Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Penelope A. Blake, PH.D.  

Pen Name: Penelope A. LeFew-Blake, Ph. D.

Genre: American History Military History Nonfiction Women's History World War II

Born: in Harvard, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Penelope A. Blake, PH.D. on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Blake was born in Harvard, Illinois and now lives in Rockford, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Penelope A. LeFew-Blake, Ph.D., is a professor of humanities who serves as an educational adviser to the Fort Des Moines Memorial Park and Education Center. She lectures extensively on World War II history and has written several books and articles on American and European culture.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

My Mother's Fort:: A Photographic Tribute to Fort DesMoines, First Home of the Woman's Army Corps
ISBN: 1419608320

BookSurge Publishing. 2005

Fort Des Moines (IA) (Images of America)
ISBN: 0738540684

Arcadia Publishing. 2006

Often referred to as “the West Point of the Midwest” because of its majestic red brick buildings and lush tree-lined landscape, Fort Des Moines shaped American history from its inception. Originally located at the fork of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, Fort Des Moines relocated four miles south of the city and began to assume its revolutionary place in military history. By 1909, it was the largest cavalry post in the country, and Pres. William H. Taft chose it as the site of his “Great Tournament” of cavalry units. In 1917, for the first time in American history, African American officers received commissions at Fort Des Moines. Future president Ronald Reagan perfected his equestrian skills on its vast parade ground. The legacy of the cavalry lingered when, in 1942, the fort served as the first training center for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and many female recruits found themselves sleeping in cavalry stables converted into barracks.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

The author is available to give a 45 minute presentation on the Women's Army Corps at Fort Des Moines during World War II.