First Book Fair

Following the success of the Christmas Bazaar in 1960, AAFSW began a new tradition – the annual Book Fair, which raises money for scholarships. During just two months, AAFSW volunteers secured the use of the Courtyard at the Department of State, collected over 7500 books, and advertised the event. The first Book Fair was a single-day event held on Monday, October 9, 1961. The Book Fair raised $2,781.59 – allowing AAFSW to fund FIVE scholarships, for $500 each, that year.

“The idea of the Book Fair was born one summer day in 1961 – one of those sudden inspirations that came while lounging in the bath tub pondering how the AAFSW might raise some money to help with the Scholarship Fund of the AFSA. It seemed such a natural – what group buys more books, reads more books and gets rid of more books that our State Department types. Our President, June Byrne, thought it a great idea but the Board was skeptical. We knew the only place we could successfully hold a “Book Fair” would be at the Department itself and then it would have to be outside, hopefully in the courtyard. Therefore, the beginning of October would be as late as we dared wait to insure decent weather. That gave us exactly two months to do the whole thing.”

Pat Armitage
AAFSW members cutting the ribbon to open the book fair
University Student Isabel Thompson, winner of a Foreign Service Children’s scholarship, cuts the ribbon opening the BookFair at the Department of State. L-R Pat Armitage, June Bryne, Virginia Rusk, wife of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Isabel Thompson and Mrs. Edwin Martin

Newsletters and Recollections about the First Book Fair