The facts embodied in the enthusiastic report of Mrs. Boudinot Stimson, retiring president of the League of Women Voters of Radnor Township, are indeed proof of the success of the 1952-53 season for the league.
Referring back to the minutes of the first annual meeting, held more than 30 years before. Mrs. Stimson quoted their aims “to face the new task… to make their vote worthwhile.” This meeting had been held a little more than a year after the signing of the Suffrage Proclamation, making valid the 19th Amendment. In Mrs. Stimson’s opinion, the greatest difference between the past and the present of the local league is that formerly the group “concentrated more on the women in the community – while at present we work to ‘promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of all citizens in government’”.
With the enrollment of 45 new members the total had reached 255 at the time of this annual meeting in April. The cross section membership – representing as it does all social, education, economic, political and religious groups – is the best assurance that positions taken by the league on governmental issues are in the interest of the community as a whole, and not in the interest of any one set of people.
Meetings held during the past year are descriptive of league interests. In September Miss Elinor Wolf came from the state board as a speaker on international relations, while the voters’ service meeting consisted of a skit done by members of the local league. Samuel Evans, Jr., was interviewed by two members of the Radnor Township League in connection with the public health program. David Eastburn, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, was the speaker at the luncheon meeting at the Wayne Hotel, taking as his topic, “Budgetary Procedures of the Congress”. At the membership orientation meeting each chairman gave a short resume of her work. The program at the meeting on local government consisted of a skit by the local government committee.
The Radnor League and the Haverford League together conducted a panel discussion on the Revisions of the Constitution. At two evening meetings which took place at the Saturday Club the league was one of a number of sponsoring groups. And then there were two area meetings to choose the “State Item” for 1953-55.
In addition to regular meetings there were various other activities of the Radnor Township League. Among these were three study groups in three different areas of the township, Rosemont, St. Davids and Wayne. These groups took up “Tariffs and Technical Assistance to Underdeveloped Counties”, and in this connection there was a display on international trade at the [events].
During United Nations Week the league arranged for a U.N. movie, “This Is the Challenge” at the Anthony Wayne Theatre. In addition, the group had a display in the window of Wack’s Pharmacy, showing a map of the world, with strings attached to packages of drugs to indicate the countries from which they came and showing America’s interdependence on other nations for its medicine.
Among other interesting highlights of accomplishment for the year was the presentation of a handsome U.N. flag to the Wayne Grammar School, with a young Egyptian exchange student as the speaker. And in December, 36 members of the league went on a bus trip to the U.N. building in New York. On this occasion the Indian delegation gave its proposals for the peace treaty at Panmunjon in the General Assembly “with Vishinsky making his usual anti-everything speech”, to quote the league notes.
So impressed with the “spiritual qualities” of the U.N. was one of the women in the local league that she contacted the women in the Wayne Council of Churches. As a result these women, 105 strong, held a luncheon meeting for the purpose of gaining more information on the subject. “This is what we hope the league “will do in the community”, writes Mrs. Stimson, “that is, getting other organizations and citizens to take over our interests.”
In connection with the study groups on “budgetary procedures of the Congress”, the league reports much cooperation on the part of Congressman Benjamin F. James, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.
The chairman of the voters service committee reported much activity, including the distribution of 4000 General Election Candidates’ Bulletins. Her group also provided transportation to the polls on Election Day, in addition to having a window display showing location of polling places.
Among the matters of state interest that of school financing and the equalization of assessments had been the center of much interest. However, the education chairman of the local league, who has also served in the same capacity for the state league, has not found it an easy matter to arouse public opinion and to gain the cooperation of public officials. At a meeting of the county council to be held in Haverford, on May 27, this will be the main topic under discussion, with the Radnor League presenting the subject of “State Financing of Education” on the panel.
The work of the league’s public health committee falls into three main divisions: efforts to improve public health in Radnor township, education of league members, and the establishment of a public health unit in Delaware County. The committee interviews members of the board of health on such matters as quarantine laws and attention to health of food handlers. Also the matter of water pollution, especially in connection with Gulf Creek, has come up for much discussion.
The local government committee has had a season of much activity, for in addition to their own meetings, they have attended nine meetings of the Radnor Township Commissioners since January 1952.
The matter of township financing was strictly a study item, but that of working for a planning commission for the township has been less of a routine matter. Much of the ground work for the community meeting on planning held at the grammar school on April 21, was laid by the league. The capacity audience on this occasion testified to the interest of township citizens in this matter. In her report Mrs. Stimson writes, “this is what we have been hoping for… that one of our projects has stimulated citizen thinking and promoted citizen responsibility in our community.”
The legislation committee has also done its share this year by its study of apportionment and of revision of the Constitution. A display in Wack’s window of beautiful old parasols and other outdated items contrasted past with present needs, and on February 21, apportionment day in Wayne, 1000 fliers were distributed via a 1923 Model T Ford by league members dressed in old fashioned hats and dusters.
In this brief resume we have been able to touch on only the highlights of the 1952-53 season of the Radnor Township League of Women Voters. As Mrs. Stimson goes out of office she is succeeded by an equally efficient president, Mrs. Thomas C. Cochran, and the league will continue on its way, untiring and undaunted. (Conclusion)