An Ode to the Secretary

This is the final post in a week-long series marking Administrative Professionals Week and written by Ketina Taylor (Archivist) and Jenny Sweeney (Education Specialist) of the National Archives at Fort Worth. Don’t miss their posts from day oneday twoday three and day four.

This week’s posts have highlighted the role of secretaries in the late 1950s and early 1960s by taking a glimpse into the Records of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (RG 300). In many ways the information is outdated and at times even comical. The work secretaries performed, however, was vital to the running of private businesses and government agencies throughout the country. Pink collar jobs allowed thousands of women to join the workforce and provided a gateway for their daughters and granddaughters to enter into a wide variety of other professions.

A poem found in these records emphasizes the many roles secretaries play, the characteristics they must possess, and the lack of appreciation they receive for their work. According to the handwritten note at the bottom of the page, this poem was “mimeographed for handout at secretarial conference” (Online Catalog ID 7280724).

Today, the important and relevant work that Administrative Professionals carry out is celebrated during Administrative Professionals Week. Please don’t forget to honor those individuals who handle the mountains of necessary administrative tasks in your office!

Double-click on the image below to enlarge:

This item was sent to the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training by the FAA and was used in secretarial training in Waco, Texas (online catalog identifier 7280704).