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From The Visiting Fireman News, Vol. 2, No. 6, Page 3, March 11, 1968.

Katherine Walsh was employed by the Atlantic Marine department in New York as a stenographer. The week she arrived, her new boss was tied up on a special job, and she had little to do but watch two other stenographers battle over a favored chair. As she recalls, "I quickly decided that I would stay one week to earn enough to pay the employment agency fee, and then be on my way."

That was 40 years ago. Katherine Walsh stayed on, and her interest and efforts on behalf of the Atlantic Marine department over the 40 years have contributed greatly to the growth of the department and to its stature in the industry. Her anniversary is March 20, and on the occasion, The Visiting Fireman News asked her for a few reminiscences - both written and photographic - of her career with Fireman's Fund.

For one, Miss Walsh recalls that when she started with the company, employees were paid in cash. Everyone lined up outside the office manager's office and went in one at a time to receive his pay. Each took the money out of the pay envelope, counted it, signed the envelope and returned that to the office manager.

Presumably Miss Walsh's boss, who was in the midst of German war claims recoveries arising out of World War I, found something for her to do, for she worked for him for two years. When the office was moved from 72 Beaver Street to 116 John Street, in 1930, the assistant Marine manager's secretary resigned and Miss Walsh was asked to take her place.

Miss Walsh worked for Harry A. Reed, assistant manager and loss manager, until his retirement in 1951. She says, "It was not only a pleasure but of great value to me to work for a man such as Mr. Reed, who was recognized as an authority on marine insurance. Whatever knowledge I have of my work was acquired through my association with him."

After Reed's retirement, the Loss department was divided into three units: Ocean Cargo, under Harry Savage; Hulls and P & I under Elmer Trautwein; and Inland Marine under James Cooper. Miss Walsh worked for these men for two years and then, when Inland and Ocean were separated, she remained with Ocean Marine Claims. She is secretary to Trautwein, who is manager of that department.

Looking not too far back, Miss Walsh recalls some "rather hectic times, particularly during the hurricanes which deluged us with claims." She remembers 1954 ("Carol," "Edna," and "Hazel") as a particularly hectic year, but also as a challenge well met.

In all, Miss Walsh worked under seven Marine managers: Charles R. Page, George Jordan, Frederick B. McBride, Leslie R. Haefner, Louis W. Niggeman (now president of Fireman's Fund Insurance Company), Woodward Melone (now vice president, Marketing), and the present manager Vice President G. Doane McCarthy, Jr.

Summing up, she remarked, "It has been both interesting and amazing to watch the progress of the company in the years I have been here. I have enjoyed my work and have not felt the years passing, except when I realize how many have come and gone during that time."

[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-3-5-29; 1334]


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