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Interview with Ann Elwood

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Elwood, Ann ; Dobandi, Susan


Ann Elwood talks about her moves from Bridgeville, DE, to Franklin Forks, PA, and her final settlement in Binghamton, NY, in 1911. She attended the Lowell School of Business and worked in business before becoming an assistant journal clerk in the New York State Senate and working for 27 years. She also discusses living in Albany (NY) and her involvement in the Red Cross Motor Corps during World War II and several social and political clubs in the community.




This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: Broome County Oral History Project, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Date Modified


Is Part Of

Broome County Oral History Project


16:43 Minutes


Broome County Oral History Project

Interview with: Mrs. Ann Elwood

Interviewed by: Susan Dobandi

Date of interview: 8 September 1978

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could we start this interview by having you tell us where you were born and any of your recollections of your early childhood and something about your parents?

Ann: I was born in Jamison, Pennsylvania, and I lived there until possibly I was, ah, five or six years of age, and my father was in ill health and was told that he must go to the Walter Reed Hospital so we moved from there to Bridgeville, Delaware, where he purchased a fruit farm. And that was, ah, operated by a couple that, ah, operate farms—ah, professional farmers—and we stayed there for three years when, ah, it was decided that he had surgery and he wished to move back to Binghamton where he'd be close to his family, as he was born in—ah, he was a Canadian and ah, and then he moved back to his father's and mother’s home in Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania, and we came back to Binghamton in April 1911, and he went in the hospital on April 2nd and had his surgery and passed away on June 25th of that year.

Now his business when he was living in Pennsylvania was a lumberman and he disposed of that at the time of moving south. What else? Oh, and I—I attended the Binghamton schools, and after graduation I went to Lowell School of Business and took a business course in stenography, and they placed me with Bradstreets at the time I finished, about the time I finished my course, and Bradstreets was a mercantile agency and from there I went with, ah, the insurance firm of Steel and Powell in the Press Building and operated an Elliott-Fisher bookkeeping machine and took over the credits in that office. And after operating—being taught the operation of the Elliott-Fisher bookkeeping machine, the company wanted me to, ah, go with them and make installation of machines where they sold them in various places, which I did. I installed—err, they installed the machine in the agriculture department in Ithaca at Cornell University and I taught the operator there, and also two firms in Elmira, an automobile concern and a big agriculture business and several other places. Then my mother didn't want me to be out of town so much, so I gave that up and came back and was employed in the County Clerk's office for six years, and I also did credit work in the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for several years before I had the opportunity to go to this NY State Senate in Albany, being the first woman from Broome County to be an employee of the Senate, and that was in 1939 and I was there for 27 years.

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could you tell us something of your duties as a journal clerk in the Senate?

Ann: I went to the NY State Senate in 1939 and l—ah, was given an opportunity to be chosen as a person to study and familiarize myself with the various departments to perform in case of an emergency and my, ah—the principal job that I had was assistant journal clerk. Now, the journal is composed of all the activities of the Senate from the time that the legislature convenes until it adjourns, every action and performance in the Senate Chamber is on record in the journal that pertains to the introduction and the complete procedure of each and every bill until it is passed or—or defeated, or doesn't come out of committee, so to speak. Now the—the importance of that office is to keep the journal for the Senate and it's compiled at the end of the session and is composed of many thousands of sheets. I had to edit the journal to see that all, ah, procedures were followed and that each bill that passed had the proper procedure and, ah, then the committees had to be referred to see that it was properly referred to the committees, and ah, was properly sent to the Governor for signature and then it was returned as a signed bill with a chapter number, and the chapter number had to be noted in the journal when it was signed by the Governor. The, ah—the journal clerk’s office also is responsible for the publication of all journal documents and all of the forms used, which would be over a hundred. They have to be controlled in the journal clerk’s office as to proper procedure and information and data on each form. All, ah—all nominations come from the Governor to the journal clerk’s office and are referred to the Finance Committee before going to the Senate for passage, and after passage they, ah, are signed and returned to the Secretary of State’s Office, but the governor has to submit all his nominations to us first. This, ah, procedure is, ah, very important and it applies only to the top officials of each and every department and those that the governor has the authority to appoint.

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, during this time, ah, do you want to tell us about you—you met Mr. Elwood and you were married?

Ann: Oh yes, I met Mr. Elwood. He was, ah—he was, ah, in World War I, and I met him and was married, and he, ah—he was a, a deputy sheriff and ah, also in fact I met him through our office. He was employed in Bradstreet when I was employed there. There is where I met him, and he passed away from a—a disease contracted during World War I. He passed away in 1941 and we had a, one daughter, Constance Elwood, who is now Mrs. Herbert J. Wilk, and ah—

Susan: Her husband is the physician?

Ann: Her husband is a surgeon and, ah, operating in the Binghamton hospitals, the Binghamton General Hospital and Lourdes and of course he does work at Wilson.

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could you tell us now, ah, some of the interesting events that you attended or some of the important people that came into your life during this period?

Ann: Well I met many important people, all of whom I just can't recall now, but some of the events that I attended, and I think I got now my invitation because of, my position up here was, I was invited to two inaugural conventions at, ah, in Washington and, ah, two inaugural balls, I mean, in Washington, and ah, I was a guest at an Electoral College, which is a very rare occasion for an outsider, but they're held when the New York Electoral College is held in Albany in the Senate Chamber under the auspices of the Secretary of State, and I had a—

And when I was in Albany I also, was acted in the, ah, Red Cross in World War II. I was a member of the motor corps, and during my experiences there I made several convoys, two to Camp Dix, one conveying, ah, ten-ton trucks to Camp Dix and the other driving Jeeps, and we made two trips to Camp Devan—one conveying, ah, Packard Ambulances, and the other, Ford Ambulances, which was very interesting and something that we all enjoyed. You—you convey the vehicle to the camp and then a large bus meets you there and returns you to Albany. Ah, this work was very, ah, very interesting because it also took us to airports at night when secret airplanes were coming in with either injured soldiers or officers, transferring them from one place to another, and the Motor Corps was called on to respond with coffee and sandwiches and something for them to nourish their bodies, and ah, this was always a secret affair. We must never know only about five or ten minutes before we had to make a trip where we were going and what we were going to do, ah—

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could you recall, ah, for us some of your memories of how Binghamton was in the early days?

Ann: Well, when I came here we used to have streetcars and we went to the park—to Ross Park, which was the most popular playground and place in Binghamton. Every Sunday they had a band concert there and the park was filled with people. Then we used to go to Ideal Park, it was another popular place, and during the summer we belonged to the Orange Circuit, Orange County Circuit of Races, and they had horse racing there each summer, which we attended and ah, the, ah—I know we used to go by streetcar down there, and I think it cost us a nickel, no more than a dime. I know to go all the way from Binghamton down to Endicott I think it was a nickel, and the price on our streetcars were a nickel and the—and now—and then we had the YMCA, which was a popular place for the men, and I remember that vividly because our Republican Headquarters were located for many years in the old Bennett Hotel, ah, then later known as the Hotel Bingham, which was right across the street—of course those places have been dismantled now and torn down and replaced by other types of business, ah—and the Arlington, we moved from the Bingham to, ah, the Arlington, and stayed there as long as they were on top and when they decided to dissolve, why, we moved out and that building was soon destroyed. I mean dismantled and, ah—it seems I have moved around and been in all the landmarks of Binghamton through one way or another and when I went to school we, ah—our school, for a two or three years while they were finishing high school, we went to, ah, the school building in the old police headquarters at the corner of Washington and Hawley Street, and then from there to the new Central High.

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could we go on and have you tell us some of the clubs that you belong to?

Ann: Well, I belong to the Monday Afternoon Club and I'm an active member in the, ah, Zonta Club of Binghamton, of which we have now, I think, the first club in Binghamton, male or female club, that has an international officer, and we have the international president of the Zonta Club of Binghamton and we're honoring her on September 23rd, and that's ah, Evelyn Dewitt, and ah, I belong to the Republican Club, several Republican clubs, and ah, the American Legion Auxiliary. I'm a fifty-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary and also a member of the Eight and Forty and, ah, held all the offices in the Auxiliary American Legion, Post 80 Auxiliary, except the president, and I, ah, was unable to accept that because my mother had died and I had to stay home to take care of my daughter, ah—

Susan: Mrs. Elwood, could we go back and review, ah, the part of your life where you mention you had gone to, ah, two of the inaugural balls? Who were the Presidents at that time?

Ann: The President at that time was President Eisenhower—I went to his inaugural ball and also the one for Nixon, and while we're on the subject of presidential officials, I would like to say that it was my pleasure to meet Mr. Rockefeller previous to his being selected, selected as our candidate for Governor. He was chosen in the Senate while I was there as chairman of the Constitutional Convention Committee, and George Hinman brought him in during an intermission in my office so I could meet Mr. Rockefeller, and ah, I told him that I was very pleased because I—I read from the papers that he is going to be our next Governor and I also, and I did neglect to tell you that in November 1977 l was chosen as the Woman of the Year by the Status of Women Council in—in, ah, Binghamton.

Susan: That's fine. You certainly have been a very active lady in this community, Mrs. Elwood.

Ann: Oh! Thank you.

Susan: And it's been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you very much for the interview.

Ann: Well, I've enjoyed this very much.

Streaming Audio

Date of Interview



Dobandi, Susan


Elwood, Ann


16:43 Minutes

Date of Digitization



Broome County Oral History Project

Subject LCSH

Elwood, Ann -- Interviews; Broome County (N.Y.) -- History; Clerks of court -- Interviews; Bridgeville (Del.); Franklin Forks (Pa.); New York (State). Legislature. Senate; Binghamton (N.Y.); Businesswomen -- Interviews; Albany (N.Y.); World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- Red Cross; Women -- Societies and clubs; Political clubs; Lowell School of Business

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This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: Broome County Oral History Project, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.



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The Broome County Oral History Project was conceived and administered by the Senior Services Unit of the Office for the Aging. Funding for this project was provided by the Broome County Office of Employment and Training (C.E.T.A.), with additional funding from the Senior Service Unit of the National Council on Aging and Broome… More

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