Mary Electa Bidwell (May 9, 1881 - April 25, 1996) [1]was an American supercentenarian. She died at 114 years and 352 days, making her the 25th oldest person to ever live and the oldest American living at the time of her death. She was also the oldest person ever to die in Connecticut. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Her parents were Charles Woodruff Bidwell and Alice Beach Nobel. She was a descendant of John Bidwell, one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut. Bidwell worked as a teacher in a one-room school house for six years. She married Charles Hubbell Bidwell, a distant cousin, in 1906. [2]

Bidwell lived on her own in North Haven, Connecticut until she was 110. Bidwell died at the Arden House, a nursing home in Hamden, Connecticut. [1] [4] She was the last surviving person documented as born in 1881.


  1. ^ a b Social Security Death Index; 040383799
  2. ^ a b "Life is Long.". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-09. "There are certain conventions to telling the oldest-living-American story. We feel compelled to note that Mary Bidwell, who died two weeks shy of her 115th birthday, had a weakness for coffee. ... Mrs. Bidwell's husband died at 93 in 1975; their only son had been dead since 1945. Mrs. Thompson outlived two husbands and several children." 
  3. ^ "Mary Electa Bidwell. Oldest person in the USA.". Bidwell House Museum. 1996. Retrieved 2007-12-09. "According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Mary Electa Bidwell, at 114, is the oldest person in the United States. Born in 1881, to Charles Woodruff Bidwell and Alice Beach Nobel, Mary Bidwell's life spans the time from kerosene lamps to home computers, from horse and wagons to automobiles." 
  4. ^ a b "Oldest person in the U.S. still teaching life lessons.". CNN. Retrieved 2007-12-09. "... Mary Bidwell has a long memory because she has had a long life. At 114, she is the oldest person in the United States. ... The Guinness Book of Records verified Mrs. Bidwell's age too late to get her into the 1996 edition. ... Mary Bidwell's notoriety has sparked the interest of David Letterman, who wanted to fly her to New York to appear on his TV show. But she said she was not interested." 
  5. ^ "Mary Electa Bidwell". Washington Post. April 27, 1996. "Mary Electa Bidwell, who in Nov 1995 was said to be the oldest living American woman, died Apr 25, 1996 at the age of 114." 
  6. ^ "Mary Electa Bidwell, 114, was oldest living American.". Associated Press. April 28, 1996. "Mary Electa Bidwell, the oldest-living American, has died at 114. Mrs. Bidwell, born May 9, 1881, when James Garfield was president and Queen Victoria ruled half the world, died Thursday at a convalescent home in Hamden. Her grandson, William Bradford Bidwell, said she began to fail physically during the past two months. When the Guinness Book of Records recognized Mrs. Bidwell as the oldest-living American in November 1995, she said she did not have the answer to her ..." 
  7. ^ "Oldest US woman is 114, from Conneticut.". Boston Globe. December 8, 1995. "The Guinness Book of Records has recognized a Hamden woman as the oldest person in the United States. But 114-year-old Mary Electa Bidwell can't read about it yet because the 1996 edition already has gone to press. Bidwell was born on May 9, 1881, two months before President Garfield was shot. She isn't sure why she's lived so long, but she's proud of her achievement. I feel I must be very good indeed." 

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