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In the beginning

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1952 – Present

In the beginning...

At the National Convention in Houston, Texas, July 1951, the idea of State Organization (as it was then called) was born, and a committee was appointed to investigate the benefits to be derived. The purpose of the State Organization was to create a closer relationship between the National Association and the local chapters, to relieve the national officers of responsibilities which could be handled by state officers, to create a clearing house for information and problems between local chapters and the national association, to enlarge chapter viewpoints, to create a closer bond between the various chapters within a state, and to aid in training members for national office by having them come up through the ranks of chapter and state.

Also during 1951, Houston was named as one of the first CPS® examination test centers and the National Secretary of the Year was Lorene Bolt CPS, of Tower Lights Chapter, Austin, Texas. Gertrude E. Berkman CPS was appointed to the Institute for Certifying Secretaries.

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July 1952

At the National Convention held in Washington, DC, State Organization was adopted on a two-year trial basis. Shella Sharpe of Wichita Falls, then Southwest District Vice President, appointed the first officers of the Texas-Louisiana state organization:
President Bess Oliver, Tower Lights Chapter (Austin)

Secretary Lillie Wehe, Anacacho Chapter (San Antonio)

Treasurer Charlie Meadows, Sun and Sage Chapter (El Paso)
These officers served during the 1952-53 year. In a meeting in Austin, Texas, on January 17 and 18, 1953, the officers voted to invite the New Mexico chapters to join in a tri-state organization, appointed Lucille Kelly of Trinity Chapter (Fort Worth) to draft the bylaws, appointed several other committees, and worked out plans for financing the things that needed to be done. Each chapter was asked to contribute 25 cents a member as dues for the balance of the fiscal year.
The 1st Annual Meeting was held in Amarillo on April 25-26, 1953, with 18 of the 22 chapters in the Texas-Louisiana-New Mexico State Organization represented. Virginia Bell served as Parliamentarian. Bylaws were adopted, and dues were assessed at 50 cents per member. Since there were only about 400 members, the dues provided an inadequate budget, so Gateway Chapter (Laredo) brought 100 pounds of onions to the Annual Meeting to be sold at $1.00 per pound to provide money to help defray the expenses of the state officers


President Bess Oliver, Tower Lights Chapter (Austin)

Vice President Lucille Kelly, Trinity Chapter (Fort Worth)

Secretary Eleanor Lavelle, Woodworth Chapter (Port Arthur)

Treasurer Charlie Meadows, Sun and Sage Chapter (El Paso)
The 2nd Annual Meeting was held in April 1954, in Laredo, Texas, with Gateway Chapter as host. This time a bazaar netted $200 to add to the state treasury.


President Eleanor Lavelle, Woodworth Chapter (Port Arthur)

Vice President Lucille Kelly, Trinity Chapter (Fort Worth)

* Lanier Harris, Sun and Sage Chapter (El Paso)

Secretary Virginia Bell, Big D Chapter (Dallas)

Treasurer Violet Robbins, Gateway Chapter (Laredo)
During the year, Lucille Kelly resigned and Lanier Harris of Sun and Sage Chapter (El Paso) was appointed vice president. President Eleanor Lavelle initiated the Division Officer visits with chapters, visiting 20, and sent letters each month to the chapters to pass on the latest news and upcoming business of the association.
Two chapters were installed:

Tyler on 2/12/55 by Big D (Dallas)

Bryan-College Station by Houston
A Lake Jackson man was the first in the division to receive a CPS certificate (and the second male in the United States).
In July 1954, state organization was officially adopted at the National Convention in New York City. The T-L-NM state organization had its first advertisement in the convention program.
The 3rd Annual Meeting was held in Austin, Texas, with Tower Lights Chapter as host.


President Virginia Bell, Big D Chapter (Dallas)

Vice President Violet Robbins, Gateway Chapter (Laredo)

Secretary Lutie Ruth Carter, Tower Lights Chapter (Austin)

Treasurer Linda Newsom CPS, Desk Set Chapter (Corpus Christi)
The national convention was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 1955, and the state organization had its name changed to “division.” Early in 1956, the New Mexico chapters withdrew and joined their closer neighbors in Arizona to form the Arizona-New Mexico Division. Eleanor Lavelle, Woodworth Chapter (Port Arthur), was elected Southwest District vice president.
The idea for the Chapter Procedure Manual was proposed and accepted in September 1955. The committee named to undertake the project included: Ruth Williams Latz CPS, Houston Chapter; Margery Norris CPS, Galveston County Chapter; and Dorothea Jackson, Orange Chapter.
New chapters installed:

3/24/56 Sherman by Big D (Dallas)

7/24/55 Tall Timber (Lufkin-Nacogdoches) by Houston

5/17/56 Beaumont by Woodworth (Port Arthur)

Galveston County chapter (newly chartered by Houston Chapter), in their NSA enthusiasm, bid to host the annual meeting and their bid was accepted. Galveston County hosted the April annual meeting. At this meeting, the first CPS Award and first Bulletin Award were presented.

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