April 17, 2015

Marshall and Secretary’s Day

51.09.21-Red-Cross-1Administrative Professionals’ Day, also known as Secretary’s Day, will be celebrated on April 22nd this year. It’s observed to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionist and other administrative support professionals.

Shortly before the first celebration of this non-official holiday in 1952, Mildred K. Carlson was George C. Marshall’s secretary. She served as his secretary from 1950-1951. Her small collection at the Marshall Foundation archives contains a great treasure.

On five small pieces of American Red Cross stationery is Marshall’s handwritten comment about the lack of historical interest his papers contain.  He wrote “I will consider the matter further but I see little of historical interest involved, and have the impression that my actions were few, far between and relatively colorless.”

Not everyone shared Marshall’s humble opinion of himself.

In 1953 President Truman, with great respect for General Marshall’s service and accomplishments, issued a directive to establish the Marshall Research Foundation in order to create that one place to preserve Marshall’s legacy. “The establishment of the Foundation has been a matter of great interest to me,” Truman continued, “and I have consulted with VMI officials about it over a period of more than a year. In connection with these conferences, I have agreed that the United States Government would in so far as practicable make available to the Foundation documentary material relating to the activities of General Marshall as a soldier, as Secretary of State, and as Secretary of Defense.”