October 20, 2005

6:28 minutes

Interviewed by Ann Kelsey

Filmed by Michael O’Hagan

For the County College of Morris, Learning Resource Center

Randolph, New Jersey

Rosie the Riveter Project

Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona

Kelsey:  Where were you born and raised?

Hoffman:  Newark, New Jersey.

Kelsey:  And where did you live when the war started?

Hoffman:  Newark, New Jersey.

Kelsey:  How did you get into the defense industry?

Hoffman:  I needed a job.

Kelsey:  When did you go looking for the job?

Hoffman:  I believe it was in the paper—I went to RCA.

Kelsey:  And what year was that?

Hoffman:  1942.

Kelsey:  Had you graduated from high school?

Hoffman:  No.  I got my diploma later in what was called at that time adult school.

Kelsey:  And how long did you work for RCA?

Hoffman:  Hm, ’42, ’43—about two years, a year and a half, two years, in that category, in that area.

Kelsey:  And what did you do there?

Hoffman:  I worked in the stockroom filling orders for various defense plants and government issue things.

Kelsey:  What kinds of things did they supply?

Hoffman:  Oh! everything was stock numbers, so it was all different parts:  parts for airplanes, parts for bombs, different mechanisms that they had—various parts.  All you just got was a sheet and you had to go through the whole area and find what was on that sheet and stock it together.

Kelsey:  And then when you left RCA, did you go to work at another company?

Hoffman:  A very short time at Newark Engineering.

Kelsey:  And what did you do there?

Hoffman:  I worked a drill press.

Kelsey:  And what were you making?

Hoffman:  It was parts for what, exactly, I don’t know.  It was various….

Kelsey:  And how long did you work there?

Hoffman:  Hm, oh, maybe about six months or so, and then I went to the telephone company.

Kelsey:  What was the telephone company then?

Hoffman:  That was on Washington Street.  I worked in long distance.

Kelsey:  So you were a switchboard operator?

Hoffman:  Uh-huh, an L.D. operator.

Kelsey:  And how long were you there?

Hoffman:  Hm, up to about 1950.

Kelsey:  So you actually left the defense industry before the war was over.

Hoffman:  Yes, I did.

Kelsey:  Because you went to work for the phone company in what year?

Hoffman:  Yeah, because I was working at the phone company on V-J Day.

Kelsey:  And that was 1945, August.

Hoffman:  Yeah.  That was on Washington Street.

Kelsey:  And then what did you do after that, did you keep working?

Hoffman:  And then I had babies.  (laughter)  I had my first baby in 1946, and another one in ’52.  And then I went into my own business for a while, [unclear] caterers.  My husband died, I took over the catering business for a while.  And then I went to Marriott Corporation from service.  Then I was there for twenty-some years.

Kelsey:  Did you meet your husband during the war?

Hoffman:  No, prior to the war, because I was married in 1940.

Kelsey:  Oh, so you were already married when the war started.

Hoffman:  I married in January of ’40, and the war broke out in December of ’41.  Well, actually they recorded my marriage as January of ’41, so I was married a very short time.

Kelsey:  And then he went overseas?

Hoffman:  Uh-huh.

Kelsey:  Where did he go?

Hoffman:  He was in the European invasion.

Kelsey:  Did that have anything to do with why you decided to go to RCA, or you were just looking for a job?

Hoffman:  I needed a job.  Good reason, wasn’t it?

Kelsey:  Yeah.  And then when did he come back?

Hoffman:  1945.

Kelsey:  After V-E Day?

Hoffman:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  And by that time you were working with the phone company?

Hoffman:  By that time I was at the phone company.

Kelsey:  Okay, I think that’s good for today.

Hoffman:  I enjoyed being here with you.

Kelsey:  We’ve definitely enjoyed being here with you.  And thank you for bringing all this.

Hoffman:  Well, I’m sorry I threw a lot of things away, honestly:  that mail, where they cut out what you can….  [I asked myself], “What am I keeping this stuff for?!”

Kelsey:  Where they would redact  the….

Hoffman:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  Did you get V-mail, microfilm mail?

Hoffman:  V-mails, yeah.  And then they cut out what you weren’t allowed to see.  After a while, you just can keep so much stuff.






The Learning Resource Center at the County College of Morris

214 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey 07869