Leadership in 1950–51

Nadina Kavinoky

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Nadina R. Kavinoky, the first female President of NCFR, was a Swiss-born gynecologist who received her MD at University of Buffalo (New York) and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Southern California. During her presidency, NCFR participated officially in several important national conferences: the Mid-Century White House Conference on Children and Youth, the Federal Civil Defense Conference, the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards, the National Conference on Aging, the National Education Association, and the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The following is an excerpt from Kavinoky‘s Presidential Address:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Fortunately in the last few years we are beginning to appreciate the warmth of human kindness and the cheer of a sense of humor. We are beginning to realize that a surgeon’s skill is enhanced if he/she is a balanced person and not under tension. In addition his sense of humor and warmth of interest dispel fear and enable the patient to preserve his resources for the battle with sickness instead of wasting energy on fear. . .The same thing applies to other professions as well as to parents. . . Work and rest are essential to a balanced life, but the efficiency of both is enhanced by play. Recreation should be adapted to each individual’s particular need and desire. . .A sense of humor and a hearty laugh do more to dispel gloom and depression that tons of sedatives.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The slate of officers for 1951 included the following:

  • 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0
  • President: Nadina Kavinoky
  • Secretary: Ralph Eckert
  • Treasurer: Max Rheinstein
  • Vice Presidents: Robert G. Foster; Lena Levine, MD; and Msgr. John O’Grady

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Controversy arose over matters related to executive positions, the journal (Marriage and Family Living), and the structure and functioning of NCFR.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 In regard to the first issue, there were no established policies or precedents for the position of Executive Secretary. Neither did the position have clear role definitions of functions and limitations. In March 1951, President-Elect Robert Foster chaired the Personnel Committee to deal with this. Evelyn Millis Duvall submitted her resignation in May 1951, effective in August. Without a leader at headquarters, an Operating Committee was formed to also screen candidates for the position.  This committee was also authorized to secure foundation support for a study of the functions, organization, and operation of  NCFR. In October 1951, a part-time, one-year–term secretary was hired. Helen J. Hiltner filled the position and was elected to serve another one-half–time term. President Robert Foster was to look for funds to hire a full-time person. Hiltner resigned in April 1953, citing as her reasons the “magic helper philosophy” of member who thought a full-time person wasn’t necessary as well as the Board’s inability to clearly define the functions of the Executive Secretary.  Because of the long period that was elapsing before finding someone, the Board reactivated the Operating Committee.


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