2011 84¢ Oveta Culp Hobby
Issue Date: April 15, 2011
City: Houston, TX
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
“Women who stepped up were measured as
citizens of the nation, not as women...
This was a people’s war, and everyone was in it.”
– Oveta Culp Hobby
Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-95) responded when called upon to serve her country. In the process, she created new opportunities for women, helped the Allies win World War II, and approved a drug that virtually eliminated polio in the United States.
During World War II, Hobby became the Director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, created to remedy severe labor shortages caused by men serving in the war effort. Its members, who were the first women other than nurses to be in Army uniform, helped the U.S. meet the industrial demands needed to win the war. Although she “never did learn to salute properly or master the 30-inch stride,” Colonel Oveta Hobby became the first woman in the Army to receive the Distinguished Service Medal.
President Dwight Eisenhower named Hobby the first secretary of the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Hobby personally made the decision to approve Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. She resigned her position in 1955 to care for her ailing husband. Oveta died in 1995, knowing she had helped save two generations of Americans from the paralyzing effects of polio.