Recollections of our Sacramento Branch Executive Secretary/Treasurer by Pat Stilwell

Gestetner machine

The year was 1975. The Sacramento Branch, with 1,100 members, was in need of centralization of some of its functions such as addressing and mailing the newsletter, duplicating materials and collecting money. Finding a member who would volunteer to perform those duties on a regular basis was getting harder, so the branch board decided to create a paid position. This job was to be handled out of the Executive  Secretary/Treasurer’s home and required space for equipment and supplies.

By today’s standards, the equipment used would seem archaic! For instance, after picking up the newsletters from the printer, a hand operated device that used a metal plate which was embossed with the member’s name and address was used to address each newsletter. Each individual plate had to be inserted into the inking slot, and a handle was depressed to print the name and address on the newsletter. (That was only 43 years ago!) Imagine pulling down on a lever to address a newsletter 1,100 times every month.

In addition there was a Gestetner machine. Don’t know what a Gestetner is? It was a piece of equipment for duplicating flyers, reports, minutes, etc. It required typing on a typewriter on special paper. The paper was wound around a drum, and as it went around it turned out the needed documents. (Thank heavens it wasn’t hand cranked!) It was large and made lots of clicking noise!

The money collected included dues, donations, event fees, etc. Money was recorded and reported to the appropriate officer/chair and deposited in the bank. This meant that there was lots of mail for the Executive Secretary/Treasurer’s mailbox and many trips to the bank.

The Executive Secretary/Treasurer attended all board meetings to listen to plans that would include any function of the position.

As the branch membership declined and computers came on the scene, the duties of the Executive Secretary/Treasurer reverted to individual officers/chairs.

Personal Note: I loved this job. I made lifelong friends through AAUW and I will always be grateful to Sacramento AAUW for the experience and training it provided as I transitioned to the position as Office Manager for California AAUW in 1985.