Hulda DeFreese was born in 1908 in Hillburn and attended the segregated Brook School. She later advanced to Suffern High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Geneseo College in Upstate New York, and a Master of Arts from New York University in New York City.
Hulda taught at the segregated Brook Elementary School in Hillburn for over 11 years before joining the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) during World War II in 1942. She utilized her skills as an artist by working as a cartographer and blue print technician creating maps of the Mountains surrounding Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Cartography is the study and practice of making maps where reality and spatial information is communicated and modeled. Hulda’s maps were an important tool for soldiers during training maneuvers in the mountains. These trainings were a critical component of the preparation for soldiers before embarking overseas to the war.
We honor Hulda DeFreese as a Hillburn educator and for her role in a nontraditional field during WWII.