“League of Wives” Exhibition

The League of Wives: Vietnam’s POW/MIA Allies and Advocates

About the League of Wives Exhibit:

In her role as the 2017 Dole Archives Curatorial Fellow, Heath Hardage Lee conceived of and curated a museum exhibit titled The League of Wives: Vietnam's POW MIA Allies &Advocates based on her research for The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home from Vietnam book. The Dole Institute's Assistant Director and Senior Archivist Audrey McKanna Coleman led the exhibit team, which also included Assistant Curator Minda Stockdale, and filmmaker Kristine Bartley. The exhibit premiered at The Robert and Elizabeth Dole Institute of Politics, University of Kansas, on May 7, 2017 and ran through December 31 of that year.


Dole Institute of Politics 2017

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum 2018

Virginia Museum of History and Culture 2019

Coronado Historical Association 2019-2020

The Highground Veterans Memorial Park & Museum (Neillsville, WI) 2021

Gold Star Museum, Des Moines, IA 2022. (May 5-August 31).

United States Naval Academy: Mahan Hall: Annapolis, MD. January 27-end of May 2023

In the late 1960s, POW/MIA wives bucked government protocol and challenged the traditional role of “military wife.” These courageous women led by Sybil Stockdale on the West Coast, Jane Denton, Louise Mulligan, and Phyllis Galanti on the East Coast and later Helene Knapp in the Interior West organized to form the National League of POW/MIA Families. The women worked with Congress and the Nixon administration to demand accounting for their husbands and pursue their safe return after years of imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese. Curated by 2017 Dole Archives Curatorial Fellow Heath Hardage Lee, and based on her upcoming book, The League of Wives: A True Story of Survival and Rescue from the Vietnam Homefront (2019, St. Martin’s Press), this special exhibition features documents, photos, oral histories and memorabilia from the Dole Archives, personal collections of POW/MIA families, and other institutions.

Programming made possible by funding from Harlan and Alice Ann Ochs of Colorado Springs, in honor of Larry Ochs.

Photos from the League of Wives exhibit

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© Heath Hardage Lee • Photos courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy and Library of Congress