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Newspaper Clippings for
January, 1950

from the Bell Telephone News January 1950 issue
Barbara Pope
Career Girl and Farmer at Heart
THROUGHOUT BARBARA POPE'S career runs the thread of her interest in people. It is not surprising then to find her in a position that deals with people. She is assistant secretary of the Employees' Benefit Committee.
It is one of the top jobs for women in the company. It is not exactly common for a woman to hold the job-one other woman has held the title.
Seated in her very modest private office, one notices right off the bat several things about her. There is a sincere, friendly smile, an easy naturalness of manner, devoid of "business woman brusqueness," and a well dressed, modish appearance.
The Benefit Committee, you remember, is the group of officials and department heads who pass on applications for sickness, accident arid death benefits, and on pensions. It is Barbara's work, together with that of the other assistant secretary, G. W. Heywood, and of her boss, E. M. Brown, secretary of the committee, to furnish the committee with complete information regarding the cases. Old cases, too, are reviewed to see if payments should be adjusted.
Sometimes Need Rare Judgment
Barbara and the two men also must make a recommendation. Sometimes that's pretty automatic. Sometimes it calls for rare judgment and understanding, and delving into case histories for a precedent, or calling AT&T in New York for consultation.
She takes turns with the other two sitting in on the weekly meetings of the committee, supplying added information where needed.
Fourteen girls reporting to her assist her in the clerical work of handling the 200 some cases weekly, and of maintaining the extensive files of names.
Some of the problems which come up to her are: Does a girl on sickness disability still warrant continued payments? Is the widow who is receiving death benefit payment a hardship case-ought she to have extra relief help? Or is a pensioner a hardship case? Should he have a supplementary pension?
Sometimes a problem takes a bizarre turn. There was the time she had to consider whether the family of a girl who seemed to have been drowned was entitled to benefits. The body was not recovered. Legally, the girl was not dead.
While Barbara rarely deals with an applicant in person, yet she is working with people and their problems, and so is happy. Early in her career, her "humanitarian" phase got detoured temporarily when she decided her talents were statistical and majored in economics at Barnard College, in New York.
But it cropped up again to stay when she took a position with the Illinois Bell as district force supervisor for ER District in 1930. Going over peg counts, supervising force loads for the central offices, she was working with chief operators and the girls of the offices. This, she was finding, this working with the human element, was what she really wanted. A training period of two years as special studies clerk in the general traffic supervisor's office preceded the job.
Seven years later she landed on the division force adjustment staff. In 1939 came a period at the Women's Employment Office, latterly as interviewer. When a personnel assistant was, needed in the office of the secretary of the Benefit Committee, in 1945, they thought of Barbara Pope. She was given her present position two years later.
While she knows her job inside and out, her life has by no means been one-sided. Consistently, she is secretary of the Chicago Altrusa Club, the women's service club similiar to Rotary. She loves the theater. On one vacation she flew to New York and took in a show every night.
To Europe Twice
She has traveled all about the country, and often flies. Her pet vacation was one on which she camped out and slept in a sleeping bag in the mountain wilderness country of Oregon.
She has been to Europe twice. The first time was right after graduation. With another girl, she rented an uncertain French car and toured France. The car broke down, and they had to rent another, no mean feat in itself.
She cherishes the memory of the time their luggage bounced out of the rumble seat and a town crier went through the streets of the village announcing the loss.
She lives in an apartment in Evanston with her sister. The two do most of their own housework, and Barbara enjoys cooking.
She is a good golfer, but the game finds competition for her affections in her beloved farm. The farm, located near Waukegan, is a 120-acre place left the two girls by their parents. At present it is rented, but she often spends week-ends there.
When she was three years old, her lawyer father's health failed, and the family moved to Mississippi for a time. They purchased the farm on their return north, and Barbara lived on it about four years.
Asked whether she knew farming, whether she could milk a cow, she laughed, "Well, I know the general principle."
She plans to build a modern house on the place in a couple of years. It will be wonderful for week-ends, and some distant day, she may retire there.
"I guess I'm a farmer at heart," she concluded.
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