The seeds for starting the Bergen County, New Jersey Chapter of the Links, Incorporated were planted nearly two years before its founding. While visiting New Jersey in the fall of 1972, Link Adeline Jordan, a member of the Angel City Chapter of The Links, Inc., was encouraged by National President Link Helen Edmonds, to help her in increasing the number of chapters nationwide. During a New Jersey visit with her daughter, Carolyn Booker, and long-time family friend, Frances Raines, the trio discussed establishing a chapter in the Bergen County area.
Coincidently, county residents Ethel Davis and later Ruth Lowe had also inquired about starting a chapter. The National office suggested that these pioneering women work together to sow the seeds of friendship and service. They compiled a list of professional women who were leaders in the community and on the morning of March 2, 1974, the group was installed at a ceremony held at the home of Frances Raines in Teaneck, New Jersey.
“The excitement and enthusiasm of the prospective members were noticeable”, recalled the charter members. “We were fortunate to have the National Executive Council members in attendance. Our distinguished Link guests were just completing an executive board meeting in New York City and arrived at our installation from New York. They were Founder Sarah Scott, National President Helen Edmonds, Past President Vivian Beamon, Vice President Verna Codwell, Financial Secretary Ruth W. McCants, Legal Counsel Allie Weeden, Eastern Area Director Thelma Hardiman, and members Hortense Young and Gertrude Thomas.”On this historic day, the Executive Council conducted the installation services for the following members of the Bergen County New Jersey Chapter: Mmes. Cecilia Artis, Mabel Beale, Maxine Beavers, Alease Black, Carolyn Booker, Lydia Brown, Patricia Chaney, Ethel Davis, Elaine Gunthorpe, Barbara Jones, Wilma Jones, Barbara Kay, Theodora Lacey, Joan Lockett, Ruth Lowe, Joann Peay, Althea Perry, Frances Raines, Mabel Randolph, Juanita Robinson, Katherine Smith, Imogene Smith, Jacquelyn Styles, Jewel Thompson and Lucinda White.
The first official meeting as a Link Chapter was held on March 23, 1974 at the home of Link Barbara Kay. At that time, two charter members were installed —Althea Jackson and Mildred Laster. Officers of the Chapter were elected and duly installed on May 18, 1974.
The first elected officers were:
President: Theodora Lacey
Vice President: Carolyn Booker
Treasurer: Joan Lockett
Financial Secretary: Frances Raines
Recording Secretary: Juanita Robinson
Corresponding Secretary: Ruth Lowe
The organization was now strategically ready to weld The Links' chain of friendship, through the four-point program; Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and International Trends. The addition as a Link in the friendship chain has served as a beacon in the Bergen County community toward improving the quality of life for all citizens.
“When we light the candles symbolic of the true spirit of Links: Friendship, Service, Commitment, Dedication, its ascending flame expresses our gratitude, appreciation and reverence for the National Founders, Sarah Scott and Margaret Hawkins, as well as for Link Adeline Jordan, Angel City Chapter and Dr. Helen Edmonds, Past National President, who offered encouragement to us in founding the Bergen County Chapter of The Links Inc.,” said the charter members. “These remarkable women saw in us the qualities of our national founders, enabling us to effect the welding of Links into a chain of friendship of measureless scope. In addition, they have instilled in us the ability to project an idea of giving self in limitless service and fostered the notion that our relationships with others might be nurtured, strengthened and enriched. For this we are grateful to all the members of the Bergen County Chapter — who have rallied to the call of friendship, service, commitment and dedication to Linkdom.
Submitted on April 1984
by Charter Members Carolyn Booker, Ethel Davis, Wilma Jones and Frances Raines