Preserving club history was one item on the agenda when the Ohio Valley Business and Professional Women met Jan. 17 at the Best Western Plus University Inn, Steubenville.
The club presented program books from 1929 through 1975 to Eleanor Naylor, there on behalf of the Jefferson County Historical Association.
These program booklets are similar to what the Woman's Club of Steubenville and Woman's Club of Wintersville produce each year - booklets that I have come to appreciate because they're helpful in my capacity as a newspaper person. They list, for example, club information, members' names and contact information, and the speakers at the monthly meetings.
From left, seated Shannon Minch-Hughes, Eleanor Naylor, Phyllis Riccadonna, and standing, Janet Niederhuber, MaryAnn Donnelly, Mary Lou Jones, Sara Provenzano, Kris Provenzano, Lorraine Linton and Ame Taggart look over some old program books of the Ohio Valley Business and Professional Women’s Club at its meeting January meeting.
-- Janice R. Kiaski
The local BPW chapter decided that it was a good idea to present their old program books to the association so they're preserved for posterity, so they don't end up in a box in a closet, maybe, to ultimately be recycled or "retired" to a landfill.
Ame Taggart, club treasurer, introduced Naylor, who is the historical association's first vice president, and commented that the books are pretty interesting to glance through. Among other things, the books list members' occupations.
"There were bookkeepers, secretaries and also presidents of companies back in 1929," Taggart said, noting the chapter has been in existence since 1922.
The books also have been scanned in by Sandy Day of the local history room at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County so people doing family genealogy research, for example, can have access to that information as well.
Naylor addressed the women as an advocate for the historical association with its museum and Vivian Snyder Genealogy Library located at 426 Franklin Ave., Steubenville, but also as president of Barium & Chemicals in Pottery Addition, "a women-owned family business," according to its website.
Naylor said she was honored the club thought of the association because the museum is the repository of all things historical in Jefferson County. She described the program booklets as "a treasure."
"I am very proud of the historical society," said Naylor, who encouraged the women to visit the museum, which is open March through November. The historical association has about 276 members, most of whom are life members. It doesn't have too many young members because as Naylor explained, people don't generally become interested in history until they're 35 or 40,
Naylor has been on the board since 1991 and recalled how the museum hosted what was the chamber of commerce's first Business After Hours networking event. "We had over 250 people down at the museum, and we've been trying ever since then to get that many back," she said. "It's a marvelous place," she added, noting it has always been her dream that the museum could also include a nationalities room that would showcase the community's ethnic diversity.
Naylor shared some of her personal and professional history, explaining that she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in business administration even though it was her intention to be a kindergarten teacher.
Her dad, the late Albert Pavlik, made that decision for her despite her protests. "He said 'If I am paying the bill, that's where you're going,'" she told the BPW group.
"I never did tell my dad that this was just right when the veterans were coming back from the second World War, and I was the only girl and there were 500 boys in the School of Business Administration," she said. It was where she met her husband, the late Douglas Naylor.
That story generated some laughter among the group.
When she graduated from Pitt, Naylor had an offer from Koppers, which at the time was beginning to hired women in capacities other than as a file clerk or secretary, but again, her father intervened, instructing her to turn it down. When Naylor asked why, his response was "You're a girl, and you have to stay home."
"But as I look back it was the best possible thing for me because at that time I graduated, I knew what I was doing, I went to work in Willoughby, I had a marvelous education, I've done a lot and I've gone places where women never went before but I did learn one thing - a woman is a woman, a man is a man," she said, noting women can go far in the world but they have to use their womanly skills as well as their brains.
Barium & Chemicals was incorporated in 1937 by Naylor's parents and operated in Willoughby, Ohio. In 1960 it moved operations to the local area after buying the Steubenville Pottery facility.
During the war years, the company's claim to fame was the powder used in tracer ammunition, according to Naylor, who noted her father went all over the United States and got government contracts.
In the did you know category, it's barium that keeps plastic from yellowing, and it's barium that makes an air bag in a car activate.
The facility has a working lab that previously was male dominated but now has women chemists, Naylor said.
"We have women power and believe in it," Naylor said. "There's nothing like a woman. You tell a woman she can't do it, and she'll find a way that she can and she will," Naylor said.
In other business at the BPW January meeting:
The organization will again this year be awarding three $500 scholarships - one to a high school student going on to college; one specifically to a Nike Club member at Steubenville High School since the Nike Club is the BPW's sister organization; and one to a nontraditional student.
The group will host the regional meeting, which will be held Feb. 11 beginning at 9 a.m. at the YWCA in Steubenville.
Phyllis Riccadonna becomes president-elect June 1 of the Ohio Business and Professional Women, which has a statewide membership of close to 800. In 2013, she will become president.
The next meeting will be held Feb. 21 at the Best West Plus University Inn, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Ohio Valley BPW is open to working or retired women for education, networking and lobbying. It meets September through May on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Plus University Inn Steubenville.
The meetings include dinner and guest speakers whose topics range from social networking to customer service to financial issues.
For information call Shannon Minch-Hughes, president, at (740) 283-2484 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.