1961: Sally Farris joins the staff

As they approached their centennial year, the Historical Society of Delaware began planning for the future. In the letters and minutes of 1961, the board discussed staffing and storage needs. They agreed that the staff, comprised mainly of women, was aging. They assessed the productivity of the existing staff and began looking for ways to meet their growing needs. In her letter to Society president John Christie, Executive Secretary Marion Reed stated, “Increasing the full-time members of the staff from two to three will relieve me of some of the pressures which result from the great amount of unfinished work that should be done in order to have a better functioning society.”

Subsequently, the Society hired Sally Farris, their third full-time staff member, later that year.  Prior to her professional appointment, Farris spent two years with the organization as a Hagley fellow. As Mrs. Reed writes in her letter, “Mrs. Farris was an English major as an undergraduate, taught school before coming to Hagley, and expects to get another teaching job next year, unless she is appointed to this position, which she would prefer, in spite of higher teachings salaries. (She did some volunteer history society work in New Jersey before coming to Delaware, and likes this kind of work).”

This move was the first of many in the 1960s that steered the Society towards becoming a more efficient, professional organization that could take on the many responsibilities of a statewide agency.


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