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The real impact of district organization came in 1911, the Silver Anniversary celebration of the consolidation of the conventions, when Texas women gave over $112,000 for mission causes. By 1914 the amount was over $200,000 and reached $385,000 by 1919. As Mrs. Stokes of the Southwest District expressed it: "If you know what is expected of you, it is much easier to bring it to pass." BS, February 22, 1912, p. 14. In 1914 the district presidents were made state vice-presidents, and in 1919 their number was increased from twelve to eighteen when congressional districts were redivided.

Although Mary Gambrell helped devise the district plan and saw it near completion, her rather sudden death in 1911 left another to refine and execute it. Addie Buckner Beddoe, who had served as Mrs. Gambrell's assistant and knew the work intimately, stepped into her unfilled term and was subsequently elected to serve as corresponding secretary-treasurer for thirteen years. Possessed with impeccable Baptist credentials (she was the daughter of R. C. Buckner, founder of the orphanage and longtime president of the BGCT; her husband, who was both a minister and a doctor, served as principal to the Buckner Orphan Home school; one son was a medical missionary to China and another was a minister), Addie Beddoe did not project the charisma of either of her predecessors, Mina Everett and Mary Gambrell. She served faithfully and efficiently in an important phase of the BWMW's life, but her personality is not conveyed with many details or much color. She let her financial reports speak for her, preferring to interpret the wishes and plans of a more vivid president and executive committee. Elliott, p. 232.

Addie Beddoe's efficiency was thoroughgoing, and she immediately devised a Record Book containing four years' quarterly reports for each society's use. The Standard carried her repeated, long articles giving explicit instructions on how to fill them out and to whom to send copies. An example is BS, February 29, 1912, p. 14. Her reports to the convention of her own activities included the number of miles travelled, conferences held, talks made, letters written, envelopes mailed, books sent, etc. In this, of course, she was not untypical of a Baptist officer, just an extraordinarily good one.

The southwide WMU was the source of many ideas on methods and efficiency which the states adapted to their own use, as Texas had the apportionment plan. The Standard of Excellence was another of the WMU's recommendations; Texas adopted it in 1911. An individual society was rated and assigned a letter grade based on these criteria:

  1. one meeting a month with a devotional exercise and missionary program,
  2. a 25% increase in membership each year,
  3. a 16% increase in gifts over the preceding year's total,
  4. regular quarterly reports sent to state officers,
  5. a denominational publication subscribed for each home represented in the organization,
  6. observance of special seasons of prayer for missions,
  7. a mission study class,
  8. average attendance of a number equal to two-thirds of the membership . Minutes of BWMW of Texas, 1911, pp. 197-98.

Questions & Answers

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