Filomena DarrochResearcher 1989–2000

print this page

Filomena Darroch was an indefatigable researcher from the earliest days of the project. Among her many research topics was William’s entry of April 2, 1877 on the first use of a “telephone” to transmit a live concert from Philadelphia to Steinway Hall in New York City.

The “telephone” was not the “telephone” we know of today but instead a device using electrical currents to transmit the pitch of musical sounds. The pianist played on a keyboard connected to a battery producing vibrations sent along a telegraph wire to a sounding box in Steinway Hall. The tone was reported to resemble a soft organ or reed instrument. Darroch also reported on Boss Tweed’s escape from prison in December 1875, the scandal in the 1870s surrounding the divorce of Elizabeth Tilton, and subsequent damages trial of the well-known orator and preacher, Henry Ward Beecher for adultery with her.

Darroch graduated in 1937 from Brooklyn College and received a master’s degree in teaching Italian and French from New York University. After working for the War Department during World War II she served as executive secretary to the director of Credito Italiano on Wall Street. Moving to the Washington, DC area in 1967 Darroch worked as a doctoral program advisor at George Washington University. She later joined the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as a claims and policy expert, retiring in 1978. Darroch died on November 30, 2009 and is survived by two children, a brother, two grandchildren, and a great-grandson.