Fearless Females Challenge: March 12 – Working Girl

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

In addition to raising their children, both my paternal and maternal grandmothers worked outside the home. My paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004), worked as a bookkeeper and notary republic for many years, particularly after her children began their own lives. After she and my grandfather moved to Arizona, my grandmother went to work as a bookkeeper for a Southwestern artist named Jack Black. My maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING), held several careers throughout her working life, including a bookkeeper, secretary, and grocery checker.

Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton with some of her Coworkers in Chinatown in the 1950s or 1960s
Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (far right) with some of her Coworkers in Chinatown in the 1950s or 1960s

In addition to my grandmothers, I know that some of my great grandmothers worked outside the home, even if for brief periods of time. My paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), was employed as a welder for the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation during the 1940s. Following the death of her daughter, Marla (1952-2007), Alice’s welder identification card was found.

Front (top) and Back (bottom) of Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber's Welder ID Card, 1944
Front (top) and Back (bottom) of Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber’s Welder ID Card, 1944

My step-great grandmother, Pauline Katherine (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan (1913-1997), worked in the late 1940s and early 1950s for a furniture upholstery company, which is where she met my great grandfather, Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979). My maternal great grandmother, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006), worked as a chambermaid at the historic Arrowhead Springs Hotel, a popular resort that many Hollywood celebrities of the time frequented. My great grandmother met several, including Dorothy Lamour.

Historic Arrowhead Springs Hotel

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