Alice Talbot, November 21, 2008


Alice Talbot, November 21, 2008


baseball hall of fame
beauty culture
Brooklyn, New York
Cooperstown, New York
Edmonston, New York
Keypunch machines
Middleburgh, New York
New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company
United States Navy
White Plains, New York


Born in White Plains, New York in 1923, Alice Talbot grew up in a variety of small towns and cities throughout southeaster New York. The conditions of her father's employment forced the family to move repeatedly, a total of sixteen times in as many years. She excelled in school despite the disruptions of moving, though she ultimately had to leave early to find work and help support her family. Following a series of jobs in and around New York City, Talbot enlisted in the U.S. Navy to earn necessary income and further her education in bookkeeping and accounting. Post-war employment brought Alice Talbot to Otsego County, New York, where she met her husband, established a family, and maintained a permanent home (in Cooperstown) for the past fifty-two years.

The interview with Alice Talbot, conducted with a broad biographical approach, deals with situations and events from her childhood in southeastern New York to more recent experiences in Cooperstown. As such, it touches upon a variety of historical contexts. For example, her father's multiple job changes in the 1930's, which included a stint with the Civilian Conservation Corps, illustreate the difficulty of finding steady employment during the Great Depression. This search for work not only affected a family's ability to manage its finances, but also its ability to develop a sense of place, given the frequent relocations it required. Mrs. Talbot's time with the Navy (1940-1946) as a keypunch operator points to one avenue of opportunity available to enlisted women during World War II. Over 350,000 women served in the various branches of the military. Regulations excluded women from combat positions, and thus restricted their work to a variety of auxiliary functions, which ranged from clerical and administrative duties to medical and technological positions. Mrs. Talbot's computing and record-keeping tasks reflect the supportive role give to women during World War II.

The connections between personal experience and larger historical moments remain largely implicit. Still, the interview offers valuable information about sense of place, educational and employment opportunities at the time, and the family dynamics experienced in childhood and adulthood. In addition, the latter part of the interview provides information about the village of Cooperstown itself. Her remarks cover the sites and daily life of Cooperstown at the time of her arrival, as well as its subsequent evolution. The town's growing baseball culture became familiar to Mrs. Talbot through her involvement with Baseball Hall of Fame activities, which resulted from her husband's former position as the Hall Director.

In the following transcription, I have tried to reproduce the language and substance of the oral history interview with only basic editing for the sake of readability. False starts, repetitions, and minor injections like "um," and "ah" have been eliminated from the text, except when they might offer insight into the interviewer's thought process or the meaning of a particular remark. Inaudible words or missing words appear as bracketed text. The use of a dash (--), when it appears in the middle of a sentence, denotes a substantial pause; when found at the end of a sentence, it indicates an interruption by the other speaker. I have chosen to preserve some grammatical mistakes and turns of phrase to remain faithful to the recording.


Kyle Radke


Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta




New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, NY







Online Submission



Kyle Radke


Alice Talbot


Cooperstown, NY

Original Format

digital mp3 file


Part 1 - 48:34 minutes
Part 2 - 26:39 minutes
Part 3 - 08:49 minutes



Kyle Radke, “Alice Talbot, November 21, 2008,” CGP Community Stories, accessed September 29, 2022,