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Zelma D. Abarbanel collection

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections - 2007 Box 2 (07.0075-07.0157), Folder: 07.0119 - Folder 1
Identifier: 07.0119

Content Description

This collection refers to Zelma D. Abarbanel, who served as a Technician Fourth Grade with the WAC Second Detachment during World War II. Abarbanel worked as a stenographer and assistant for the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the Office of Weapons. The collection includes a transcript of an oral history interview, one letter, the military records of both Abarbanel and her husband, Milton Goldman Abarbanel, and several photographs depicting Abarbanel’s life as a WAC.


  • 1943-1945
  • Date accessioned: 2019-05-29


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Birth and Death Dates

Zelma D. Abarbanel was born on October 19, 1916, in New Haven, Connecticut. Abarbanel grew up in New Jersey, the oldest of three children. Abarbanel completed high school and business school before enlisting. She was twenty-six years old when she enlisted in the WAAC 1943, much to her parents’ consternation. Abarbanel decided to enlist because of her patriotism, and in part because her Jewish heritage gave her a personal stake in the war in Europe.

Abarbanel completed Basic Training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa in February 1943, and was next stationed in Memphis, Tennessee for a year. While there, the WAAC became the WAC, and during the transition, the women were given the chance to go home rather than reenlist. Abarbanel decided to stay, and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, where she would be stationed for the remainder of the war. Trained as a stenographer, Abarbanel worked as a colonel’s assistant at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, in the Office of Weapons. During her three years at Fort Benning, Abarbanel made many close friends, and would also meet her husband, Milton Goldman Abarbanel. Although it was frowned upon for enlisted personnel and officers to socialize, the Abarbanels married in 1945. To Zelma Abarbanel’s disappointment, Milton was transferred from Fort Benning after they married, and she traveled to Atlanta often to meet him until she was discharged from the army in December 1945. After the war, Abarbanel and her husband lived in New Jersey, and later moved to Florida. Zelma D. Abarbanel died March 3, 2010, in Tallahassee, FL. She recieved decorations for the American Theater, a Good Conduct Medal, and a Victory Medal.


1 folders (1 Folder)

1 items (1 pair of WAC boots, stored in artifact Box 36)

Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Zelma D. Abarbanel collection
Mallory McGovern
October 4, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US