MARY ELLEN SOISTMANN was born in new Jersey to Patrick and Isabela McVeigh on July 28, 1893. Her father, Patrick J. McVeigh, was active politically as a Democrat. The 1906 Camden City Directory shows the family at 569 Trenton Avenue. She grew up in Camden's Ninth Ward, the family living at 520 Trenton Avenue at the time of the 1910 Census. By 1914 the family had moved to 791 Line Street. Both Patrick McVeigh Sr. and his son Patrick Jr. worked as potters at the Camden Pottery works. Another older brother, Thomas, worked as a railroad brakeman. By 1914 Mary Ellen McVeigh had also gone to work, as a clerk, and later as a bookkeeper. She married Adolph Soistmann, who was living at 791 Line Street in 1917, shortly after registering for the draft in June of 1917. A daughter, Marie was prior to the January 1920 Census. The relationship appears to have had some difficulty, as the 1920 Census shows Adolph Soistmann in Los Angeles and Mary Ellen Soistmann living with her parents and brothers in Camden.

Adolph Soistmann apparently was dogged by poor health, leaving Mrs. Soistmann a widow by 1929. Mary Ellen Soistmann was working as a bookkeeper at the RCA-Victor factory in Camden when the Census was taken in April of 1930. She was living with her daughter and widowed mother in a house they owned at 795 Line Street.

Mary Ellen Soistmann followed her father into politics, and by 1934 had become a Democrat county committeewoman from Camden's Ninth Ward. By the early 1940s Mrs. Soistmann had begun to work for the Housing Authority of the City of Camden. In 1943 she took over as manager of the Westfield Acres project in East Camden upon the suicide of its previous manager, Meyer Wessel. She later managed the Peter J. McGuire Gardens public housing project in East Camden.

The 1947 Camden City Directory shows Mary Ellen Soistmann living at 319 North 34th Street in East Camden. She was still at that address as late as the fall of 1970. 

Mary Ellen Soistmann was still living in Camden when she passed away in August of 1972.

Camden Courier-Post - February 7, 1938

9th Ward Democrats to Dine

Mary Ellen Soistmann

Oscar Moore

John J. Crean

Democrats to Fete Mrs. Soistmann, Moore, Crean in Hof Brau Tomorrow

Three Ninth ward Democratic leaders, state Committeewoman Mary Ellen McVeigh Soistmann. Freholder Oscar Moore and County Committeeman John J. Crean- will be honored tomorrow night at a dinner in Weber's Hof Brau.

Buses will leave headquarters of the Ninth Ward Democratic Association, Sixth and Berkley Streets, at 7.15 p. m. and will return at 11.30 and 12 p. m.

Mrs. Soistmann, member of the county committee since 1934, has lived in the Ninth ward for 311 years. She became state committeewoman last year. She is a daughter of the late Patrick J. McVeigh, one of the old-time Democratic leaders.

Moore has lived in the Ninth ward for 32 years. He was elected freeholder last November when the ward was swung from the Republican column.

Crean, who has lived in the ward for 27 years, was president of the Ninth Ward Democratic Association for five years, retiring in September, 1937, to become county committeeman. He also is an assistant city solicitor.

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1938

Orlando Warns Democrats at Fete to Moore, Crean and Mrs. Soistmann?


David Baird Jr., and his allies have already arranged their slate for the next city commission election and are laying plans to recapture the city government of Camden. Democrats should know of this movement and prepare to thwart the proposed plans at once.

This warning was given by County Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando last night, at a testimonial dinner in the Hof Brau at which three Ninth Ward Democrats were feted, and at which 500 were present. The trio honored comprised Mrs. Mary Ellen Soistmann, state committee woman; Oscar Moore, freeholder, and John J. Crean, assistant city solicitor and county committeeman.

While the three guests were feted and presented with wrist watches and other tokens, the affair took on a love feast aspect for the three New Deal commissioners arid all shades and leanings of Democratic leadership.

Mayor George E. Brunner was toastmaster and took occasion to poke fun at the G.O.P. and its tribulations over the county headquarters.

Brunner Jests at G.O.P.

"I have just received word," said the Mayor with due solemnity, "that the Republican county committee of whom I, read today was having trouble over their headquarters, have finally solved their troubles tonight.”

"I understand they are giving up their present location and. have just been presented by the Bell Telephone Company with a booth, and are now looking for another tenant to whom the committee can sublet half the space."

Orlando's warning came after he congratulated the special guests, He said:

"I have every reason to believe that Dave Baird and the rest of the Republican chieftains are already laying their plans to capture the city commission. They are working to the end with their own slate, so that they can take from the people of Camden the good government which they have received far some time.

"We Democrats do not want to take this warning lightly, we want to remember that Baird and his chieftains are already working toward capturing the government of Camden, and this is something that .we want to prevent at all hazards."

Orlando also congratulated the gathering as an indication of the growth of the party, and the faith that the people of Camden come to have in the Democratic party and in its principles."

The prosecutor also prophesied greater honors in the future for the triumvirate who were the guests of the occasion.

Disclaims Harmony Rift

Mrs. Emma E. Hyland, postmaster and long a figure in Ninth Ward affairs declared she resented any newspaper stories that hinted that there was the slightest rift in the Democratic party.

She told of the trouble the Democrats in the Ninth Ward, which, she declared, had never elected a Democratic freeholder until Oscar Moore was chosen. Mrs. Hyland told of detectives shadowing her home during election, and of 'the struggles' that she and Moore had known together in fighting for the party in that bailiwick.

"I want to say" continued the postmaster, "that we must all be impressed by the spirit of harmony that this gathering means has come to pass.

"I don't want you, and I will not myself believe all you read in the newspapers declaring we are fighting among· ourselves, for if there is anything like that in progress, I don't know anything about it and I don't believe you do, either."

County Treasurer Edward J. Kelleher, hailed as "The Father of the Democratic Party in Camden County" contrasted the spectacle before him with the harmony dinner which he and others sponsored years ago.

“We sold 150 tickets," he said, "and gave away 150 more, and when the sponsors reached the hall at 7 p.m., the hour of the dinner, there wasn't a single other person on hand. Later the hall was filled, and it held 200 guests. 200 to attend a Democratic harmony dinner that embraced all of Camden county."

Officials Laud Guests

Mrs. Bertha Shippen Irving, postmaster of Haddonfield; Police Judge Gene R. Mariano and others also congratulated the guests. Mayor Brunner introduced Commissioner Frank J. Hartmann by calling attention to the cleanup campaign now under Hartmann auspices.

"Just as Hartmann is making Camden a cleaner city in which to live," said the Mayor, "so has Commissioner Kobus made the city clean from crime. The streets are clean, the city is clean, and this has only been made possible by the efforts of the three commissioners who have worked in harmony, and who are going to continue to work in harmony." Crean, Moore and Mrs. Soistmann spoke their thanks to those present for the banquet, the gifts and the sentiments expressed.

Camden Courier-Post - February 12, 1938
To Lead March

Camden Officials to Attend
Barbers' and Beauticians' Fete Monday

More than 700 persons, including Camden city and county officials, will attend the first annual ball of the Beauticians and Barbers Association to be given Monday night at the Moose ballroom, 808 Market street, Camden.

The group, a Gloucester city organization headed by Peter A. Sessa, president of the Gloucester Master Barbers, and Miss Florence Winters, president of the Beauticians, voted to hold the event in Camden because ample quarters are not available in Gloucester due to condemnation of the old city hall.

Guests at the ball will include City Commissioners Mary W. Kobus, Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., Harold W. Bennett, Frederick von Nieda and Mayor George Brunner. Other guests will be Postmaster Emma E. Hyland, Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando, Judges Joseph Varbalow and Gene Mariano, Mary Soistmann, Democratic state committeewoman, and Frank B. Hanna and Mrs. Florence Baker, members oŁ the Republican State Committee; City Solicitor Firmin Michel; Mayor John F. Gorman, of Gloucester; A. L. Kuhn, of Trenton, and Charles E. Paglucia, of Plainfield, members of the State Board of Barber Examiners; Lewis Waldman, of Trenton, president of the State Master Barbers' Association, and Vincent Ferrante, president of the Camden Master Barbers' Association.


She will lead the grand march of the first annual ball of the Beauticians and Barbers Association of Gloucester, to be held Monday night in the Moose ballroom, 808 Market street.

Music will be furnished by Bob Horton and his orchestra, and dancing will be supervised by Prof. Edward Daisey.

The committee in charge includes Lewis Kelly, chairman; Johanna Fox, secretary; Peter Pellegrino, treasurer; Verna Casey, Margaret Shuster, Catherine Moran, Effie Jones, Anna Caldwell, Florence Winters, Jean Gorman, Arthur Kinch, Nicholas Casto, Dominick La Bascio, Rocco Burgo, Peter Sessa and William Cheeseman.

Camden Courier-Post - February 23, 1938


Above: The Acres,
as viewed from Westfield Avenue.

Mary Ellen Soistmann, an "Acres" girl, 
& Meyer Wessel

Right: Mrs. Dora Feldman,
Apartment 29
Gold Star Mother

   Her son, First Lieutenant Jacob Feldman was killed under heroic circumstances. He was attached to Company D, 110th Infantry, 28th Infantry Division during World War I. He was mortally wounded on September 12, 1918, near Marancourt, France.


Click on Images to Enlarge


Above, Left and right: Waiting for the parade to begin on Beideman Avenue. 
The lot behind the crowd in the right-hand picture is the site of the present-day
Westfield Tower Apartment building:

Below Left: Baby Parade on Beideman Avenue;
Below Right: Color Guard advancing up Beideman Avenue

Above left: On parade in front of the acres, from Westfield Avenue & Dudley Street
Above right: Flag raising exercises, from Westfield Avenue & Dudley Street

Below left: View of flagpole from Dudley Street, Westfield Avenue in background.
Below right: View of flagpole from an "Acres" balcony, Westfield Avenue in background

Left: View of the crowd
in front of Building 22
(3159 Westfield Avenue)
during the patriotic exercises.
The speaker was standing
in front of a microphone,
beneath the balcony.

Picture taken from
Westfield and Dudley Avenues

Above Left: The Color Guard
Above Right: Dignitaries for the day's events

Participants in the patriotic program.
Front Row, from left to right:

Meyer Wessel, Westfield Acres Manager
Mrs. George Brunner
Mrs. Mary Ellen Soistmann,
Management Aide
Mayor George E. Bruner
Commissioner Burnell S. Hartman,
Commissioner John W. Diehl, Chairman,
Housing Authority of the City of Camden
Board of Commissioners

Below Left: Patriotic Program as seen from across Westfield Avenue
Below Right: Participants in Flag Raising exercises just before disbanding

Click on Images to Enlarge