Saturday, March 22, 2014

alyce stephenson.png

About a week ago I posted about how reader Bill Maselunas had tracked down the history of the person shown in one of the photo I.D. badges I've recently been obsessing over. He's now done the same for the badge you see above. (If you missed the entry in which I introduced the topic of employee photo badges and want to get caught up on that, look here.)

Bill did all the heavy lifting here, so I'll turn this over to him:

I'm fairly certain the person shown on this badge is Alyce Katheryne Stephenson of West Chester, Ohio. The unusual spelling of Alyce's name made the research somewhat easier than it might otherwise have been (although in some places it was recorded as "Alice"). Here's what I discovered about her:

• She was born Alyce Katheryne Stephenson on Jan. 10, 1910, in Butler County, Ohio, to Samuel James (1883-1956) and Anna Katheryne (Dietiker) Stephenson (1890-1948).

• Sibling Samuel Wilbur "Bud" Stephenson was born on Sept. 30, 1914, West Chester, Ohio; died on June 26, 1935, in West Chester, Ohio; buried in West Chester, Ohio. Appears to have died tragically from an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound on his farm. Never married.

• Alice resided in Butler County, Ohio, for most of her life and lived in Sharonville (the location of the facility that issued her employee badge) at the time of her mother's death in 1948.

• She attended Miami University of Ohio, Class of 1931. She's shown at the bottom-left corner of this page from the school's 1931 yearbook [click to enlarge]:


As you can see, that yearbook page used an unusual variant of the spelling of her first name. But the spelling shown on her employee badge was used on this next page, where she's listed as a member of a campus women's organization. She may also be among the students shown in the group photo at the bottom of the page [click to enlarge]:

Although her employee badge was issued by the Sharonville Engineer Depot, her primary career appears to have been as a teacher and educator. She was teaching at Princeton High School in Cincinnati in 1960, and her Ohio Death Record lists her occupation as an elementary school teacher. She is cited as a contributor in this course guide.

• She died on July 21, 1996, in Mongomery, Ohio, apparently without having married or having had children. No survivors were listed in her obituary:

• Her father, Samuel, worked for various railroads, which may explain Alyce's apparently temporary employment at the Sharonville Engineer Depot, a major railroad and industrial center. It's a little hard to figure out when she worked there and why. Was it during her college summers? Part of the war effort? Given that she worked in academia all her life, it's a bit baffling to me that she would have worked there at all.

Speaking of the Sharonville Engineer Depot, it was built in 1942 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stockpile strategic metals (magnesium, titanium, zinc, etc.). The site was occupied from 1942 to 1949 by the Air Force. Of the original 603 acres, approximately 50 comprise the current Sharonville Engineer Depot, now occupied by the Defense Logistics Agency, which operates a facility known as the Sharonville Depot Defense National Stockpile Zone. The site was investigated by the EPA in the 1980s and 1990s for contaminated soil and water, but no remedial actions were taken. Some further information about the facility is available in this discussion board thread.

Research thanks to Samantha Loopstra from Ohio's amazing "Know It Now" program, available at Ohio public libraries, and to Jennifer Rusche, Reference Librarian at the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County.

Another great research job. The only downer is that Alyce doesn't appear to have any descendants we can contact. The same was true of Martha L. Cannaday, the previous badge employee Bill had researched. I'm hoping we'll eventually be able to track down a living relative of one of the badge subjects. And with that in mind, I'm happy to report that Bill is already working on another badge history — stay tuned.

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