Biography and History

Anne Clark Martindell was born in New York City's Park Plaza hotel on July 18, 1914. She attended boarding school in Maryland and enrolled at Smith College in 1932. After her first year at Smith, Martindell's father insisted that she return home, maintaining that no man would want to marry an educated woman. (Martindell, who had wanted to go on to law school, would later return to Smith College and earn her bachelor's degree in the class of 2002, at the age of 87. She was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.) After leaving Smith, Martindell married George Scott, with whom she had three children. Martindell divorced Scott after thirteen years of marriage. She later married Jackson Martindell, owner of the Who's Who publications, and had a son.

Martindell was in her fifties when she first became active in politics. She attended the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago in support of Senate candidate Eugene McCarthy, where she observed the violence against protesters of the Vietnam War. Shortly thereafter, she was invited to become vice-chair of the New Jersey Democratic Party. After four years in that post, Martindell was encouraged to run for the state senate seat in predominantly Republican Mercer County, and after an unexpected victory she spent her four-year term concentrating on women's issues, education, and the environment. While in the state senate, she served as chair of the Education Committee, member of the Appropriations Committee, chair of the Budget Revision Subcommittee for Higher Education, chair of the Joint State Library Committee, member of the Senate Nursing Home Commission, and chair of the Committee to Defeat Casino Gambling.

Martindell attended the 1976 Democratic National Convention as a Carter delegate, and was an active voice for Jimmy Carter throughout New Jersey. After Carter's election to the presidency, Martindell was appointed to the Commission to Review Ambassadorial Appointments, and went on to become director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), part of the State Department's Agency for International Development. In the course of her work for OFDA, she surveyed the reconstruction efforts at natural disaster sites throughout the world. This work would eventually bring her to the attention of the Ambassadorship Review Board. She was later nominated for the ambassadorship to New Zealand and Western Samoa in 1979, and served in that capacity until 1981.

During her two-year term as ambassador, Martindell traveled widely, and worked hard to improve and maintain positive relations between the U. S. and New Zealand. As the first female ambassador to New Zealand, she faced some resistance, but her persistence and personal charm endeared her to the people of New Zealand. She met New Zealand painter Tosswill Woollaston during her time as ambassador, and maintained a close relationship with him until his death in 1998.

After returning from New Zealand, Martindell retained close ties with the country, helping to found the United States-New Zealand Council in 1986. Though she continued to travel frequently, Martindell remained active in New Jersey politics as a fundraiser and donor

Source: From the finding aid for MC203

  • Anne Martindell Papers. 1898-2008 (inclusive), 1968-1990 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC203

    Anne Martindell was one of the first three women to serve in the New Jersey State Senate. After her four-year term ended in 1977, she served as director of the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, and was ambassador to New Zealand and Western Samoa for a two-year term. The papers document her career in politics and civil service, and also contain her unpublished memoirs and personal papers.