On February 21, 1934, the Vineland Times Journal included a small article titled “Car Inventor Buried Here” in that day’s edition. The subheading read “E.T. Woodruff Mentioned on Radio Last Night by Harvey Firestone.” Once again, it seems, a local person had made a major contribution to American culture that was essentially unrecognized until Day Otis (D.O.) Kellogg unearthed it. The article read: "The inventor of the sleeping car is buried in a Vineland cemetery. His name was not Pullman, but E.T. Woodruff. Tribute to Woodruff as the first man to build a sleeping car was paid last night by Harvey Firestone, tire manufacturer, in a radio address dealing with the development of the American railroad. When Mr. Firestone mentioned Woodruff’s contribution to American transportation, Herbert Walls, of Howard street, recalled the fact that the inventor lived and died in South Vineland. 'He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery under a large slab marked 'E.T. Woodruff, Inventor,' Mr. Walls said today.
An old edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica makes the following mention of the South Vineland man’s invention: “In 1854 sleeping cars having the same general features as those now in use were introduced. This car provided seats for about sixty passengers and at night these seats were converted into flat berths. The inventor was Theodore T. Woodruff. The right to build and operate the car was later acquired by Webster Wagner.” (The “E” in “E.T.” was probably a typographical error on the newspaper’s part.)
It was not until ten years later that the Pullman cars were introduced. The edition of the encyclopedia in which the reference to Woodruff appeared was prepared by Kellogg, himself a Vineland resident.
Naomi Ingraldi and Warren Crescenzo, two of the Vineland Historical & Antiquarian Society’s (VHAS) Board of Trustee members, recently made an appearance on The Bob Romano Show on Cruisin’ 92.1 WVLT. As special guests on the program, Ingraldi and Crescenzo enjoyed their experience and had a great time shedding some light about the venerable Society. “It was a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere and a lot of fun,” said Ingraldi, who became a Board member in 2020. “We had three Vineland trivia questions for the audience – and they got them all!” “I hosted a telephone-talk show back in the 1970s,” said Crescenzo, who also joined the Board in 2020, “and I have always appreciated hearing ideas from the public.”
The number of interested and informed callers to The Bob Romano Show reached double digits. “Some had stories or details to add to historic events,” said Crescenzo. “It is an informal way to add to the historic notes of our city.” The two VHAS representatives had a fantastic time conversing with Romano and the audience members who phoned into the program. “My favorite moments were the callers who shared their Vineland stories with us,” Ingraldi revealed. “Every family here has a story! The more stories we hear, the more connections we have to Vineland and each other.” “I had mentioned the KKK attack on the Italian population in Vineland,” Crescenzo added. “A listener called to add specific details of the event, as told to him by his father and another person who led the resistance.”
“Thanks to Bob Romano for showcasing the Historical Society on his show,” said Ingraldi. “We truly appreciated it!” After having a successful stint as guests on The Bob Romano Show, Crescenzo and Ingraldi are thankful to have had an opportunity to spread awareness about the Museum. They also shared some thoughts about the future state of the Vineland Historical & Antiquarian Society. “I would like to see our VHAS become more prominent and become the go to place when historic information is needed,” said Crescenzo. “There is a lot of work ahead for the Board and we are ready to meet the challenge,” said Ingraldi, who’s thrilled to be a VHAS Board member. “We will be focusing on membership, community awareness, outreach to the schools, interesting events and presentations relevant to Vineland, local history, and more. So, stay tuned
Long before the appearance of "Boardwalk Empire," many authors set their stories against a South Jersey backdrop. See how many look familiar and how many you should add to your reading list!