For Black History Month, the AFRO presents a series of articles highlighting important local heroes from the paper’s archives. We start off this week with Lillian Nutter, an expert watch repairer.

WomanWatchRepair
In 1940, Lillian Nutter was nominated for the AFRO’s Hall of Fame. (AFRO File Photo)

Because she is one of the few women in this country who are expert watch-repairers, Mrs. Lillian Nutter of 1719 Harlem Avenue is this week’s nominee for the AFRO’s Hall of Fame.

For more than five years, Mrs. Nutter has worked daily alongside of Colvin R. Nutter, her husband, helping to repair watches and clocks, at their store in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Has Charming Manner

Mrs. Nutter is not the type of woman you would expect to see sitting at a work bench in a jewelry store – that is, if you would expect to see any woman handling that type of work. Small, pleasant-faced, and the possessor of a charming manner, she has the appearance, instead, of a woman whose interest rarely go beyond her home.

Bearing the maiden name of Gray, Mrs. Nutter is a native of Calvert County, Md., and is one of a family of seven children. Before her marriage, she supported herself by her work as a seamstress.

‘Twas Love at First Sight

Approximately seven years ago, she met Mr. Nutter, one Sunday afternoon, when her sister invited him to her house for dinner. It was love at first sight, and, shortly afterwards, they were married.

Right away, Mrs. Nutter began to take an active interest in her husband’s jewelry business. Beginning in his store as a clerk and secretary, later she began studying the art of repairing timepieces under his guidance, and, in a year’s time, she was far enough advanced to handle the simple repair work.

Now, she is fully capable of handling a watch repairing establishment by herself, and, according to Mr. Nutter, is an expert on both the theory and practice of watch repairing.

Aside from all of this, Mr. Nutter declares that Mrs. Nutter is positively the best cook in the city, and is the only person he has ever known who could cook a turkey to suit his taste.

Loves to Cook

Mrs. Nutter readily admitted that she loved to cook, and also liked to read and play tennis. Not caring for fiction, her reading is generally confined to biographies, books on metaphysics, and other non-fiction works.

Having been coached by her husband, who is himself a player of no mean ability, Mrs. Nutter has made such rapid strides in her tennis that she is now thinking seriously of entering one or two of larger tournaments this year.

She’s a Bit Modest

Along with her husband, she has been a member of Metropolitan Methodist Church for a number of years. There are no children.

Although she is a rather frank person, Mrs. Nutter is just a little modest when there is any mention of the fact that her advancement in her chosen profession has made her an outstanding character. Yet, her explanation of it all is that she thinks every woman should interest herself in her husband’s business, and help him as much as possible to make is successful.