Professor authors book and produces CD

John Thomas
John Thomas

May 8, 2012 - A Gibson guitar enthusiast and professor of law in the School of Law, John Thomas has spent years researching and writing a book about Gibson's "Banner" guitars built during the World War II era. The project started several years ago when Thomas uncovered a little-known fact about these guitars: they were primarily made by women.

Most of the craftsmen working at Gibson's Kalamazoo, Mich. factory shifted to building products for the war. Rather than halt production of its guitars, the company quietly recruited women to work in its factories, but hid it from the public.

Thomas contacted and interviewed many of the women workers. The result is his book, "Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women Who Built Gibson's WWII 'Banner' Guitars."

Thomas, along with American roots songster Lauren Sheehan, produced a CD as a companion piece to the book. The 12-track CD features WWII-era songs performed on Gibson guitars from the era along with introductions by the women workers Thomas interviewed. The guitars--some of which are valued at more than $30,000--were loaned to Thomas by their owners for the project.

Read more about the project: