobby

Ernest Hamlin Baker, 1889 - 1975
Oveta Culp Hobby, 19 Jan 1905 - 17 Aug 1995
Gouache on paper
Sight (Verified): 27 x 24.1 cm (10 5/8 x 9 1/2")
Mat: 55.9 × 40.6 cm (22 × 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Oveta Culp Hobby
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Ernest Hamlin Baker
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Killeen, Texas
By her early thirties, Oveta Culp Hobby had helped to codify the banking laws of her native Texas, been an assistant to Houston’s city attorney, and served as an editor and executive vice president of the Houston Post. When this portrait appeared on Time’s cover in 1944, she was the commanding officer of the Women’s Army Corps, charged with directing one of this country’s first experiments in utilizing women in the military. The experiment was succeeding overall, and the performance of Hobby’s WACs had long since disputed the initial spate of cynical remarks about women’s unfitness for the military. Hobby’s one disappointment was that the numbers of WAC enlistments had fallen well short of the army’s original hopes. In 1953, and largely in recognition of her organizational skills, President Eisenhower appointed Hobby to head the newly created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection