Tustin Grammar School students Mary Corbin,
Vivian Cox and Juanita Robinson (Lovret) are
pictured, left to right, soliciting orders
in the 1930s.
Many Tustin wives
and mothers were working outside their homes to
augment the family income long before the term
“Career Woman” was coined in the late ’30s.
Arvilla Utt, who
came to Tustin in 1874 with her husband,
Lysander, and son, Charles Edward, was probably
the first. She kept boarders in the family’s
living quarters on the second floor of Utt’s
Pioneer Store at the corner of Main and D (El
Camino Real) and helped her son run the store
after her husband died.
Tustin City Post
Office, granted by the government on Oct. 28,
1872, became a popular place for women to work.
Martha Tustin was the first, serving as
postmistress in 1883, followed by her sister,
Fannie Tustin, from 1898 to 1901. Arthur Turner
became postmaster in 1902, but since he was busy
developing a 20-acre orange grove on the east
side of Irvine Boulevard, Mrs. Turner was behind
the counter most of the time.
J.A. Phiney took
the position in 1914, turning the job over to
Florence Stone in 1920. The Phiney family
regained control in 1925 with J.A.’s wife,
mother of eight children, in charge from 1925 to
1927. Their daughter, Cinderella, then served
for almost 10 years, 1927 to 1934.
Carolyn Campbell, also a wife and mother, was in
charge of the post office from 1934 to 1950,
taking responsibility for all incoming and
outgoing mail at a time when the community was
growing and business was brisk with no home
delivery. The post office relocated from Main
St. to Third St. during her tenure.
Many Tustin women
labored in the classrooms, teaching kids while
the men held the administrative jobs. Most were
“single ladies,” the acceptable term in those
days for a woman without husband. Teachers with
husbands to support them were not hired in
Tustin schools during the Depression. Of course,
the office and the cafeteria were staffed by
became the first paid employee at the Tustin
Library in 1916 and was in charge until she
retired in 1959. When the library closed for the
day, she hurried home to take care of her house
and husband John, an orange grower. Her job was
not easy. The library had its ups and downs
during the years she was librarian, making five
moves. Mrs. Gowdy was the only employee during
most of the change and growth.
ran the office at Utt Juice Co. after her
husband acquired the business from C.E. Utt in
1931. When she went home to take care of Roger
and Patsy, her sister, Vera Pafford, the
bookkeeper, was in charge.
Charles Vance and
Bill Leinberger were executives at the First
National Bank of Tustin, but everyone recognized
Frances Logan as the power behind the teller
window. Wife of Charles Logan, an orange grower
and volunteer fireman as well as police and fire
commissioner for Tustin, and mother of Eva, she
spent her entire working career at the bank.
Many women hired
on temporarily each season to pack oranges at
the local packing houses, but only Mable
Prescott, John’s mother, ran her own packing
house as well as an orange juice stand.