The El Segundo Auxiliary is one of the oldest of the Children’s Hospital auxiliaries. It was founded in 1920 by Miss Harriet Lawler, shortly after the incorporation of the city of El Segundo. Miss Lawler, a resident since 1917 and one of the first employees hired by Standard Oil Company, was secretary to the company’s general managers for 31 years. Joined in her efforts to organize the auxiliary by two other secretaries and two nurses from the refinery, they accepted the responsibility of providing the care and needs of an Italian girl from Bakersfield who had “double feet.”
Early fund raising events, usually held on the tennis courts of the refinery included flower sales, bridge parties and a raffling of a kid goat brough back from Catalina. But the goat, won by a home nurse, soon died despite all her efforts at nursing. Success of many of the fund raisers was due in part to Ben Tuck, an early resident, who would walk from his home on Maple Street around town urging everyone to come out and support the hospital.
The members spent many hours transporting children to the hospital, sewing garments, providing a Christmas tree, Santa and mystery packages for Doll Fair, and working at the Thrift Shop. One member working at the Thrift Shop took her teakettle along to enjoy her afternoon tea, but when she started home she discovered someone had sold it.
While the women attended their meetings, held in the homes, men would get together and play cards. But, the group soon grew too large, so the meetings followed by bridge games, were moved to the Women’s Clubhouse. Their own families were also growing, so the husbands’ interests turned to babysitting.
Each members took great pride in being a part of the hospital. Because of the efforts of the dedicated women (and men) the El Segundo Auxiliary was and still remains one of the most active charitable organizations in El Segundo.
Sources: Edith Smyth, Bernice Lynam, Nina-May Keifhaber