The Women's History Index was compiled originally by ROHA staff members Kyle Downey, Taylor McKay, Katie Ruffer and Kara McCloskey and has been expanded over time.
Ndidi Amutah was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1981 to Nigerian parents. Dr. Amutah grew up in Trenton and graduated from Trenton Central High School in 1999. She attended Livingston College at Rutgers, where she was active in the Livingston College Governing Association. After graduating from Livingston in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies and a B.S. in Public Health, she earned a Master's in Public Health at George Washington University. Dr. Amutah attended the University of Maryland, College Park and studied maternal child health for her Ph.D. Dr. Amutah completed a Kellogg Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, served as a professor at Montclair State University, and then became a professor of public health and community medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
Mrs. Alice Jennings Archibald was born and raised in New Brunswick New Jersey and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1923 as salutatorian of her class. She attended Howard University and graduated there in 1927 with her Bachelor’s Degree, and also received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1928. Mrs. Archibald became the first African-American woman to graduate from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 1938. During World War II, Mrs. Archibald worked for Raritan Arsenal as a completion clerk and a neighborhood Air Warden. After the war, she joined the staff of the New Brunswick Urban League as assistant to the executive director in 1946 and then worked at the Employment Office as a counselor. With the Urban League, Mrs. Archibald hired the first black man to Johnson and Johnson, and hired the first black teachers in New Brunswick. She continued as a counselor until her retirement in 1972.
Mrs. Ballantine was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey, attending both elementary and high school there. She attended the New Jersey College for Women majoring in Home Economics and studying foods and nutrition, graduating in 1945. During her college years, she worked at Johnson and Johnson as well as DuPont Explosives in Pompton Lakes in the explosive rivet department. She also worked as a chief dietitian cook at a Girl Scout camp in Binghamton, New York. During the Second World War, Mrs. Ballantine volunteered in the USO and put on dances for American soldiers. After the war, Mrs. Ballantine married and became one of the first people to work for the Food Technology Department at Rutgers on Cook Campus. Afterwards, she received her teaching degree at William Paterson University and taught Home Economics in Paterson for sixteen years.
Mrs. Bartholomew was born in Milltown in 1919 and moved to East Brunswick, South Brunswick, and New Brunswick, graduating from New Brunswick High in 1937. During World War II she worked for Richardson’s, counting washers. She was also a blackout warden during the war. In 1967, Mrs. Bartholomew worked for Alumni Records at Rutgers University and worked there for seven years before getting a job in the English Department.
Nancy Topping Bazin was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Oakmont. She received a B.A. in French and English at Ohio Wesleyan University, M.A. at Middlebury Graduate School for French, studying in Paris in 1956-'57, and Ph.D. in English at Stanford University, where she wrote her dissertation on Virginia Woolf. She served as an assistant professor in the Rutgers College English Department from 1970 to 1977. At Rutgers, she pioneered the development of Women's Studies courses and started a women's speaker series. In addition to being active in the Women's Caucus, she helped found the Women's Studies Institute (now called the Institute for Research on Women), serving as the director in the fall of 1974. After coordinating the Women's Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh, she became the director of Women's Studies and an English professor at Old Dominion University in 1978. She was the second woman to become a full professor in the College of Arts and Letters and was the third woman to become Eminent Scholar in the university as a whole and the first in the College of Arts and Letters. In 2000, she retired and became an artist.
Carmela Becerra was born in Cali, Colombia in 1964. She grew up in Cali along with her three siblings. Her father worked as a foreman at a construction company, and her mother was a homemaker. She discusses the diversity of her ancestors with Afro-Colombian and indigenous roots and notes an absence of racism and colorism during her upbringing in Colombia. She remembers the rise of cartel-related violence. After completing a two-year college degree, she was motivated to move the U.S. for job opportunities. With family members living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, she decided to settle in Elizabeth. She describes the large Colombian community in Elizabeth and her family connections in the city, notably an aunt who owned a travel agency. She planned on returning to Colombia, but she met and married her husband, who is Puerto Rican, and decided to stay in the U.S. She compares and contrasts language and cultural practices of Colombians and Puerto Ricans. After going back to school, she became a teacher and has worked as an English as a second language teacher. She visits Colombia frequently and plans on retiring in Colombia. In the interview, she delves into raising children in America, demographics and immigration, current issues surrounding immigration, and political and economic strife in Colombia.
Bertha Bell was born in Indianapolis in 1922. She graduated from high school in 1942 and attended Indiana University for two years. During her college years, she joined the USO and organized social events for American servicemen. She also worked for the Red Cross handing out food to the soldiers. In the early 1970s, Mrs. Bell worked as a receptionist at Rutgers.
Prathiba Bhat was born in Belgaum, India (the Karnataka state) in 1972. During her childhood, Bhat lived in the suburbs of Belgaum and went to a Catholic school due to the Begaum Border Dispute with neighboring Maharashtra. Bhat attended Karnataka University and majored in computer science. She met her husband there. After college, Bhat worked as a computer teacher for Tata Unisys in Puni. In 1996, friends from the United States visited during a water shortage and convinced her to move to the United States. Initially, her husband arrived in the United States alone, and Bhat followed three months after. In 2004, she began working for AVTECH Institute of Technology, where she continues to teach computer skills and general job skills. She has worked for Hidden Gems and Children International, which provides educational support for young children in India. Bhat and her husband have two daughters and live in Dayton, New Jersey.
Mrs. Adaline Bloom was raised in both Highland Park and New Brunswick, New Jersey. She went to school in Highland Park and attended high school in New Brunswick. Mrs. Bloom attended Douglass College and first studied Economics before majoring in Library Science. During her college years in the late 30s and early 40s, Adaline worked for the National Youth Administration correcting catalog cards and doing research. Adaline graduated from Douglass College in June of 1941 and began working at Pathe Newsreel Company as a film librarian in New York City in September of 1941. While employed during the war, Adaline volunteered as a Red Cross member. In the spring of 1943 Mrs. Bloom left Pathe News and worked for the Office of War Information as a film librarian, organizing and cataloging film for the military until 1946. She then went on to work for the March of Time, the newsreel produced and distributed by Time-Life Magazine, working there until her retirement.
Dr. Boardman was born in 1920 and raised in Penns Grove, New Jersey. In the midst of the Great Depression, Boardman and her family moved to a farm and lived off the land while also helping others that were less fortunate. With a state scholarship, Virginia attended NJC, majoring in Chemistry. During her summers, Virginia would work for DuPont and on the family farm. She graduated in 1941 and worked at DuPont during the war, making artificial vitamin D for chickens that were being sent overseas. By April of 1944, Virginia was enrolled in Nursing School in Cleveland, Ohio and finished in 1946. She then went to Philadelphia and worked for the Philadelphia Visiting Nurse Society for year before working as a tuberculosis nurse in Salem County, eventually ending up in Arizona providing care for Navajo Indians. She left Arizona in 1964 and got her Ph.D. at North Carolina, working in education until her retirement in 1982.
Mrs. Borbely was born and raised in New Brunswick New Jersey in 1923. She attended New Brunswick High and graduated there in 1940, after which she went to NJC majoring in English and History. During the war, Marie married her husband and had her first child before her husband was shipped overseas to the Pacific. During her husband's Marine training in the United States, Marie and her child followed her husband to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina where she experienced the life of a housewife on a military base and encountered racial prejudice between whites and blacks. Marie and her family lived in New Brunswick for several generations and watched New Brunswick change from a small town to a large urban area.
Mrs. Brown was born in England in 1935 and grew up in Aden, Yemen at the start of the Second World War. In late 1940 Brigid and her mother were evacuated to Pachmarhi India for eighteen months and then were moved to Allahabad, India. Her father remained in Yemen as a flight engineer. Brigid attended a private convent school in India where she got a Catholic education. From there, she moved to Karachi where she received her education at a Royal Army Base. By April of 1943, Ms. Brown and her family were shipped back to England from India without a convoy. By the time they arrived in Plymouth, their entire town had been devastated by the German blitz. They lived in York until the end of the war, and Ms. Brown recalls hiding in air raid shelters during this time. At the age of nineteen, Brigid went to King’s College, University of London until 1957. She then worked for Shell from 1957-1962, going to Nigeria and then eventually the United States. In 1980 Brigid started working for the Religion Department at Rutgers for nearly two years before switching over to the Study Abroad Department until 1997. She continued to move back and forth between the United States and Great Britain.
Mary Lou Norton Busch was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1923. She graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1941. Mrs. Busch was a student at New Jersey College for Women where she was majoring in chemistry before she left school to work as a chemist in a Manhattan Project plant (Houdaille Hershey, Decatur, IL) during World War II. At the plant, Mary’s job was to test the diffusion of tubes the factory was currently working on. Her husband also worked on the Manhattan Project in Decatur. She later returned to Douglass College to earn her degree in Sociology in 1982.
Alma Geist Gap was born in 1916 and grew up in Califon, New Jersey on her family's mill and attended high school at High Bridge. Alma attended NJC where she majored in History and minored in English and German, graduating in 1938. After NJC she attended Rider University for a year before getting her first teaching job in Sayreville. During the war, Mrs. Cap volunteered for a month with the USO before signing up with the Red Cross in the recreational division in 1943. She ended up going to the Pacific and was stationed in Australia. In 1944, Alma moved north to New Guinea, Palau and the Philippines to entertain and take care of the troops stationed there. After the war, she worked at Douglass for sixteen years as editor of the bulletin and director of alumnae events. She was very active in the American Alumni Council, which became the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
Donna Chlopak was born in 1950 in Trenton, New Jersey. She grew up in Hightstown, graduating high school in 1968. She went to Douglass College, where she majored in psychology and started the Big Brother/Big Sister pairing program between Rutgers and Douglass freshmen and upper classmen. She graduated in the Class of 1972. After earning a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology at Ohio State University in 1976, she began her career as a college professor and then entered the corporate world. She worked in marketing at AT&T, Citibank and Gallup, in addition to founding her own consulting firm. Since 2009, she has taught courses at institutions such as Montclair State University and Rutgers. She is the author of Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century: Navigating Career Waters to Find and Land a Choice Position.
Mrs. Christensen was born in 1922 in Newark, New Jersey. She grew up in Newark and graduated from Barringer High School. Nancy attended Douglass College, graduating there in 1944 majoring in English with a minor in Psychology. After college Nancy went on to work for IBM as a system service representative. She worked for IBM for two years until her husband came home when World War II ended. She went on to work for IBM. Mrs. Christensen was as on the board of the Visiting Home Health Services of Union County for twenty-five years.
Saskia Leo Cipriani was born in 1980 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Her parents were born in the Dominican Republic. In 1981, her family moved to Passaic, New Jersey, where she grew up in a neighborhood that was, at the time, largely Dominican and Puerto Rican. She attended Catholic schools and then Clifton High School. After going to Passaic County Community College for one semester, she transferred to Rutgers University, first to University College and then to Livingston College, where she graduated in 2004. During her undergraduate years, she was involved in Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, Casa Boricua, the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), and the Latin American Womxn’s Association (LAWO). Additionally, her work-study job was at the Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC). Over the course of her career, she has worked in the private sector and in higher education. In 2010, she earned a Master’s in Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark. At the time of the interview, she was working on her dissertation in the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership at Rowan University. In 2009, she co-founded the Latino Alumni Association at Rutgers University (LAARU). Since 2012, Ms. Cipriani has served as the Assistant Director of CLAC. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
Elizabeth Hughes Clark was born in 1925 in London, England. Her father, Percy Hughes, served as a professor of philosophy, psychology and education at Lehigh University. Along with her father, mother Maude Williams Hughes, and brother Alfred, Ms. Clark grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and at the family's summer home Glory Hill in Belvidere, New Jersey. Ms. Clark attended the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass Residential College). With an interest in music and singing, she majored in history and graduated in the Class of 1945. Following graduation, Ms. Clark worked at the YWCA in Rochester, New York. She married Leonard H. Clark in 1947, and they moved to Syracuse, where she was active in the New York State Commission against Discrimination, board of University Hospital, Chamber Music Society and Tanglewood Chorus. After moving to Philadelphia, Ms. Clark commuted to Rutgers University and earned her Master's degree in sociology in the 1960s. Ms. Clark became the Director of Social Services at Presbyterian-University Medical Center in Philadelphia in 1966. Shen then worked at Nazareth Hospital and taught at Holy Family College in the Sociology Department. In 1982, Ms. Clark began to teach part-time at Beaver College, now Arcadia University, Glenside, PA, in the Sociology and Anthropology Department, where she achieved emerita status.
Cheryl Clarke was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C. From 1965 to 1969, Cheryl attended Howard University. In 1969, Cheryl came to Rutgers-New Brunswick as a graduate student in English and earned her M.A. in 1974. Cheryl taught courses in the Urban University Program. A life-long activist, Cheryl discusses her many experiences participating in social movements, including the anti-war and Black Power movements at Howard University, anti-apartheid activism at Rutgers, LGBT activism, feminism and lesbian-feminism, and activism surrounding the defense of Assata Shakur. From 1974 to 1978, Cheryl worked in Middlesex County in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Program. In 1978, she returned to Rutgers to study social work, obtaining her M.S.W. in 1980. In 1980, Cheryl began working in Student Affairs at Rutgers. In 1992, she served as the founding director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities. From 2009 to 2013, Cheryl served as the Dean of Students for Livingston Campus. At Rutgers, Cheryl coordinated the university-wide Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes and the New Brunswick-wide Bias Prevention Education Committee, in addition to establishing the university-wide network of "Liaisons" and teaching numerous courses. Cheryl is a poet and author. She and her partner Barbara Balliet co-own Blenheim Hill Books in Hobart, New York and organize the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers.
Born in 1944, Marcia Collins grew up in Greene in Chenango County, New York. During her early childhood, her family operated a dairy farm. After graduating high school, Marcia went to nursing school at Wilson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Johnson City, New York. During nursing school, she joined the Army Student Nurse Program. Marcia went to basic training for the Army Nurses Corps at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and then worked at Fort Belvoir in Washington, D.C. in pediatrics and intensive care. Together with a friend through the Buddy System, Marcia volunteered to serve in Vietnam. In Vietnam, Marcia served at the Eighth Field Hospital in Nha Trang in the surgical unit and surgical intensive care and then served in the 91st Evacuation Hospital at Tuy Hoa in the intensive care unit. She was stationed in Vietnam from December 1966 to December 1967. After her service, Marcia worked briefly at Wilson Memorial Hospital and then got a job at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Marcia then spent the rest of her career in clinical research, working at Edison Medical Group and then starting her own clinical research business in New Jersey, which she ran with her husband, a medical doctor, for eighteen years.
Mrs. Comeforo grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey to a German family. She graduated from high school in 1941 and enrolled in NJC the same year, majoring in Home Economics. During the war, Jean worked for Johnson and Johnson. After college, Jean went to Illinois and lived in a trailer for three years while her husband completed his Ph.D. at Illinois University. After moving back to New Jersey. Jean worked for the Girl Scouts, first as a leader, and then volunteered for a public relations position. Afterwards, Jean and her husband started a company in their house called Consolidated Ceramics and Metallizing Corporation. Jean was highly involved with her class reunions and was class secretary.
A native of Texas, Elizabeth "Betsy" Carter D’Angelo is a long-time New Jersey resident who grew up in a military family, went to college in Texas, and spent her career working for the U.S. government overseas and later, while raising her family, the YWCA organization and in higher education. In the 1960s, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a secretary, first in the typing pool in Washington, D.C., and then in the personnel department of the Clandestine Services Department in the Eastern European Division.
Mrs. Dauster was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1927. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1944. She attended college at New Jersey College for Women, majoring in German. Between high school and going to NJC, Helen worked for the US Army Quartermaster Corps in Jersey City doing desk work during World War II. She received her Master’s in Library Service and worked as a librarian in various schools for twenty-two years.
Betty Davis was born in 1944 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Jersey City and Orange, graduating from Orange High School in 1962. From 1962 to 1966, Betty Davis attended Douglass College and majored in political science. She was active in the local NAACP group. In the interview, she describes her years at Douglass, including her experiences of being an African American student at Rutgers University. After graduating in 1966, Betty Davis joined the Peace Corps and served in Nigeria. She settled in Toronto, Canada and has spent her career working in computer programming. Betty Davis' interview is part of a series of interviews called Black on the Banks, named for a conference in 2015 that featured African American alumni of Rutgers University during the 1960s.
Gloria Decker was born in Philadelphia in 1925. She grew up in an Lebanese-American household. She joined the Women's Army Corpsin 1943. After the war, Ms. Decker worked for Technitrol.
Mrs. De Mott was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in Clinton, New Jersey. She graduated from Clinton High School in 1942. After she graduated, she worked in a factory in Lebanon for the war effort making casings for torpedoes. She started college at Trenton State, majoring in Education, and graduated her junior year and went to Rutgers in 1945. At Rutgers, she worked in the junior engineering department while being paid by General Electric. After three months of engineering courses, Kathryn went on to work at Trenton Eastern Aircraft for a year in the engineering department. At this factory, they built Avengers and Wildcats aircraft and sent them overseas to the Pacific theater. De Mott returned to teaching later in life.
Dorothy Dempsey was born in 1922 and raised in the Bronx, New York. During World War II, Ms. Dempsey enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve. She completed boot camp in Palm Beach, Florida and served during the war years in Boston as a part of the 18th Regiment. After the war, Ms. Dempsey went to college using the GI Bill at the Rutgers-Newark School of Education and graduated from Kean (1970). In later years, Ms. Dempsey played an active role in Lyndhurst and throughout the State of New Jersey in promoting the recognition of women veterans. She designed the "Minutewoman" statue in the Arneytown Cemetery to honor women that served in all of America's wars.
Maria Ealey was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1981. During her early childhood, she grew up in a middle-class family and attended Catholic schools. In the interview, she describes drug cartel-related violence in Medellín and the impact on her family. Following her aunt and grandmother, her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 and settled in Paterson, New Jersey. They lived in South Paterson in what was, at that time, a predominantly Colombian and Arab neighborhood. While working part-time jobs to help support her family, Ms. Ealey went to high school at John F. Kennedy. She discusses the difficulties of transitioning to life in Paterson, learning English, and dealing with financial constraints associated with access to health care and higher education. Initially, she went to Bergen County Community College for nursing, while also working full time. Then, she attended Berkeley College and studied international business, working early in her career for an attorney and a foundation. Currently, Ms. Ealey is a staff person in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University. She resides in Middlesex County. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
Mrs. Feller attended Weequahic High School in Newark New Jersey. She attended NJC and majored in French and Spanish, graduating in 1941. In January of 1942, Mrs. Feller started working at the New York Censorship Office as a Deputy Assistant Censor. Her work at the Censorship Office led to the apprehension of one operative during her time there. She worked there until the war ended in August of 1945. After the war, Feller went to work at an insurance and real estate business that her family owned. She would return to school, going for for her Master’s Degree and receiving her supervising certificate. She worked for Rutgers supervising and teaching classes from 1977 until 1994.
After growing up in Hillsdale, New Jersey, Pamela Fessler attended Douglass College at Rutgers University. She majored in American Studies and pursued her interest in journalism by joining the Douglass newspaper, the Caellian, eventually becoming the managing editor. After graduating in the Class of 1975, she worked as a reporter for The Bergen Record. Fessler attended graduate school at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse and earned a master's in public administration, after which she worked in Washington, D.C. at the Office of Management and Budget (OBM). Following that, she became the Senior Reporter and Editor of the Congressional Quarterly Magazine. In 1993, she began working at NPR News and has served as NPR's Chief Elections Editor, Washington Desk Editor and National Desk Editor. She has covered voting issues, poverty and philanthropy. Fessler is the author of Carville's Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice (Liveright Publishing, 2020), which explores the little-known history of the Carville leprosarium.
Dorothy Field was born in Port Chester, New York in 1925. Dorothy grew up in Port Chester during the Great Depression and graduated from high school in 1942. She then attended NJC and majored in History and minored in Political Science. She graduated in 1946 and received her Master's in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Later, she received her Master of Divinity degree from Drew University. She was ordained in 1978 with the United Methodist Church. Ms. Field is a member of the Douglass Society and was secretary of her class for ten years.
Eva Fontanez was born in the Bronx, New York in 1959. Her parents were born in Puerto Rico and moved to the Bronx after having their first child. During her childhood, Eva Fontanez lived in the Bronx, in Elizabeth, Newark and Passaic, New Jersey and in Brooklyn, before returning to the Bronx. She grew up in a Pentecostal household in which her stepfather was a Pentecostal pastor and her mother, a seamstress by trade, raised eight children. After graduating from Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, she briefly attended María Eugenio de Hostos Community College before entering the workforce. In 1980, she and her mother and younger sister moved to Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. After nine years of living in Puerto Rico, she moved to Plainfield with family members. In 1990, she got a three-year grant-based job at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and spent the rest of her career there in variety of roles, including as staff in Student Activities and Multicultural Affairs. At RVCC, Ms. Fontanez served as the founding advisor of the Orgullo Latino Club and helped to start CRECER, a program that began in 1996 to encourage underserved youth from area high schools to attend college. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, she spent nine months in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico helping in relief efforts and working for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a call center.
Ms. Godfrey was born in Washington D.C. in 1924. She grew up in Clark, New Jersey. She attended high school in New York City and worked for a radio program during her teenage years with her mother. She attended NJC and majored in English.
Mrs. Lucille Miller Goff was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1920. She attended Weequahic High School and then New Jersey College for Women, where she graduated with a degree in Home Economics/Nutrition in 1942. In her senior year of college, Mrs. Goff had the opportunity to help teach a nutrition class attended by the Dean of the College. Upon graduation in 1942, she was newly married and assisted in the war effort by inspecting radios at a Western Electric factory in Kearny, New Jersey. She soon focused her attention on raising three children and helping her husband with his business. Later she worked in marketing and publicity for a real estate office, while also contributing substantial time and effort to volunteer work. Mrs. Goff and her husband, Sidney, have participated in Alumni trips to places such as Canada, Italy, and Ireland.
Patricia Graham was born in Saluda, South Carolina in 1949. She grew up in Philadelphia and then moved to New Jersey during high school. Dr. Graham graduated from West Side High School in Newark in 1966. She attended Essex County Community College and then Rutgers-Newark, before transferring to Livingston College at Rutgers-New Brunswick. During college, Dr. Graham participated in the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. Majoring in urban studies and secondary education, Dr. Graham graduated from Livingston College in 1972. She went on to earn her Master's degree in education at Antioch College and Ed.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From 1977 to 2013, Dr. Graham served in various positions at East Stroudsburg University, where she is now a professor emeritus.
Mrs. Annette S. Greenblatt was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. She spent the first eight years of her childhood in Philadelphia, and afterward her family moved to Vineland, New Jersey. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, and in the following fall she enrolled in New Jersey College for Women. She studied English and History while in college, and was involved with Jewish and pro-United Nations groups on campus. During her time in college, Mrs. Greenblatt aided the war effort by making bandages for Johnson and Johnson. In 1945, she left college a semester before graduating, and she immediately went to work as a Red Cross aide in hospitals in Atlantic City. Her fiancée returned home from military service in India and Burma and they were married in Philadelphia in 1946. In the years following the war, Mrs. Greenblatt served as the Executive Director of the Cumberland County Federation, and from 1978 to 1992 she served as the National Director of the Women’s Division of the National United Jewish Appeal. She traveled extensively throughout Europe, North Africa, and Israel to raise support for Holocaust survivors and endangered Jewish people.
Ms. Marie Picker Griffin was born in 1919 in New York City. She graduated salutatorian from Westwood High School in June of 1935, and received a scholarship to study at Bergen Junior College in the following fall. Eventually she took night classes so that she could work at a newspaper company during the day to provide an additional income for her struggling family. During the war, Mrs. Picker Griffin volunteered as a Nurse’s Aide and was assigned to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. Later on she worked in a blood bank to provide plasma to wounded veterans. She received a certificate from President Franklin Roosevelt after she had donated one thousand hours of her time to the blood bank. In 1944, she married Westervelt Griffin, and together they raised five children. She resumed her studies after the war, and graduated from University College in 1967. In this interview, she recounts her own experiences as well as those of her husband.
Doreen Hagerty was born in 1935 in Newark, New Jersey. She grew up in the Roseville section of Newark and graduated from Barringer High School. Ms. Hagerty attended Douglass College and participated in a joint program in which she majored in Industrial Engineering at the College of Engineering. After graduating in 1957, Ms. Hagerty lived and worked in Connecticut, California and Nebraska, before eventually settling in Illinois. She earned a master's degree at Northwestern University. Ms. Hagerty enjoyed a career in management engineering in the health care industry.
Rosita Hamiton was born in 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother and maternal grandmother moved from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico to New York in the early 1950s. Her father grew up in Guánica, Puerto Rico and moved to New York City when he was young. Rosita Hamilton spent her childhood and young adult years in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Her mother worked as seamstress and participated in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Her father was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Hamilton attended St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic School and then St. Michael’s High School. She went to Queens College, eventually earning her bachelor’s degree in 1986. She was active in the women's movement, joining the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1972, and in the anti-Vietnam War movement. She began her teaching career at Catholic schools in New York City. After moving to New Jersey, she taught at St. Helena in Edison and then spent the rest of her career teaching history at Linwood Middle School and in the high school in North Brunswick. She was a member of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). Since retiring in 2016, she has stayed active in the women's movement and in organizations such as Indivisible and the ACLU.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bacon Harris was born in Millville, New Jersey in 1923. She graduated from Millville High School and received a state scholarship to the five year Army nursing program. She spent the first two years of the program attending classes at the New Jersey College for Women, while the remainder of the program was spent working in hospitals. During the summer vacations, Mrs. Bacon Harris contributed to the war effort by working in a parachute factory in Hightstown, NJ. After graduating from the nursing program in 1947, she worked at Presbyterian Hospital in Pennsylvania. In 1949, she married a veteran of the Second World War, and soon afterward she accepted a job at the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital. In addition to raising four children, Mrs. Bacon Harris volunteered at her local library as well as on the board of directors for the Burlington County Public Health Nursing Agency.
Mrs. Judith Harper Hassert was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1921. She attended school in Highland Park, and as a child she was active in Girl Scouts and church youth groups. In 1939, she graduated from high school and received a vocal scholarship from the Federation of Women’s Clubs to attend the New Jersey College for Women. While in NJC she studied Music and Library Science and was involved in the chapel choir. She graduated from NJC in 1943, and in the following year she married her husband who was in the service. Mrs. Hassert worked as a librarian for the Army during the war. She also worked at the Rutgers library before raising her two children. While her children were in school she worked as a substitute teacher, and she enjoyed the work so much that she pursued her teaching certification, eventually working as an elementary school teacher for twenty years.
Laura Hedley was born in 1963 in Montclair, New Jersey. Ms. Hedley's grandparents, Catherine and Frederick Ingram, worked as staff for the Muñoz family, who owned Kip's Castle from 1926 to 1975, along with another property on Highland Avenue. From 1945 to 1971, Catherine Ingram worked as a private duty nurse for the Muñoz family, and Fred worked as a caretaker of the grounds. They lived in Kip's Castle with their children, Nancy Ingram Nash, who is Laura Hedley's mother, and Fred Ingram, who eventually took over as groundskeeper for Kip's Castle. Growing up in Montclair, Ms. Hedley spent time at Kip's Castle with her grandparents. Ms. Hedley attended Montclair State and lived in Toms River, until relocating to Maryland. In the interview, Ms. Hedley discusses her recollections of family members and time spent at Kip's Castle.
Mrs. Joan Yunker Higgins was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1922. She graduated from Lacordaire Academy in 1940, and then enrolled in the College of St. Elizabeth to study Home Economics. After a year at St. Elizabeth’s, Mrs. Higgins transferred to secretarial school at what is now Berkeley College. In 1943, she graduated from Berkeley and married a serviceman. During the war, she worked as a secretary for the Newark Evening News, and she also volunteered with the Auxiliary at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Montclair. Her husband returned home safely and together they raised eight children.
Marge Howes was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended the University of Cincinnati, during which time she became part of the Chi Omega sorority, majored in physical education, and minored in health and biology. She graduated in 1958 and won the C-Ring for Women’s Leadership Award. In 1958, Howes began working at Douglass College in the Department of Physical and Health Education. She started the varsity sports program and became basketball chair for the Division of Girls and Women's Sports (DGWS). She then became the state’s basketball chair. She later became the basketball chair for the State of Connecticut. Howes was inducted in the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.
Betty Forman Hummel was a lifelong resident of Dunellen. She graduated from Middlebury College in 1940. She worked for the family business, Van Blaricom & Company in Dunellen. She then went into education and spent twenty-three years as a physical education teacher and guidance counselor in the South River and Hunterdon Central School Districts. Betty was married to Nick Hummel for sixty years. Betty died on March 21, 2018 at the age of one hundred.
Mrs. Flora Campbell Jespersen was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1924. She graduated from Misses Anable’s School in 1941, and in the following fall she enrolled in the New Jersey College for Women. While in college she studied History and Political Science, and she was involved in the history and commuter clubs. She also continued to be active in the Girl Scout committee in Highland Park. During this period she contributed to the war effort by making bandages for Johnson and Johnson. She also participated in fundraisers for organizations such as the Red Cross, and in the summers she worked at the PX at Camp Kilmer. She graduated from Rutgers in 1945, and in 1948 she received a Bachelor of Library Science through the Rutgers Library. The following year she married her college sweetheart, and together they raised seven children.
Mrs. Ida Perlmutter Kamich was born in New York City in 1916. She spent her childhood in South River, New Jersey and was active in Girl Scouts. She graduated from South River High School and enrolled in the New Jersey College for Women. She pursued a major in Dietetics and interned at the Philadelphia Jewish Hospital. In 1939, Mrs. Kamich graduated from college, and soon after she found a job at the Trenton State Hospital. She spent a year at the job before taking a Civil Service position as a dietician at Fort Dix. She enlisted in the Army in 1942 in order to continue her job, and soon afterward she was sent to England. She worked in a hospital in Mansfield treating soldiers with special nutritional needs. After leaving England, she traveled to France and then to Belgium. She married shortly after returning home from the war and raised two sons. Mrs. Kamich enrolled in the Rutgers graduate program to receive a teaching certificate, and afterward she taught elementary school in South River.
Mrs. Janice L. Karesh was born in New York City in 1924. She graduated from Weequahic High School in 1941, and in the following fall she enrolled in New Jersey College for Women. She studied Pre-Med and was involved in several campus organizations, including the Curie Society, HEPS (the History, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology club) and a modern dance group. As a student she worked as an assistant instructor in a Rutgers physics lab. Mrs. Karesh graduated from NJC in 1945, and the following year she attended the School of Education at New York University. She received a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Psychology in 1946, and the following year she married at veteran of the Second World War. Mrs. Karesh raised four children in addition to teaching biology and physics. She also served as the Director of Special Education in Beaufort County, South Carolina.
Ann Kelsey was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1946 and grew up in Riverside, California. She graduated from Polytechnic High in 1964 and attended the University of California, Riverside. In her time at UC Riverside, she majored in English and anthropology. After graduating from UC Riverside, she attended UCLA, earning a Master's in Library Science. In 1969-1970, Kelsey served in Vietnam as a civilian for Army Special Services. First, she managed the U.S. Army Headquarters Area Command Library in Saigon, and then she worked at Cam Ranh Bay, overseeing four libraries at Cam Ranh, the Sixth Convalescent Center, Dong Ba Thin and Nha Trang. Later, Kelsey became involved in efforts to help Vietnamese refugees immigrate to the United States. During her career, Kelsey worked at libraries in Elmont and Queensborough, New York and Upper Saddle River and Morris County, New Jersey. She held the position of associate director of the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center at the County College of Morris from 1983 to 2009. She co-founded the company DocuMentors, in addition to consulting for BASF Corporation. She has been active in veterans' organizations and involved in documenting the oral histories of veterans.
Stephanie Kip was born in Ossining, New York in 1954. She is the great granddaughter of Frederic Ellsworth Kip and Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip, who built Kip's Castle between 1902 and 1905 and lived in the castle until 1926. In the interview, she discusses F.E. Kip's business ventures and inspirations for the design of Kip's Castle, which used to be called Kypsburg. She recounts a story told to her by her father, Ruloff Frederic, Jr., who visited Kip's Castle as a very young child, and traces the history of the ownership of the property. Stephanie Kip visited Kip's Castle during the ownership of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. She was married at Kip's Castle in 2010 and has visited many times.
Ruth Anne Koenick was born in 1949 in Washington, D.C. During her childhood, she attended Rock Creek Forest Elementary, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, before attending Bethesda Chevy Chase High School from 1963 to 1967. Ms. Koenick attended the University of Maryland, where she co-founded what is credited as being the first rape crisis center on a college campus in the United States. With a major in criminology and a minor in psychology, she graduated in 1972. She then went to graduate school, first at the University of Maryland and then at George Washington University, where she earned a master's degree in student affairs in 1976. Over the course of her career, Ms. Koenick has held numerous positions, including working as a social worker in the Department of Social Services at Roosevelt Hospital in Metuchen and coordinator at the Rape Crisis Intervention Center at Roosevelt Hospital. In 1991, she became the director of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (formerly Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance) at Rutgers University. During her time as director, she worked as a member of the ACPA Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence in Higher Education in 2014, as well as developing a statewide Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights in New Jersey. Ms. Koenick retired in 2016. She has published numerous works and has taught classes at Rutgers in the Graduate School of Education, School of Social Work and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies.
Mrs. Barbara Waters Kramer was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1922. Throughout her childhood, she was very active in Girl Scouts, and in high school she participated in yearbook club. She graduated from Cranford High School at the age of sixteen, and she received a state scholarship to attend the New Jersey College for Women. She pursued a degree in Journalism, and she was involved in the campus newspaper in addition to being the chairman of Jameson and Gibbons dormitories. In 1942, she graduated from NJC and married her college sweetheart, who was sent to fight in the Pacific theater. During the war, Mrs. Kramer worked in the public relations department of Eastern Aircraft in Linden, NJ. She also volunteered as a nurse’s aide at a hospital in Rahway, NJ. She raised four children after her husband returned home from the war. He made a career out of the Marine Corps, so the family was stationed at several bases all over the world, including Berlin and Taiwan. Mrs. Kramer worked for fifteen years as a librarian in Basking Ridge, and she also ran for office as a committee person in Basking Ridge. Her husband was director of Alumni Affairs at Rutgers, and together they were involved in many alumni events and activities.
Debora "Debbie" La Torre was born in 1982 in Lima, Peru. In the mid-1980s, her father immigrated to the United States, and she and her mother soon followed. The family settled initially in East Newark and then in Kearny. La Torre graduated from Kearny High School in 2000 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After basic training, she was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii with the 58th Military Police Company as a combat medic. In 2004, she deployed with her unit to Afghanistan to Bagram Air Base, where she rotated between serving as a combat medic on patrols, at the combat support hospital, and in the detention center that held enemy prisoners of war. Following her deployment in Afghanistan, La Torre was stationed in Germany with the 67th Combat Support Hospital in Würzburg and then the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Kaiserslautern, during which time she worked in the emergency room at the military hospital at Landstuhl. After deciding to get out of the Army, La Torre went to nursing school on the GI Bill at Bloomfield College and then got her Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN). She joined the Army Nurse Corps Reserves and currently serves, at the rank of captain, as a medical readiness officer. She is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC). During nursing school, La Torre became involved in the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). In 2020, she became president of the New Jersey Chapter of NAHN.
Barbara A. Lee is a Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). Born in 1949, she grew up in New Jersey. She went to the University of Vermont, where she majored in English and joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. After graduating in 1971, she went to graduate school at Ohio State University, earning a M.A. in English in 1972 and Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1977. She attended law school at the Georgetown University Law Center, receiving a J.D. in 1982. Dr. Lee became a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers in 1982. In 1984, she joined the faculty in the Department of Industrial Relations and Human Resources at SMLR. Over the years, she has taught classes on employment law, labor law and higher education law. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Law of Higher Education, A Legal Guide for Student Affairs Professionals, and Academics in Court: The Consequences of Faculty Discrimination Litigation. She has served as department chair, associate dean, associate provost and dean, as well as director of the Center for Women and Work. In 2015, she became the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, a post she held until June 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, she worked with others in the Emergency Operations Center to manage the University's response and shift to remote instruction.
Mrs. S. Carole Levin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918. She graduated from High School in 1933, and afterward she attended Brooklyn College for two years. She attended secretarial school and took a job working in the office of a credit manager. In 1942, Mrs. Levin applied to the Women’s Army Corps, and she spent some time in the United States before being stationed in England for a year-and-a-half. After the war, she attended Queen’s College for a semester before going back to work. In 1947, she married a veteran of the Second World War, and in the years following she focused on raising her two children. She returned to the workforce in 1968, when she accepted a position at Rutgers that would end up lasting thirteen years. She took classes at University College while employed by Rutgers, and graduated in 1978 with degrees in English Literature and Hebraic Studies. She has been involved with Hadassah since the age of fourteen, and she has also taught people how to read and write through the Literacy Volunteers of Middlesex.
Mrs. Gertrude Jay Lewis was born in South Orange, New Jersey in 1929. While in junior high and high school, she volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol and learned to recognize various types of planes. She also contributed to the war effort by volunteering to sew for the Red Cross. In 1947, Mrs. Lewis graduated from Columbia High School, and in the following fall she attended the University of Cincinnati. After three years she transferred to Rutgers-Newark where she pursued a degree in personnel management. She married her husband, Ed, in 1950, and for a period of time she focused on raising her three daughters. In the 1960s, she enrolled in a Rutgers program titled “Re-Training in Mathematics for Women,” sponsored by the Ford Foundation. Mrs. Lewis worked within the Rutgers-New Brunswick computer center for over twenty years, and at the time she retired she was Deputy Associate Director of the center. In addition to travelling and spending time with her family, Mrs. Lewis has written two books on the genealogy of her family and her husband’s family.
Taylor Lorchak is a registered nurse, combat medic in the Army National Guard, and alumna of the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. Born in Bristol, Pennsylvania in 1994, Lorchak grew up in Levittown, Philadelphia and Glassboro, New Jersey. Homeschooled during her youth, she trained as a musician and played the French horn at the Settlement Music School and in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. She attended The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and majored in performance. Influenced by her brother and sister-in-law, who are nurses, she decided that she wanted pursue an accelerated second degree nursing program and, while an undergraduate at TCNJ, started taking nursing prerequisites. After graduating with a B.A. from TCNJ in 2016, she enlisted in the Army National Guard. She went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, completing the 68W Combat Medic course. She served as a noncommissioned officer in the 250th Brigade Support Battalion, Charlie Company, and worked as an emergency medical technician in civilian life. In 2019, she began the fifteen-month-long accelerated nursing degree program at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. During her last semester in nursing school, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Lorchak experienced the shift to remote instruction as a student. At the same time, her National Guard unit was activated as a part of New Jersey's crisis response, and she deployed to the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home, where she served as a medic. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers-Camden in 2020 and soon after became a registered nurse. Currently, she serves in the National Guard in Pennsylvania and works as a nurse at WellSpan Health.
Rebecca Lubetkin was born in 1938. She grew up in Kenilworth and Millburn, New Jersey. She received her B.A. at Barnard College in 1960 and master's degree in political science at Rutgers in 1961, after which she worked as a political science instructor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics until 1964. In 1975, Lubetkin returned to Rutgers, where she founded and directed the Training Institute for Sex Desegregation of the Public Schools, which later became known as the Consortium for Educational Equity. Lubetkin and her staff developed training programs to assist schools in implementing gender equity in accordance with Title IX and New Jersey statutes. From 1993 to 2000, she also served as the associate director of equity of the Rutgers Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education. Lubetkin is a Professor Emerita at Rutgers University. In 1971, she became active in the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was a member of the Essex County and Morris County Chapters of NOW. In 1995, she served as a delegate to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She hosted New Directions for Women, a television program produced by Morris County NOW. She co-chairs the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest and serves as a national board member of the Veteran Feminists of America. Lubetkin is featured in Feminists Who Changed America, edited by Barbara Love. She and her husband have two daughters.
Adrienne Abramson Mandel was born in Irvington, New Jersey, in 1936. She grew up in Hillside, New Jersey, and attended Hillside High School. Ms. Mandel devoted much of her youth to the B'nai B'rith Girls, one of the youth arms of the B'nai B'rith Jewish service organization. In 1954, Ms. Mandel enrolled in Rutgers-Newark to study pre-law. She graduated in 1958 and married her husband, Manny, in November of that year while also working as a parole officer in Camden. By the early 1960s, Ms. Mandel had moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and raised her children while working part-time in Detroit and doing volunteer work for the League of Women Voters in Cleveland. After Ms. Mandel's husband finished graduate school, he was offered a job with the National Office of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization in Washington D.C. In 1972, Ms. Mandel and her family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland. Adrienne Mandel began her political career in Washington, DC, after moving to Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1972. In the following few years, Ms. Mandel started working for various federally-funded civil service departments in Montgomery County. She had gotten a job at the Holiday Park Senior Center, where she worked with the recreation center programs for senior citizens, until moving to a position in the Office of State Affairs in Montgomery County. In October of 1984, Ms. Mandel began her work as a lobbyist in the Office of State Affairs, where she worked for ten years, aiding in supporting the State Delegates in Annapolis with department research. She would go on to run as a Democrat for one of the Delegate seats of Montgomery County in 1994. She was elected and built a distinguished career. She became President of the Women's Caucus a few years later, dedicating herself to women's issues and community advocacy. In 1997, Ms. Mandel pioneered a new driver's licensing law for the State of Maryland, which extended the requirements to earn a driver's license. Her work on this new law gave way to other states passing similar laws in 1997. She also contributed to solving Maryland's nursing crisis, crafting legislation to give the hospitals the nurses they desperately needed and expanding Maryland's healthcare benefits. Ms. Mandel retired in November of 2015. She participated in the Women's March in 2017 with her daughter and continues to express her support for women's issues to this day.
Lois Manning was born in western Pennsylvania and served as a nurse during the Second World War. After the war, she lived in Annandale, New Jersey (since 1949), and traveled extensively across the world.
Edie Meeks was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1944. She attended Saint Mary's School of Nursing, a part of what is now the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. After graduating in 1965, she joined the Frontier Apostles missionaries and volunteered at a local hospital in British Columbia. In 1967, Edie moved to Los Angeles and became immersed in the counterculture. Meeks joined the Army Nurses Corps and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. She went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, worked at Fort Ord in California, and volunteered to go to Vietnam. From July 1968 to January 1969, Meeks worked as an Army nurse at the Third Field Hospital in Saigon in the intensive care recovery unit. From January 1969 to July 1969, Meeks was stationed at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. She first worked in intensive care recovery and then in the medical unit, treating soldiers suffering from malaria, fevers and other illnesses. After returning from Vietnam, she worked at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis-McChord. Meeks has become an advocate for the recognition of women veterans. She has worked with the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation. Headed by Diane Carlson Evans, the foundation succeeded in the establishment of the Vietnam Women's Memorial, a bronze statue designed by Glenna Goodacre, on November 11, 1993.
Mrs. Moncrief was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1921. She graduated from Bridgeton High School and received a state scholarship to attend New Jersey College. She studied English and History and was involved in many clubs, including Spanish Club and the Library Club. She graduated from New Jersey College in 1943, and shortly afterward she married her college sweetheart, who was sent to fight in the Pacific theater of the war. Mrs. Moncrief was hired to teach English in her former high school, and she had the experience of teaching Japanese-American children who were uprooted from their homes in California and sent to internment camps in Cumberland County. Her husband returned from the war in 1946, and together they raised four children.
Mrs. June McCormack Moon was born in Lakewood, New Jersey in 1929. As a young girl, she aided the war effort through her Girl Scout division by rolling bandages for the Red Cross and learning to spot enemy planes. She graduated from Hampton High School in 1946, and in the following fall she enrolled in the New Jersey College for Women. She spent a year at NJC studying Chemistry and Dramatic Art, and she was also involved in the dance and drama clubs. The following year Mrs. Moon applied for a nurse training program at Lutheran Memorial Hospital in Newark, and she was awarded a scholarship after receiving the highest entrance exam marks in the program’s history. She ended the nursing program a year later when she married her college sweetheart, Calvin Moon. She raised four children while also attending classes at Trenton State, and in 1967 she graduated with a degree in Education. She taught biology for two years, and then worked as an assistant in her husband’s veterinary hospital. She then became an agent for the Securities and Exchange Commission at New York Life for nine years. She currently works as an artist and is also the membership chairman of Soroptimist International.
Mary B. Moore was born in 1923 in Abington, Pennsylvania. She grew up and attended school in the same town. After high school, she attended the Pierce Business School in Philadelphia while also working for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company as a secretary. From 1949-1981, she was employed at the Cranbury Post Office. Mary was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a fraternal organization connected to the Masonic Order.
Ms. Edna M. Newby was born in 1910 in Bronx, New York. She attended Leonia high school and went on to study at NJC where she graduated with a degree in math in 1931. After college, she went on to become director of a USO club in Jacksonville, North Carolina near Camp Lejeune. After her work at the USO, Ms. Newby came back to NJC and became the Director of Admissions. She continued to work at NJC for thirty-seven years until she retired in 1972.
Arlene Nora was born in 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Growing up in Highland Park, Ms. Nora attended Irving School and Highland Park High School. Ms. Nora spent her career working at Rutgers University, in the offices of the Football Hall of Fame, Graduate Admissions, and the Institute for Research on Women (IRW).
Mrs. Miriam Null was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Lafayette High school in Brooklyn. In 1942, Mrs. Null went on to attend NJC, where she majored in History/Political Science and graduated in 1946. Afterwards, Mrs. Null attended Columbia University Law School where she graduated in 1949 with her law degree.
Ferris Olin earned her undergraduate degree at Douglass College and graduate degrees at Rutgers University. In 1976, Dr. Olin became a faculty member at the Art Library at Rutgers-New Brunswick. From 1985 to 1994, she held the position of Executive Officer of both the Blanche, Edith and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women's Studies and the Institute for Research on Women (IRW). In the mid-1990s, Dr. Olin returned to Rutgers University Libraries as an associate professor at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library. From 1994 to 2014, she served as the co-curator of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series. She founded the Margery Somers Foster Center at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library. Along with Judy Brodsky, Dr. Olin founded and directed the Institute for Women and Art (IWA), which is now called the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities and is part of the IWL consortium. Dr. Olin is a Distinguished Professor Emerita at Rutgers University.
Mrs. Mary Hance Owen was born in Long Branch New Jersey in 1920. She attended Freehold High School from 1933-1937. Upon graduating she attended NJC and majored in Journalism. After her graduation in 1941, she worked for Edna Newby in the alumnae office of NJC. When her husband was shipped overseas during World War II, Mrs. Owen began working for the Army despite her husband belonging to the Navy. She worked in Consolidated Mess and Training and Testing. After her husband passed his Foreign Service Exam, Mrs. Owen was allowed to travel with him. The couple were sent to the Dominican Republic, Finland, Moscow, Nuremberg, and Yugoslavia.
Marjorie N. Pease was born in 1925 in Deloraine, Manitoba (Canada). She attended Espanola High School from 1938-1942. After high school she worked at a war production facility in Toronto. In 1944, despite some resistance from her family, she enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. Pease completed her basic training at Kitchener, Ontario, and then was sent to Army Depot Number Two in Toronto which was a troop processing center. She received her discharge in January 1946 and went on to use her veterans benefits for education in business machine training courses at Burroughs. After coming to the United States, she went to night school at Wayne State University in Detroit for two semesters. She finished her degree by attending night school at NJC in 1971 and graduated in 1977 from the Newark Campus while also working at CPA firm Besser, Colner, Herbs, and Lustbader. Ms. Pease went on to join the Peace Corps. At the time of her interview she was being sent to Kazakhstan to teach Accounting & Business.
Marion Pinsdorf was born in Teaneck, New Jersey in 1932, living there during the Great Depression and World War II. She attended Drew University, majoring in History and Economics, before becoming a reporter with The Record, an area newspaper. Afterward, she worked in journalism and education, and later moved into senior positions in public relations for firms such as Borden, Hill & Knowlton, Textron, and CIGNA, among others. Pinsdorf would go on to earn her doctorate in Brazilian Studies at NYU, and taught at various universities during her career.
Madai Cruz Poole was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1974. Her mother was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico, and her father was born in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Her parents moved to the New Jersey-New York area when they were young, eventually settling in New Brunswick. Her father worked for Suburban Transit, and her mother worked in the Public Defender's Office. Growing up in New Brunswick, Poole attended the parochial schools Sacred Heart and St. Peter's Elementary School. For high school, she went to Rutgers Prep. Poole went to Rutgers College and double majored in Administration of Justice and Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies. She participated in Rutgers Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña and spent time in Latin Images Living-Learning Community. After working for many years in the pharmaceutical industry in marketing, she became the department administrator for Latino and Caribbean Studies in the Rutgers School of Arts and Science. In the interview, Poole discusses being an EOF student at Rutgers and then working as an EOF counselor, organizing support for her extended family in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, being a cancer survivor, and returning to Rutgers to work in the department from which she graduated.
Rebecca Reynolds was born and raised in Washington, DC. She earned her undergraduate degree in English at Vassar College. She received a M.A. in English at Rutgers and MFA at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she studied creative writing and poetry and won the Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry. While a graduate student at Rutgers, she worked at the Institute for Research on Women during the summertime. She is the author of two books of poetry, Daughter of the Hangnail (1997), which won the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and The Bovine Two-Step (2002). She has spent her career at Rutgers dedicated to women's education as an advisor/administrator at Douglass and an instructor in English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has been involved in LGBTQIA+ advocacy on campus, serving as a liaison and helping to found the organization Q-mmunity. She worked as the Assistant Director of the Douglass Scholars Program and the Mabel Smith Douglass Honors Program from 1991 to 2000 and as Assistant Dean of Academic Services from 2000 to 2007. Currently, Reynolds serves at Douglass Residential College as the Assistant Dean and Director of Mentoring and Advising at the BOLD Center (Building Opportunities for Leadership and Career Development) and as the Director of the Mary I. Bunting Program for Returning Women Students.
Mrs. Virginia Rendall Reynolds was born in 1922 in Norfolk, Virginia. She attended high school in Highland Park, NJ, before she enrolled at NJC in 1939, where she majored in English and Library Science. After college she worked in the Trenton Public Library. Shortly after, her and her husband were sent to Los Alamos to work on the Manhattan Project. Mrs. Reynolds’ job was to catalogue the papers in the library while her husband worked elsewhere. Upon returning to New Jersey, Mrs. Reynolds went back to Rutgers and participated in courses for librarians to update their knowledge. She went on to become a librarian at the Princeton Day School from 1962-1987.
Born in 1947, Mary Jo Rice-Mahoney grew up in a military family. Majoring in nursing in college, she joined the Army Student Nurse Program and then served in the Army Nurse Corps. From March 1969 to March 1970, she served as a nurse in the intensive care unit and recovery room at the 67th Evacuation Hospital at Qui Nhon. After her service in Vietnam, Rice-Mahoney briefly went into civilian nursing but then rejoined the Army and went on active duty for a number of years. She then worked at veterans hospitals in New Jersey and Connecticut, while serving in the Army Nurse Corps Reserve at the 322nd General Hospital in New Jersey. She retired as a colonel. In 1993, she went to the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial. Rice-Mahoney is a member of the Union County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Ms. Mary Robinson went to Princeton High School and then attended Morris County Community College for two years (1938-40). Mrs. Robinson worked in the War Manpower Commission during World War II, where she transferred people from non-war production to war production centered jobs. She enlisted in the Women’s’ Army Corps and completed her basic training at Fort Des Moines. Her first assignment was at Camp Robinson, Arkansas and she was assigned to the Camp hospital unit despite having no prior nursing experience. Ms. Robinson was then sent to the Pacific, and worked on mailing out the Daily Pacifican newspaper. Mrs. Robinson was stationed close to Leyte in the Pacific, where she had contact with the Filipinos. She wrote a guide book on Manila to show the troops what was there and what had been destroyed. She stayed in Manila until the war ended. Once the war was over, Ms. Robinson used the GI Bill and attended the London School of Economics and The University of Chicago. After her schooling, she worked with The American Council on Education, Industrial Organization Counselors, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Mrs. Lita Saldarini was born into an Italian-American family in 1926 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan before she settled in Union City, New Jersey. Mrs. Saldarini grew up during the Great Depression, and was recruited for the Manhattan Project after her senior year in high school. She worked in the physics laboratory receiving department for the Manhattan Project at Columbia University until the war ended. Mrs. Saldarini went on to work for General Motors from 1947-1983.
Mrs. Helen Marko Salerno was born in 1926 in Stirling, New Jersey. She grew up in Stirling where he father owned a silk mill that was greatly affected by the Great Depression and then the war. She attended Morristown High School and after graduating, went to work for the Lyons VA Hospital.
Akiko Seitelbach was born in 1922, in a section of Shanghai that, at the time, was a colony of Japan. Adopted by her aunt and uncle when she was just five months old, Akiko grew up in Nagasaki. She graduated high school in 1938, just as World War II was starting in Japan. During the war, she worked in the supply office of Mitsubishi Electrical Works. On August 9, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped, Akiko was about 1.3 miles away from ground zero. She felt firsthand the destruction and desperation the Japanese people were left with in the days following and after the war ended. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, Akiko became an interpreter for the US Marines and then the American Army of Occupation in Nagasaki. After marrying an American soldier of the 34th Infantry Regiment in 1953, she then came to America and lived at an Army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. Between the years 1955 and 1963, Akiko lived in Puerto Rico, Staten Island, then, Germany as her husband's station assignments changed. She worked as a receptionist for Fuji Bank, Ltd, a dress shop manager in Puerto Rico, in the Army library in Germany and for Kanebo USA, Inc. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Akiko moved back to Brooklyn where she lived and worked for about thirty-five years until she and her husband moved to Monroe Township, NJ.
Ms. Jean O'Grady Sheehan was born in 1922 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She attended New Brunswick High School and furthered her education at NJC where she majored in Economics and minored in Sociology. While in college, she was involved in student government. After finishing college, she joined the Navy and worked as a recruiter. She married her husband, a pilot, and she went to live in Venezuela when he was stationed there. Upon returning to the United States in 1951, she attended Fairfield University.
Deborah Shuford was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1959. Her parents grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, before moving to Newark. For most of her childhood, her family lived in the Weequahic section. Deborah attended Chancellor Elementary School and Arts High School in Newark. During one summer in high school, Deborah attended the Technical Enrichment Program at Stevens Tech in Hoboken. From 1977 to 1981, Deborah went to Douglass College. She began as an engineering major and switched to journalism and English literature. Deborah earned her bachelor's degree in the Douglass College Class of 1981. Deborah worked for many years in the communications field. She interned at WOR-AM talk radio. She worked at ABC Radio and Television Network and then at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). In 2001, Deborah began studying for her master's degree at American University. After earning her master's in film in 2003, Deborah worked as a professor at institutions of higher education, including McDaniel College, Howard University and Rutgers University, where she developed a variety of courses in film studies and African American studies. She also worked as a producer, writer and documentary filmmaker. In addition to being an active alumna at Rutgers-New Brunswick, Deborah has volunteered at the New Jersey Tree Foundation and as a career coach at New Start.
Ms. Alice Talbot Sofin was born in 1916 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She attended NJC at the early age of sixteen with a double major in English and German with an education minor. After college Ms. Sofin went to work in West Trenton at the State Home for Girls. After her time there, she went back to school to obtain her elementary certificate and teach in Warren, New Jersey.
Tilly Spetgang was born in New York City and became a reporter for various newspapers over her long career in the industry. She was involved heavily in the environmental movement, especially with disseminating information to non-experts about how solar power worked.
Karen Spindel was born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey. She and her family lived in Newark until Karen was four, and after her family moved, Karen grew up in Clifton and then in Passaic. From 1965-1969, Karen attended George Washington University and majored in mechanical engineering. She spent her career as an engineer, working for Robins Engineers and Constructors, Hewitt-Robins, Western Electric and AT&T. A life-long feminist, she joined the Passaic County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1972. She is a board member of the Veteran Feminists of America. Now retired, Karen lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
With Puerto Rican roots, Candy Torres grew up in New York City and New Jersey. A first-generation college student, she attended Douglass College, graduating in the Class of 1976. She spent her career working in the space industry, beginning with a job at Princeton University's Astrophysics Department on the OAO-3 Copernicus satellite project. After moving to Houston, she worked at McDonnell-Douglass in Mission Operation Directorate (MOD) at NASA-Johnson Space Center, computerizing Mission Control operations in the Space Shuttle program. Later in her career, she worked in configuration management for the International Space Station (ISS) with Ron Croston & Associates and in the Operations Planning group in MOD for the ISS with Barrios Technology. She has forty-four years of experience in informational technology as a software engineer, digital video producer, image editor, 3D designer, and more. Since 2006, Torres has been self-employed as a computer expert, speaker, author, researcher and artist.
Mrs. Anne Moreau Thomas was born in 1930 in Trenton New Jersey. She attended Flemington High School from 1943-1947 before she entered Middlebury College. She graduated from college in 1951 with a major in home economics and as a sister of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Her father was an air raid warden and also a member of the Selective Service board. Mrs. Thomas has served on the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors at Rutgers University.
Ms. Pearl P. Thompson was born in 1920 in Irvington, New Jersey. At the age of five, Ms. Thompson’s family moved to France. After growing up in Paris her family returned to Union, New Jersey. She attended Union High School from 1935-1937, and then enrolled in NJC where she majored in journalism. After graduating from NJC in 1941, Ms. Thompson joined the Navy and worked for the State Department. Later, as a journalist, she lived in Genoa, Italy, London, England, and Zurich, Switzerland.
Dr. Mercedes Valle was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her father moved to Connecticut to work in the tobacco industry, and later, when she was six, she moved with her mother and two siblings and joined her father in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up in Downtown Newark in the late 1950s and 1960s, she went to public schools and to Catholic School for two years. In the interview, she describes the challenges of learning English, adapting to the culture, experiencing discrimination in the predominantly Italian area, and connecting with the few Latino families in her neighborhood. She was drawn to St. Columba Church, where she became involved in youth activities. As a teenager, she worked part-time jobs. After graduating from high school, she worked as a secretary, until a co-worker encouraged her to go to Essex County Community College. Then, through ASPIRA, she transferred to Livingston College at Rutgers University. At Livingston, she connected with Puerto Rican students and professors. She became a student-activist in the Puerto Rican Student Organization. She joined Guazabara, a theater troupe that performed plays about issues affecting Puerto Ricans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She was active in La Casa de Don Pedro, the community-based organization founded by Ramon Rivera in Newark. Following graduation from Livingston College in 1973, she continued her education at Seton Hall and the University of Massachusetts, earning her doctorate. She spent her career as a school psychologist. She has been active in relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Ms. Helen M. Walkinshaw was born in 1922 in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Dunellen High School from 1936-1940. After high school, Ms. Walkinshaw took a job as executive secretary for the British ministry in New York City. Ms. Walkinshaw enlisted in the Navy in November 1943 and worked at the hydrographic office in Washington. Ms. Walkinshaw was determined to finish her education and attended NJC. After her college education, Ms. Walkinshaw was reclassified in 1964 and was a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories.
Ms. Margaret Harriet Waugh grew up in Newark, New Jersey. She attended South Side High and then went on to study at NJC, where she majored in Education. She then changed career paths and became involved in the sciences. After college, she enlisted in the Navy and completed boot camp at Hunter College. She served in the WAVES as a Hospital Corps worker in a Navy hospital during World War II.
Ms. Dorothy Salkin Welles was born in 1918, in Oak Tree, New Jersey. She attended Highland Park Junior High School and then New Brunswick High School. She went on to further her education at NJC majoring in Home Economics with a focus in Nutrition and Diet Therapy, and graduated in 1941. Ms. Welles used her Nutrition and Diet Therapy degree when she was employed at Camp Kilmer, treating Axis prisoners of war.