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This Day in Georgia History

November 29, 1943

Helen Longstreet Employed at Bell Plant

The newest employee at the Bell Aircraft plant in Marietta was 80-year-old Helen Dortch Longstreet, widow of Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Born in 1863 and the second wife of Gen. Longstreet, Helen completed a riveting class at the Rickenbacker Aircraft Training School in Marietta, telling a reporter, “I was at the head of my class in riveting school. In fact I was the only one in it.” According to Larry Bell, in a November 1943 speech, some 34 percent of the employees at the plant were women. He also added that 92 percent of the workers were southerners, including forty of the top 125 administrative staff. [Contributed by Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University.]