KNEW MRS FLORENCE TERRY GRISWOLD
Mrs. Frank W. Sorell (Jeannette), Alliance Division Chairman, 1955
I have been asked by Mrs. Pumphrey to write of Mrs. Florence Terry Griswold as I knew her. She was born in Eagle Pass, May 29, 1875, on that long borderline between Mexico and Texas. She spoke Spanish before she did English, thanks to the Spanish maid, made many friends on both sides of the Rio Grande River, was known as a pretty, vivacious, fun-loving girl and a friend to many - a real brunette, five feet and four inches tall.
Talent for organizational work was recognized when they elected her National Committeewoman for the Republican Party of Texas. She was very active in the work to get the right for women to vote. After being a widow for several years, she married Mr. J.C. Griswold.
In 1913, a revolution was started in Mexico. By 1914, many citizens left for the United States. A number of families came to San Antonio. This sudden change in their lives made it hard for them. Mrs. Griswold was untiring in her efforts to make things more pleasant for them, called on them in their homes, often took them to places of interest in the city, gave many luncheons and evening parties in her home, asking different ones of her friends in to meet them. This work had much to do in turning her thoughts to organizing a Pan American Round Table. Back forty years ago when Mrs. Griswold started in to organize the Table, women were not looked on as the strong force in public affairs they are today. If she had not been a woman with a masterful vision, forceful but pleasing conversationalist, and a very determined person, it is very doubtful she would have sold her ideas to this first small group of women. Was strong in the belief and often said "When the women of this hemisphere understand each other, the men can no longer misunderstand. "
The first Director General of the Pan American Union, Mr. John Barrett, a friend, encouraged her in this work. He was a great help in directing the methods of forming a strong organization of the first Pan American Round Table so it would coincide with the ideas of the Pan American Union in Washington. The first Table was organized at the Menger Hotel October 16, 1916. Mrs. Griswold was made Director General of the Table, remained in this office until she left us July, 1941.
This group was at work long before the Good Neighbor Policy or the Good Neighbor Commission was started. It was not easy with the first small membership to handle the finances of the Table. She had a heavy correspondence, remarkable ability to keep up with the people of note passing through the city, from North or South, entertained them, or perhaps just a bouquet of flowers in their hotel room. Much information was sent out to women of other countries. She had sold several of the men of the city on her plans. Many times in the early work when the Table was short of funds they gave generously, until the Table was able to take care of itself. At that time, the Table met twice a month, one time for business, so the members were kept in touch with every thought or suggestion in regard to this work. The other meeting in the month a speaker gave something interesting or instructive on some American country. At roll call a member representing one of the countries answered with a brief report on something that had happened during that month in her country. This helped keep us abreast of the news over America. The first international meeting for organizing of other Tables outside of Texas and the United States was in Mexico City, then in Cuba.
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