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A Little History

November 12, 2000

Susan Spano's column on the rise of women in executive positions in the travel industry ("Women Executives Are Borne Upward on the Tide of Cruise Industry Growth," Her World, Oct. 22) was interesting, but it did not go back very far in time.

In travel sales, women were below the line of vision until Ward Foster started his travel information service in the late 19th century in St. Augustine, Fla.

At age 24 I came into the Ask Mr. Foster group as one of the youngest ever hired. Our class had three months of training. Then we were dispensed to hotels and department stores around the country. The senior women became office managers.

I was with Ask Mr. Foster until mid-wartime, only to come back into travel with Thomas Cook & Sons in 1946 as manager of a small office. For a long time, the six of us from the Ask Mr. Foster "class" were the only women managers in the Cook circuit.

Eventually, women were able to get past one-on-one selling into the planning and executive work.



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