Saturday, June 15, 2024

Women’s History Month

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Stratford Herstory

Nettie A. Filmer

By David Wright
Stratford Town Historian

There is a regrettable dearth of information concerning Stratford’s women in the official histories of our town. We probably need to create a volume entitled “Stratford Herstory” to document the many contributions Stratford’s women have made to the town.

Fortunately, every year we mark Women’s History Month and try to recognize a few of the remarkable women who’ve played a role in shaping our town.

Nettie A. Filmer was one such lady. Nettie was born in 1871, and moved to Stratford with her parents in 1895. She married Sterling Filmer in December 1900.  Nettie was very involved in Stratford’s schools. She taught sixth grade at Center School for 16 years, and served on the town’s school board for 8 years. Nettie was elected to the School Board in 1915. She served as Board secretary in 1921.

Nettie served as Chair of the Stratford Red Cross in 1919. In 1921 Nettie was elected as the first Registrar of Voters in Connecticut along with Sallee Wells.  In her spare time, Nettie was placed in charge of rebuilding Stratford High School after the Center School building was destroyed by fire in 1921.

Nettie served on the Republican Town Committee in 1922, and she was active in the Stratford Historical Society. Coincidentally enough, Nettie lived at 797 East Broadway which was the former home of Frederick Sedgwick the distinguished and long time leader of Sedgwick Academy. Apparently, 797 East Broadway was a magnet for educators.

Bridgeport Evening Farmer

 

November 29, 1921

With the appointment of Mrs. Filmer and Miss Wells, Stratford claims the distinction of having the first two women registrars of voters in the state, while the town was only beaten by New York City a few days in having the first women registrars in the United States.

 

The Stratford News September 18, 1936

Burial of Mrs. Filmer at Union Cemetery to Take Place Saturday

Mrs. Filmer was a well-known teacher, having taught sixth grade at Center School for the past sixteen years and seven years before that in Bridgeport. She was born in Stoneham, Mass., on May 12th, 1871. and moved here from Bridgeport in 1895 with her parents, Robert and Mary Ann Strickland. Her father was first selectman.  Noted for her diligent work in the Red Cross during the World War, Mrs. Filmer was very active in the local Parent-Teachers’ Association and also served on the Board of Education for eight years. She graduated from Bridgeport High School and received her teacher’s training at the Bridgeport Normal School

1 COMMENT

  1. Very short,nice article. The Center School property should house a women’s museum which should be called the Nettie Filmer,womans museum.

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