The daughter of traveling performers, Wilhelmina Packard grew up on the road. At the age of 16, she joined the Flora Dora Girls. Toured for two seasons as an exotic dancer. First documented marriage to U.S. Cavalry Officer Dennis Whitehead, June 1870. Widowed February 1871.
Married to Pennsylvania State Representative Grover Truman May 1871. Rep. Truman arrested for bigamy June 1871; marriage annulled. While Wilhelmina worked variously as a waitress, dance hall girl, and seamstress, her interests began to take her into the field of electronic communication devices. After the Dr. Loomis affair, she married no fewer than six husbands between the years of 1876 to 1890. After Dr. Stubblefield, Mrs. Packard again married, this time to Chichester Bell, cousin of Alexander Graham Bell, 1893. Divorced later the same year.
Mrs. Packard met her most recent husband while at the Bell Aerial Experiment Association in 1907. Curtis Packard coupled a passion for electronic communication with the notion of heavier-than-air flight. Mrs. Packard was widowed in 1912. Currently on retainer as research and development chief for Communications Division.
According to writer Tab Murphy, Mrs. Packard was conceived by producer Don Hahn. Hahn came into an early story meeting one day to pitch the idea of a chain-smoking broad, likening her to some of the characters that have been performed by Lily Tomlin. There was concern about the idea of a character who was not a villain to be smoking through nearly all her scenes, but it, fortunately, was left in.
The supervising animator of Packard was David Pruiksma. Much like Vinny Santorini, Packard did not move all that often. Pruiksma felt that the lack of movement needed to be taken a step further. He noted that a lot of the character's acting came not from action, but from finding the right attitude and merely milking it to squints and head tilts, reasoning one could get so much from just one drawing.
Florence Stanley provided the voice of Packard. Considering the character cynical and secure, Stanley was allowed the freedom to add to Packard's personality through improvising some of her dialogue, which was largely reactionary. Just a few months after recording dialogue for Packard again in the sequel, Stanley passed away from complications from a stroke on October 3, 2003.
Stanley felt that Packard was very "cynical" and "secure." He claimed that "she does her job and when she is not busy she does anything she wants."
Wilhelmina Packard (Mrs.) worked as a research assistant and reputed mistress of Dr. Mahlon Loomis from July to November of 1875. Developed the Galvanometer, and with the help of Dr. Loomis, the concept of Hertzian Wave Application.
Worked as a research assistant and eventually as a full partner to Dr. Nathan Stubblefield, developing the vibrating telephone in 1888. Married Dr. Stubblefield, 1891. Secured Congressional Appropriation of $50,000 for further development of work. The appropriation was never forthcoming, for reasons known only to Congress. Divorced Dr. Stubblefield, 1893. Traveled and worked with Guglielmo Marconi, 1898-1901. Instrumental in December Trans-Atlantic broadcast. Worked as a research fellow for Victor Talking Machine, 1902-04. Developed Sodion Non-Regenerative Detector, 1902.
Developed Bornite Movable Cup Perkion Detector, 1903. Worked for Atwater-Kent 1904-1907. Helped develop Radak Type R-4 Regenerative Circuit and holds the sole patent for the Orthosonic Circuit. Worked for Magnavox 1907-1912. Developed AC-3-C Battery.
Packard participates in the expedition that locates the Shepherd's Journal in Iceland. She is later talked into agreeing to locate a giant crystal pictured in the book and sell it on the black market for a hefty price.
Packard serves as communications officer of the expedition to Atlantis, making announcements when she had to while being on the phone with one of her friends when there is nothing more she can do. Aboard the Ulysses, she is able to pick up the strange radio signal that belongs to the Leviathan before being ordered to make the announcement of all hands to abandon ship.
Packard is hardly involved during the journey to Atlantis. Lacking any sort of communication to the surface to talk with her friends, she instead takes pictures of whatever catches her fancy. She is known to sleep in the nude regardless of the surroundings she is in, leading to the others to wear masks as she apparently sleepwalks.
When the Heart of Atlantis is recovered, Milo James Thatch makes a plea to the others regarding what their actions will do. Packard, with some seeming reluctance, is among those who side with Milo and participates in the battle to stop Commander Lyle Rourke. Again, she is hardly involved and merely takes pictures from the flying stone fish vehicle she shares with Cookie Farnsworth.
Packard is honored for her bravery in saving Atlantis. Upon returning to the surface, she would outfit her crystal as a decoration for her hat. She has no trouble remembering the cover story, though she often has to hit Cookie over the head for him to remember. Her photos are examined by Preston Whitmore and presumably maintained in his possession.
Packard would join the others in returning to Atlantis briefly in informing Milo and Queen Kidagakash of what is happening on the surface.
Wilhelmina Packard only appeared in "Dining Goofy".
- Packard was the last of Milo's group to abandon Rourke before he and Helga left Atlantis with its heart and Kida.
- Coincidentally enough, while the first Atlantis marked the last role of actor Jim Varney due to him dying of cancer prior to that film's release, its sequel Milo's Return was Florence Stanley's (Packard's voice actress) final role since she died a few months after that film was released.
- Packard is also the last animated Disney character to be seen smoking.