Social and Cultural History

Women's History

The Rutgers Oral History Archives interviews women who lived through and helped shape the historic events and movements of the last century.  Read more about their lives and contributions to our society.

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

    Description: 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.
  • Alice Jennings Archibald

    Description: Mrs. Archibald worked as an air raid warden and USO volunteer during World War II.  She was the first African-American woman to graduate from the Rutgers Gradaute School of Education.
  • Catherine Ballantine

    Description: Ms. Ballantine was a student, a war worker and a USO volunteer during WWII.
  • Anne Bartholomew

    Description: During the Second World War, Mrs. Bartholomew was a war worker at Turner Tubes in Highland Park, NJ, and Richardson Battery in New Brunswick, NJ.
  • Nancy Topping Bazin

    Description: 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. Dr. Bazin 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. Her paintings and drawings, along with scholarly publications, are showcased on her website www.nancytoppingbazin.com
  • Carmela Becerra

    Description: 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. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Bertha Bell

    Description: Mrs. Bell worked in a USO in Indianapolis during WWII.
  • Pratibha Bhat

    Description:  Prathiba Bhat was born in Belgaum, India (the Karnataka state) in 1972. Her parents met through an arranged marriage and were also well educated. Born in the small village of Honnavar, her father grew up with no electricity, stores, phones and radios. He often walked barefoot to school and had to draw water out of wells. Despite these circumstances, her father attended college and majored in law. Not only was he a well-read man, but he was a philosopher and educator. He worked as an attorney for forty years and later retired as the principal of a law college, where he previously worked as a professor. He later became a judge for the people's court and led forums against corruption. Bhat's mother was born in Belgaum and, like her husband, was also well educated. She received a Bachelor of Arts and was a devoted activist. During her college years, Bhat's mother attended rallies in favor of Belgaum falling under the jurisdiction of Maharashtra, in what is known as the Belgaum Border Dispute and continues to this day. Since her mother was Marathi speaking, she wanted Belgaum to join the Marathi speaking Maharashtra state instead of joining the Kannada speaking Karnataka state. While attending these rallies, Bhat's mother was tear gassed. During her childhood, Bhat lived in the suburbs of Belgaum and often visited her mother's family who lived nearby. Bhat's family celebrated many holidays and festivals such as Diwali. Growing up, Bhat had a number of Christian and Muslims friends and celebrated holidays such as Eid and Christmas alongside her friends. Moreover, Belgaum was an educational hub containing many schools and colleges. However, the Belgaum Border Dispute made it dangerous to attend any linguistic majority school. Thus, Bhat's parents enrolled her in a Catholic school, where she studied English, Kannada and Hindi and was involved in theater. Despite attending a Catholic school, the unrest that resulted from the border dispute lead to several school closures, including Bhat's Catholic school. Bhat attended Karnataka University, a university which all areas of the country attended. She majored in computer science and met her husband, who was also a classmate of hers. After college, Bhat worked as a computer teacher for Tata Unisys in Puni. In 1996, a dispute with the Tamil Nadu state over river water resulted in Bhat's neighborhood not having running water for eight days. Friends from the United States visited during this time and, witnessing this situation, convinced her to move to the United States. Initially, her husband arrived in the United States alone, and Bhat followed three months after. The couple's early life in New Jersey was difficult. Moving to a foreign country was not only a cultural shock, but it was also rife with financial difficulties. The couple could not afford much furniture for their apartment and could only afford one car. Over time, Bhat overcame these challenges. Citigroup employed her husband in New York City, and Bhat received a job from ITM Institute in Edison, New Jersey as a computer teacher. In 2004, she began working for AVTECH Institute of Technology. She continues to work for AVTECH, where she is involved in teaching the workforce of New Jersey computer skills and general job skills. While living in the United States, Bhat has remained connected to her Indian roots. Her family continues to celebrate Indian holidays and visit the local Hindu temple. Her oldest daughter has studied traditional Indian dance forms. In addition, Bhat remains connected with a large South Asian community in the New Brunswick area. Furthermore, she has been involved in charitable work. She has worked for Hidden Gems and also for Children International, where, alongside her father, she provides educational support for young children in India. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Adaline Bloom

    Description: Mrs. Bloom worked for the Office of War Information during WWII.
  • Virginia Boardman

    Description: Dr. Boardman worked at DuPont during WWII before joining the Cadet Nurses' Corps at Case Western Reserve.
  • Marie Anderson Borbely

    Description: Mrs. Borbely was a high school student and undergraduate at the New Jersey College for Women during World War II. Married to a US Marine Corps officer, she spent part of the war as a member of the military dependants' community.
  • Brigid Brown

    Description: Ms. Brown was a child living in Great Britain and India during WWII.
  • Mary Lou Norton Busch

    Description: Ms. Busch was a student at New Jersey College for Women before she left school to work as a chemist in a Manhattan Project plant (Houdaille Hershey, Decatur, IL) in WWII. She later returned to Douglass College to earn her degree in 1982.
  • Alma Geist Cap

    Description: Ms. Cap served with the Red Cross in the PTO during World War II, organizing R&R for the Armed Forces.
  • Donna Chlopak

    Description: Dr. Donna Chlopak was born in 1950 in Trenton, New Jersey. She grew up in Hightstown, attending Walter C. Black Elementary School and Hightstown High School. After graduating from high school in 1968, she went to Douglass College and majored in psychology. At Douglass, she started the Big Brother/Big Sister pairing program between Rutgers and Douglass freshmen and upper classmen. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1972. Chlopak attended graduate school at Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology in 1976. She began her career as a professor at Seton Hall University, teaching management for three years. She then taught marketing at Baruch College for two years. From 1981 to 1985, she worked as a staff manager at AT&T. She served as a vice president at Citibank from 1985 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995, she ran her own consulting business called Reactions Inc. From 1995 to 2009, Chlopak worked at Gallup Consulting as a developmental marketing leader. Since 2009, she has worked as the managing director of Business Reactions, in addition to teaching courses at Montclair State University, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Stevens and Kean. Chlopak is the author of Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century: Navigating Career Waters to Find and Land a Choice Position.
  • Nancy Squire Christensen

    Description: Mrs. Christensen, a Newark, NJ, native, was an NJC student and IBM employee during WWII.
  • Saskia Leo Cipriani

    Description: 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

    Description:  Elizabeth Hughes Clark was born on January 9, 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

    Description: Cheryl Clarke was born on May 16, 1947 in Washington, D.C. Her father served in the U.S. Army in the Red Ball Express in France after the Allied invasion in June 1944. Growing up in Northwest Washington, D.C., Cheryl attended parochial schools, including Immaculate Conception Academy for high school.  From 1965 to 1969, Cheryl attended Howard University and majored in English. During college, she worked part time at the Washington Post and at a Peace Corps office.  In 1969, Cheryl came to Rutgers-New Brunswick as a graduate student in English. She earned her M.A. in English in 1974. Cheryl taught courses in the Urban University Program and discusses educational opportunity programs in the interview. From 1972 to 1974, she taught courses in the English Department at Rutgers. 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 Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian/Gay Concerns (now called the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities). From 2009 to 2013, Cheryl served as the Dean of Students for Livingston Campus. In 2000, she earned her Ph.D. in English.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 the author of Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (1982); Living as a Lesbian (1986); Humid Pitch (1989); Experimental Love (1993); After Mecca: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement (2005); and The Days of Good Looks: Prose and Poetry, 1980-2005 (2006). From 1981 to 1990, she served as a member of the editorial collective of the feminist literary journal Conditions.  In 2013, Cheryl retired after forty-one years at Rutgers. Cheryl and her partner Barbara Balliet co-own Blenheim Hill Books in Hobart, New York and organize the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers.  
  • Marcia Collins

    Description: Born on August 25, 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.  
  • Jean C. Comeforo

    Description: Mrs. Comeforo was a student and a war worker during WWII.
  • Elizabeth D'Angelo

    Description: 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.Ms. D'Angelo was born in Columbus, Texas in 1942. In the interview, she recalls her family's deep-seated roots in Texas, with ancestry tracing back to General Edward Burleson. Her father, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, served in the U.S. Air Force. Her mother, a "military wife," organized the family's many relocations when her father was given a new assignment. The eldest of four children, she grew up in towns and on bases in Texas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Washington, Newfoundland and Germany. From 1957 to 1961, she spent her high school years in Germany, going to schools in Wiesbaden and then Kaiserslautern.Ms. D'Angelo went to Southwest Texas State College, a public university now known as Texas State University-San Marcos. She studied literature and business and planned on a career as a secretary, one of the career paths available to women at the time. She was a member of Delta Zeta sorority and Angel Flight, the women's auxiliary to Air Force ROTC. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, she recounts the concern about the condition of Texas Governor John Connally, who was in the same car as Kennedy and was wounded, and the realization that Lyndon B. Johnson, a 1930 graduate of Southwest Texas, had ascended to the presidency.Recruited by the government while an undergraduate, Ms. D'Angelo briefly worked as a secretary at a bank and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency, once she had obtained security clearance. She worked as a secretary, first in the typing pool in Washington, D.C., and then in the personnel department in the Clandestine Services Department in the Eastern European Division. Returning to Germany in 1966, she worked at the IG Farben Building in Frankfurt and then at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. While working for the government, she met Nick D'Angelo, her future husband, who had volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War and had been assigned military guard duty for the CIA. They got married at a chapel at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Both of their parents attended the wedding, with Ms. D'Angelo's parents traveling from Madrid, where her father was stationed at the time, and Mr. D'Angelo's flying to Switzerland and meeting their daughter-in-law for the first time.Pregnant with her first child, Ms. D'Angelo returned to the U.S. in 1968, and she and her husband settled in Bayonne, New Jersey, where his family resided. They raised their three children in Bayonne. In 1980, Ms. D'Angelo went back to work at the YWCA in Bayonne and spent ten years working at the front desk and in administrative roles. She then worked at Jersey City State College, now Jersey City State University, until her retirement in 2005. In the interview, she describes the community in Bayonne and events on and after September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked and her husband and son-in-law were working in New York City. The interview was conducted by Ms. D'Angelo's grandson Zach, along with ROHA assistant director Kate Rizzi.Photographs: (top) wedding day, Basel, Switzerland, February 27, 1968; (middle) Nicholas D'Angelo, U.S. Army, 1965-1968; (bottom) the military family in 1945, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
  • Helen T. Dauster

    Description: Mrs. Dauster was a high school and college student at New Jersey College for Women and worked for the US Army Quartermaster Corps during World War II.
  • Betty Davis

    Description: Betty Davis was born on April 17, 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.
  • Kathryn Barber De Mott

    Description: Mrs. De Mott worked as a draftsperson at Eastern Aircraft in Trenton, NJ, during WWII.
  • Gloria Decker

    Description: 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.  
  • Dorothy Dempsey

    Description: Dorothy Dempsey was born on July 10, 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.
  • Pearl Drelich

    Description: Pearl Drelich was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts in 1924, the daughter of Jewish Lithuanian parents.  During World War II, Drelich enlisted in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and served in the medical corps as a nurse in military hospitals across the United States.  During the Korean War, she was briefly called up but was discharged due to pregnancy.  Drelich would raise a family with her husband Arthur until her retirement in New Jersey.
  • Jean Carlough Eschenfelder

    Description: Jean Carlough Eschenfelder was born in 1928 on a farm in Northern New Jersey, growing up in Maywood Township.  She attended New Jersey College for Women (NJC) from 1945 until 1949, majoring in music.  After her undergraduate years, she lived and worked in the Rutgers area while her husband, a Rutgers graduate, attended graduate school.  Her and her family lived in various areas across the East Coast until she moved to California, where she lived and was involved with local organizations. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2014-2015 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Frieda Finklestein Feller

    Description: Mrs. Feller worked for the Office of Censorship in NYC during WWII.
  • Pamela Fessler

    Description: Pamela Fessler was born in 1953 in Teaneck, New Jersey. She grew up in Hillsdale, New Jersey, where she attended St. John the Baptist Elementary School. From 1967 to 1971, she attended high school at Immaculate Heart Academy. Following high school, she 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. (Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/NPR)
  • Dorothy M. Field

    Description: Rev. Field was an undergraduate at NJC during World War II.
  • Eva Fontanez

    Description: 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.Pictured in the photo: Eva Fontanez (front, center), Kevin Rosero (front, right) and students from Orgullo Latino Club attend a Generation 51 march in Washington, DC in support of Puerto Rican statehood. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Nancy Petersen Godfrey

    Description: Ms. Godfrey served in the WAVES at the Wildwood Naval Air Station during World War II.
  • Lucille Miller Goff

    Description: Ms. Miller Goff graduated from the New Jersey College for Women a year after World War II broke out. During the war, she traveled across the country with her husband, who worked in the aircraft industry.
  • Patricia Graham

    Description: Patricia Graham was born in Saluda, South Carolina on March 9, 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.
  • Annette Greenblatt

    Description: Mrs. Greenblatt was a student and war worker during WWII. After the war, she helped Holocaust survivors resettle in S. Jersey.
  • Marie Griffin

    Description: Mrs. Griffin worked as a Red Cross nurse's aide during WWII.
  • Doreen Hagerty

    Description: Doreen Hagerty was born on January 5, 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 Hamilton

    Description: 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. Currently residing in Monroe Township, she previously lived in Piscataway and South Brunswick.
  • Elizabeth Bacon Harris

    Description: Mrs. Harris served as a nurse in the Army in the United States during WWII.
  • Judith Harper Hassert

    Description: Mrs. Hassert worked as a librarian at Camp Kilmer during World War II.
  • Laura Hedley

    Description: 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 her family members and time spent at Kip's Castle.This interview was made possible in part through a grant ROHA received from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
  • Joan Yunker Higgins

    Description: Mrs. Higgins did volunteer work in hospitals on the home front during World War II and relocated to several military bases during the war as a military dependant.
  • Marge Howes

    Description: Marge Howes was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. During her childhood, she went to the local school, Delhi Middle School, and then went to high school, where her experience with sports activities would influence what she wanted to do with her life. After she graduated from high school, she made her decision to go to the University of Cincinnati. During her time there, she became part of the Chi Omega sorority, majored in physical education, and minored in health and biology. She graduated in 1958, on the Dean’s List, and received the C-Ring for Women’s Leadership Award due to her performance in leadership positions. After her graduation, she landed her first job at Douglass College at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she started working in September 1958 in the Department of Physical and Health Education. She started the varsity sports program and, as a result, she went on to coach the women’s basketball team, field hockey team and softball team, which was undefeated for four years. Eventually, she became basketball chair for the Division of Girls and Women's Sports (DGWS) and taught coaches in high schools and colleges. She became the state’s basketball chair. Once she left Rutgers, she moved to Connecticut and became the basketball chair for the State of Connecticut. She retired in 1970, after she decided to have a family, and came out of retirement from 1994-1997 to officiate games for one of her sons. Howes was inducted in the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition for her pioneering role in the development of women's athletics.
  • Betty F. Hummel

    Description: 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. 
  • Flora Campbell Jespersen

    Description: Mrs. Jespersen was a student at the New Jersey College for Women during World War II. She participated in several volunteer organizations, such as the USO and Red Cross, and was a war worker at Camp Kilmer (Piscataway, NJ) and Johnson & Johnson.
  • Ida Perlmutter Kamich

    Description: Mrs. Kamich served as a Women's Army Corps dietician attached to the 30th General Hospital in the ETO during World War II.
  • Janice Karesh

    Description: Ms. Karesh was a student and USO volunteer during WWII.
  • Ann Kelsey

    Description: Ann Kelsey was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1946. At the age of five years old, her family moved to Riverside, California, where she spent her childhood. At a young age, Ms. Kelsey had a strong interest in literature and reading. She volunteered at her local library in order to obtain a Girl Scouts badge and then eventually worked at the library. 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, developing a strong interest in Vietnamese history and culture due to the influence of her professor Gene Anderson. After graduating from UC Riverside, she attended UCLA, earning a Master's in Library Science. At UCLA, she witnessed the growing anti-war movement that was sweeping across the country. After an Army Special Services recruiter came to the library school, she volunteered for service in Vietnam. In 1969-1970, Kelsey served as a civilian librarian for Special Services, which oversaw arts and crafts, entertainment, library and service club sections. 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, New Jersey. From 1975 to 1983, she served as the principal librarian at the Morris County Free Library, during which time she coordinated the implementation of automation. She then held the position of associate director of the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center at the County College of Morris from 1983 to 2009. In 1985, she co-founded DocuMentors, which specializes in automation planning and system procurement for libraries. She has worked as a consultant for BASF Corporation. She has been active in veterans' organizations and involved in documenting the oral histories of veterans.
  • Stephanie Kip

    Description: 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, Rudolph Kip, 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.This interview was made possible in part through a grant ROHA received from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
  • Ruth Anne Koenick

    Description: 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.
  • Barbara Waters Kramer

    Description: Mrs. Kramer worked in public relations in the Eastern Aircraft Company during WWII.
  • Debora La Torre

    Description: 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. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Barbara Lee

    Description: Barbara A. Lee is a Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). She was born in 1949 in Newton, New Jersey. Growing up in Newton and Andover Township, she attended public schools. 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. As an administrator, Dr. Lee 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 the shift to remote instruction.
  • Carol Levin

    Description: Ms. Levin served in the Women's Army Corps in the ETO during World War II.
  • Gertrude Jay Lewis

    Description: Mrs. Lewis was a high school student during World War II. After attaining her undergraduate degree from the Rutgers School of Business, she spent her career in computer science, working for the Center for Computer and Information Services at Rutgers University from 1976 until her retirement in 1990.
  • Taylor Lorchak

    Description: 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. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2021 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Rebecca Lubetkin

    Description: 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 Mandel

    Description: Part 1 - Adrienne Abramson Mandel was born in Irvington, New Jersey, on September 30, 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. Part 2 - 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

    Description: 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.
  • Terre Martin

    Terre Martin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947. In the interview, she discusses her parents' experiences emigrating from Italy and settling in Newark. Her father owned a barber shop in South Orange, and her mother worked as a seamstress. She grew up in Maplewood and went to school at Clinton School, South Orange Junior High, and Columbia High School. At Douglass College from 1965 to 1969, she majored in Italian and recalls her Italian professor, Maria Teresa Moevs, along with her chemistry professor, Dr. Schombert. She describes Douglass traditions and changes in student life during that time period. Living at Gibbons, she became involved in campus activities, organizing the Soph-Frosh Picnic one year and serving as the house chair her senior year. While an undergraduate, she met her future husband, Douglas, who graduated from the Ag School in 1967 and then served in the Navy in Vietnam. After graduating in 1969, she and her husband moved to St. Louis, where he served as a naval recruiter. Returning to New Jersey, she took care of her three daughters, all of whom are alumni of Rutgers University, and volunteered with the Jaycettes. Over the course of her career, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, in public relations at the Sparta School District, and at Rutgers University in Admissions, the Office of Print and Electronic Communication, and the Office of Community Affairs. Active in Douglass alumnae affairs, she co-chaired the Douglass 100th Anniversary Committee and has been an active member of her class. In the interview, she analyzes changes at Douglass College and Rutgers University over the past fifty years. She states in her interview, "The one constant in all our lives--we can always come home to Rutgers."
  • Edie Meeks

    Description:  Mary "Edie" Meeks was born on March 13, 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She grew up in South Minneapolis, attending Visitation School, Christ the King and Holy Angels Academy.  Meeks 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.  After her brother was drafted, 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. Following her military service, Meeks spent her career in nursing, including twenty-five years at a hospital in Cold Spring, New York.  After not talking about her military service for many years, 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.
  • Ruth Sheeler Moncrief

    Description: Mrs. Moncrief was a student at New Jersey College for Women during World War II.
  • June McCormack Moon

    Description: Mrs. Moon was a high school student during WWII.
  • Mary B. Moore

    Description: Ms. Moore was a high school student and home front worker during World War II.
  • Edna Newby

    Description: Ms. Newby organized and ran USO R&R centers on the home front during WWII.
  • Arlene Nora

    Description: Arlene Nora was born in 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her mother emigrated from Holland when she was seventeen and settled in Edison. Her father emigrated from London, England. During World War I, he served in the U.S. military in Europe, where he was wounded. Her parents raised their eight children in Highland Park, and her father worked at Rutgers in facilities and maintenance. 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). She and her husband raised their family in North Brunswick.
  • Miriam Null

    Description: Mrs. Null was an undergraduate at NJC during World War II.
  • Ferris Olin

    Description: Ferris Olin was born in 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Growing up in Ewing, she attended schools at Parkway School, Antheil Junior High School and Ewing High School.  Following high school graduation in 1966, Dr. Olin went to Douglass College at Rutgers.At Douglass, Dr. Olin majored in Art History and participated in activities such as Chapel Usher and Honor Board.  After graduating from Douglass in the Class of 1970, Dr. Olin earned a Master's in Library Science in 1972 and a Master's in Art History in 1975.  Later, she obtained a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies in 1988 and earned her Ph.D. in Art History in 1998.In 1975, Dr. Olin worked at the Training Institute for the Sex Desegregation of the Public Schools at the Consortium for Educational Equity, based at Douglass.  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 interviews, Dr. Olin discusses administrative issues, programming and accomplishments of the Laurie NJ Chair and IRW, as well as tracing the development of Women's and Gender Studies at Douglass and the establishment of the consortium of the Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL).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, which was founded by Joan Snyder in 1971.  Dr. Olin founded the Margery Somers Foster Center: A Resource Center and Digital Archive on Women, Scholarship and Leadership 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.  In 2012, the Women's Caucus for Art awarded Dr. Olin the Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Mary Hance Owen

    Description: Mrs. Owen, a civilian, worked as a clerk at an Army installation during WWII.
  • Marjorie Pease

    Description: Ms. Pease served in the Canadian Women's Army Corps as a processing clerk during World War II.
  • Marion K. Pinsdorf

    Description: 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

    Description: 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.This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Rita Popelsky

    Description: Rita Popelsky was born in Zawichost, Poland in 1930, and emigrated to Cuba six months before the German invasion in 1939.  Popelsky learned to speak Spanish, living in Havana and Guanabacoa with her Jewish family until 1944, when a relative sponsored her family's migration to the United States.  In the US, she learned to speak English and eventually married and raised a son and daughter.  Popelsky lived and visited Israel multiple times in her adult life.
  • Virginia Rendall Reynolds

    Description: Mrs. Reynolds accompanied her husband, George, to Los Alamos, where she worked as a librarian.
  • Mary Jo Rice-Mahoney

    Description: Mary Jo Rice-Mahoney was born in 1947. Her father served as an active duty naval officer, so she grew up in various locations where her father was stationed. She attended St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and majored in nursing. During her junior year of college, she and several classmates joined the Army Student Nursing Program. Upon graduation from college, Rice-Mahoney was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. She went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston, and her first posting in the Army Nurse Corps placed her at Walson General Hospital at Fort Dix, New Jersey. At Walson, she worked in the orthopedic ward treating patients who had been wounded in Vietnam. In early 1969, Rice-Mahoney received orders for Vietnam. 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. She served in a number of stateside postings, as well as in Tehran, Iran in 1975-1976. Rice-Mahoney then served in the Army Nurse Corps Reserve at the 322nd General Hospital in New Jersey, eventually rising to the rank of colonel, while working as a nurse and administrator at veterans hospitals in New Jersey and Connecticut. In 1993, Rice-Mahoney went to the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Union County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. She speaks about her military service to schools and libraries. Part 1 traces her early life, college and service in Vietnam. Part 2 details her service in the Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam. In Part 3, Rice-Mahoney reflects on the Vietnam War and delves into her career in the Army Nurse Corps and subsequently her time working at veterans hospitals and serving in the Reserves. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Mary Robinson

    Description: Ms. Robinson served as a reporter in the Women's Army Corps in the PTO during World War II.
  • Lita Saldarini

    Description: Mrs. Saldarini worked as a secretary at Columbia University for several researchers working on the Manhattan Project during World War II.
  • Helen Marko Salerno

    Description: Mrs. Salerno was a high school student in Stirling, New Jersey, on the home front during World War II. After graduating in 1944, she went to work for the Veterans Administration at the Lyons Hospital facility in New Jersey, where she continued to work into the 1980s.
  • Akiko Seitelbach

    Description: Part 1 - Akiko Seitelbach was born October 25, 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.Part 2 - 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.
  • Jean O'Grady Sheehan

    Description: Mrs. Sheehan served in the WAVES as a recruiter and public relations officer, primarily in the Atlanta, Georgia, area during World War II.
  • Deborah Shuford

    Description: 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.In the first interview session, recorded on June 8, 2018, Deborah discusses her family's history in Lowndes County, Alabama, notably her grandmother's involvement in the voter registration efforts spurred on by Stokely Carmichael and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the summer of 1965. In discussing her childhood, Deborah talks about her family, siblings, parents' careers, traveling, education and neighborhoods in Newark.   In the second interview, Deborah talks about the military service of her family members. She traces her family's roots in Alabama and her parents' migration to New Jersey. Growing up in the Weequahic section of Newark, she compares and contrasts the city before and after the Newark rebellion of 1967.  In the third interview session, Deborah discusses her experiences during high school at Arts High in Newark. In 1977, she began attending Douglass College as an engineering major. She switched to journalism and recalls memorable professors Roger Cohen in journalism and Cheryl Wall in English. She describes student life and traditions at Douglass and the impact that Dean Jewel Plummer Cobb had upon her, as well as the college.
  • Alice Talbot Sofin

    Description: Ms. Sofin worked at Raritan Arsenal during WWII.
  • Tilly Spetgang

    Description: 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.  She was a major figure in the grassroots water conservation movement that led to reduced water usage in toilet mechanisms in the plumbing industry.
  • Karen Spindel

    Description: 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 and has a profile in Feminists Who Changed America, edited by Barbara Love. Now retired, Karen lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.(Photo: Karen Spindel at International Women's Year March in New York City, 1977)
  • Anne Moreau Thomas

    Description: Mrs. Thomas was a child and teenager in Flemington, NJ, during the Second World War.
  • Pearl Paterson Thompson

    Description: Mrs. Thompson served as a WAVE in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC, during World War II.
  • Candy Torres

    Description: Candy Torres was born in Manhattan, New York in 1953. Her parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City as children in the 1920s and grew up in Harlem during the Great Depression. Torres spent her early life in the Bronx and Newark, before her parents settled in South River. From an early age, she was interested in the space program. She participated in Civil Air Patrol as a teenager. After graduating from South River High School, Torres went to Douglass College, where she designed her own major called individual major-space science. In the summer of 1974, she went to the U.S. Women’s Army Officer College Program at Fort McClellan, Alabama, though she decided against a career in the military. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1976. From 1976 to 1984, Torres worked on the OAO-3 Copernicus satellite project at Princeton University in the Astrophysics Department. In 1983, she produced "Wings in Space" on the Space Shuttle program for a local cable television channel. In 1984, Torres moved to Houston and began working as a software engineer for McDonnell-Douglas in Mission Operation Directorate (MOD) at NASA-Johnson Space Center (JSC). Between 1986 and 1988, she earned a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. From 1988 to 1991, she worked as an engineer in Human Factors at Lockheed Engineering & Sciences Company. In 1992, budget cuts led to her getting laid off, after which she worked various jobs in schools and museums, until returning to the space industry in 1998. At Ron Croston and Associates, Torres worked in configuration management on the International Space Station (ISS). From 2001 to 2005, she worked at Barrios Technology in the Operations Planning group in MOD for the ISS. Since 2006, Torres has been self-employed as a computer expert, speaker, author, researcher and artist. She has forty-four years of experience in informational technology as a software engineer, digital video producer, image editor, 3D designer, and more. Her book Born on the Moon: Living in the Space Age was published in 2020. She terms herself "Technorican" and operates the website https://technorican.wordpress.com/  Her research interests include history and technology. She has been featured in The Atlantic and on PBS and has given speeches internationally on the space industry and STEM-related topics. In part one, Torres discusses her family's migration experiences and her parents' lives. She talks about growing up and going to schools in the Bronx, Newark and then South River, visiting Spanish Harlem and a trip to Puerto Rico in 1970, experiences in Civil Air Patrol, and Puerto Rican heritage and traditions. Topics discussed in part two are: freshman year at Douglass; volunteering in New Hampshire for George McGovern's 1972 campaign; her father's death; course of study and social life at Douglass; Women's Army Corps School at Fort McClellan; graduation from Douglass in 1976; working at Princeton University in the Astrophysics Department on the Copernicus satellite project; learning computer programming in the early 1980s; moving to Houston; working at McDonnell-Douglas at Johnson Space Center on computerizing Mission Control operations; space activism; and witnessing the first Space Shuttle launch (STS-1) and astronaut Sally Ride's launch in STS-7. In part three, Torres discusses the early part of her career at Princeton and McDonnell-Douglas, in which she worked on developing software used by Mission Control in the Space Shuttle program. She talks about witnessing STS-1 and STS-7 as a spectator, different shuttle missions that she worked on, encounters with various astronauts, the Challenger disaster and impact on the space program, obtaining her M.S. at UHCL, Human Factors work at Lockheed, budget cuts and layoffs, working at Ron Croston & Associates on configuration management for the ISS, working at Barrios in Operations Planning for the ISS, the Columbia disaster, and living in the Clear Lake area. In part four, she discusses the latter part of her career, delving into her work at Barrios on the ISS, during which time she completed training at the United Space Alliance Training Academy and became certified as Real-time Planning Engineer Support. She traces developments in the space program from the 1970s to the present and examines the struggles she faced in the space industry. She talks about her Puerto Rican identity, interests and hobbies, and current work in information technology and as a speaker, author, researcher and artist.
  • Mercedes Valle

    Description: 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.In the photograph, Dr. Mercedes Valle participates in a panel discussion at “Remembering the Rutgers Puerto Rican Student Movement of the 1970s,” a part of Rutgers’s 250th anniversary celebration.  (Photo by Nick Romanenko)This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Helen Walkinshaw

    Description: Ms. Walkinshaw served as a WAVE in the Navy in military intelligence during World War II.
  • Margaret Harriet Waugh

    Description: Ms. Waugh served in the WAVEs as a Hospital Corps worker in a Navy hospital during World War II.
  • Dorothy Salkin Welles

    Description: Mrs. Salkin-Welles, a civilian, worked as a dietician at Camp Kilmer, NJ, during World War II.