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Remembering Dorothy Jewell A Woman of Cause and Community - Historian

During Women’s History Month we take out some time to remember Dorthy Jewell who helped create a local history legacy.

Dorothy Grant Jewell (1915-1997), daughter of Willitt C. and Frances Grant Jewell, was born in Carmel into one of the older families of Putnam County. Her great-grandfather on her father’s side was James J. Smalley, county sheriff, owner of Smalley’s Inn and chairman of the Democratic Party in the mid-19th century. On her mother’s side, Dorothy was eligible for membership in the Mayflower Descendants and the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she was kin to General, later President, Ulysses S. Grant.

Dorothy Jewell attended Carmel Schools and graduated from Drew Seminary, Class of 1933. She was an avid student of music and an accomplished pianist who taught local students.

During World War II, Dorothy was an active Senior Warden with the Air Raid Wardens. She used her musical talents to entertain servicemen in Carmel and the British Rest Camps in Putnam Valley and later played local shows under the billing, “Dorothy Jewell and her All-Male Orchestra”.

Throughout her life, Dorothy was dedicated to preserving history in the columns of the Putnam County Courier and promoted preservation of landmarks. She was a member of the Town of Carmel Historical Society and in the 1980s, curated their museum in the old town hall.

Aside from her membership with the Drew Methodist Church in Carmel, she was also active with the Democratic Club and the Literary Union of Carmel, served on the Board of Directors of the Putnam County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was a member of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.

Her father Willitt was the editor of the Putnam County Courier, one of the oldest weeklies in New York State, and Dorothy started her career in the newspaper business at the age of 14. She worked as managing editor under her father and was a founding member of Putnam County Women of the Press, forming a County Press Club in 1967.

In the early 1990s, Dorothy contacted then-County Historian, Sallie Sypher, and arranged for creation of the Jewell Collection, a lifetime of ephemera from her family, the Courier, and more.

Photos & Captions, please credit Putnam County Historian’s Jewell Collection:

Dorothy Jewell was a long-time member and advocate for the Red Cross, in her uniform, circa 1942; portrait by W.C. Jewell.

Jewell accepting Red Cross Donation from David D. Bruen, ca. 1960s.

Dorothy plays piano, entertaining servicemen during World War II, Ludington Arms Inn. Photo by Willitt C. Jewell, 1940s.

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    68 Marvin Ave.
    Carmel, NY 10512

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Welcome to the Putnam County Historian’s Office and Archives! We are located in Brewster, New York, in the lower Hudson River Valley region.

Our local government office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County. New York’s Town and Village Historians have been serving public history since 1919, in part to document World War I Veterans back into civilian life. 

Putnam County Office Building

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512

© 2005 - Putnam County Online

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