Editor’s Note

As a tribute to Women’s History Month, this story was provided by the Sherman Room of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library and originally published by the Mansfield News on March 12, 1922 on Page 9 of the Social Section. Those interested in more history should check out the Sherman Room at the Mansfield/Richland Public Library or visit this link.

MANSFIELD — Somewhere a poet with a wonderful imagination lauded the world thus:

“The great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world

“With the wonderful water around you curled.”

But he had nothing, when it comes to encircling the globe with his thoughts, on Miss Sloane, who is assistant to A.B. Edes, in the foreign trade department of the Ohio Brass Company.

For sheer fascination and interest, this department probably holds the palm in the entire company. It permeates the atmosphere with a thrill that comes with the reading of far-away mystery tales, to receive in the course of a day’s work letters and cablegrams from the far corners of the globe — Japan, Hawaii, Europe and sometimes from such out-of-the-way places that one despairs of finding them on the map. But we’ll let Miss Sloane tell it in her own words.

Sarah Alice Sloane

“It is intensely interesting work, almost as wonderful as traveling around the world, to be in touch many times a day with some one from a far-off country.

“If one has any imagination, without which much-needed characteristic most work would be only routine, one can immediately upon receipt of a letter or cablegram picture behind that message the quaint costumes and customs, dikes and tulips of Holland, for instance — the cherry blossoms and dark-eyed men and women of Japan-the weird, twanging music of Hawaii, or the pyramids and sphinx of Egypt. It never gets tiresome, never monotonous; every day something different comes up to keep our interest intense.

“During the year we usually have a number of foreign representatives visit our factory, and it is worth a great deal to be able to meet these different types of people, to talk with them and learn something of their own countries first-hand.

Ohio Brass logo

“From various agents and representatives in foreign lands I occasionally receive postal cards or other remembrances, [unclear; maybe “And these”] with many other items of interest gathered in the course of my work, go to make up my foreign scrap book, one of the hobbies resulting from my interest in foreign countries and people. I am also making a collection of foreign stamps.”

“Not the least part of the work is the coding and de-coding of the cablegrams. Where we have foreign agents or customers who understand English we usually receive the messages in the various codes, but sometimes they come in Spanish, French, or Italian. Although I know nothing of French or Italian I am learning Spanish, studying at home with the aid of a phonograph course, so that I can translate the letters and cablegrams which come in Spanish.

“The work is certainly fascinating, and I would advise any boy or girl to take up just such work, particularly if they have a sense of humor, plenty of imagination and are not afraid of hard work.”

“Just what kind of training would be necessary for such work, Miss Sloane?” was asked.

“First, I would suggest all the education one can possibly have, which should include a high school and business course, and some college work in languages, especially French, Spanish, and Italian. Some knowledge of traffic work and banking would help a great deal and familiarity with all commercial codes as well as telegraph could be put to very good use.

“On top of all the training must be actual experience, and the business training I have had during my service with the company was really the only qualification I possessed when entering the foreign trade work. But in this work one is continually attending school, and there is a chance to grow every day and to learn something new. That is what makes it so interesting and it is just about the best substitute for traveling I know of.”

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