As the work of the national secretary increased with the growth of the organization, the need became apparent for a more professional, businesslike management of the Fraternity’s affairs.
In 1919, the convention body determined a central office be established,
and filled by Mary Emma Griffith Marshall (Lambda, Syracuse).
The idea was to combine the offices of editor of The Lyre, business manager, national secretary, keeper of supplies and secretary of the alumnae association.
and decreased expenses of other officers—requiring no additional financial burden to collegiate chapters.
In a letter dated September 12, 1919, Mary Emma wrote to chapters:
It is my hope to organize the work of the fraternity in such a way as to lighten the ‘burden’ of each of you,
if your fraternity work ever has been a ‘burden,’ and to establish a clearing house through which many
of the matters concerning which you formerly wrote to a number of people may pass.
I know that you will be glad to help
Determining the role of the central office and the amount of time needed
to support its operations was not without its growing pains and concerns,
especially as Mary Emma strove to find the balance between her personal and professional life and approached the job with
“resourcefulness, zeal, and business and editorial acumen”—all while working with a fairly makeshift operation.
D.C., with Mary Emma serving as secretary-editor in charge of the office’s administration.
But the 1919 decision was a valid one.
Beatrice Herron Brown, National President from 1924-1928, described the central office’s infancy in this way:
The year 1919 marked the parting of the ways; the war was over and the postponed national convention held.
Times had changed and Alpha Chi Omega had met the challenge of the new era
… A full-time, salaried officer was placed in command!
Perhaps the fraternity did not then fully realize the great impetus education was to receive within the next decade,
or dream that within that space of time twenty-five new chapters would be established,
the membership would be more than doubled,
the financial organization would mount into the hundreds of thousands;
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