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Women in Army Communications History – Helen Phillips

Blog Women in Army Communications History – Helen Phillips

The information used to prepare this entry comes from a variety of articles and other resources contained in the CECOM Historical Office Archive. Featuring Helen Phillips in this series highlights one of the CECOM Historical Offices own key players; Ms. Phillips was the Command Historian for this office into the late 1960s. As well, wearing a dual hat, she was also the founder and director of the Communications and Electronics Museum.

Ms. Phillips was born on Bridgton City, New Jersey, where she lived most of her life. She also attended Sea Academy in Long Branch, New Jersey; from there, she went on to receive a degree in Education from College of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station 1923. Dr. Phillips went on to also obtain degrees from Harvard, Columbia, and Oxford.

Ms. Phillips was a former history teacher. She started her career teaching at St. James Catholic School, later she taught at Red Bank Catholic High School (1923 to 1928). From 1929 to 1943, she was American Branch Manager for the Gambini and Chechi School for craftsmen in Italy.

Helen Phillips in 1955

During the Second World War, Ms. Phillips also volunteered for the American Red Cross. From 1943 to 1946, she taught at Rumson School, eventually becoming head of the Social Studies Department at Rumson Day School. While at Rumson, she researched and compiled a 300-plus page history of Rumson. She left that position to become the head historian at Fort Monmouth. She became chief of the history office in 1952. Also, from 1954 to 1967, she was involved with setting up the museum at Fort Monmouth. She also published “Fort Monmouth: History and Place Names 1917 – 1959” and “History of the U.S. Army Signal Center and School.”

Helen in the late 1970s

From 1945 to 1948, she was on the New Jersey Committee for teaching history, where she wrote a syllabus for the state secondary schools’ history courses. In 1946, she founded the Monmouth County Chapter of Alumnae, College of St. Elizabeth. She was listed in “the World Who’s Who of Women” and “Dictionary of International Biography.”  Ms. Phillips was also a member of a number of advisory committees and historical associations.

Upon retirement from Fort Monmouth, in 1967, she went on to write “Red Bank on the Navesink” (1977). In 1969, she donated a large number of rare books and maps to the College of Saint Elizabeth.

Ms. Phillips suffered severe injuries after being struck by a car in the late 1970s. But despite memory loss issues and other complications and injuries, she was able to complete her history of Red Bank. 

Ms. Phillips passed away in 1981 at the age of 77.

Note: This entry composed by Floyd, and posted by Chrissie.

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  1. Cory James Newman says

    Its good to see a local citizen take an interest in local history and write about it. She is an inspiration to all historians.