If Phyllis remained the inspiration for AAWE, Gertrude de Gallaix was surely its architect. A particularity of AAWE members was that we were all confirmed “non-clubwomen”. But AAWE was different, and so was Gertrude. A no-nonsense parliamentarian, Gertrude showed us how to do things as they should be done: motions, committees, minutes of the meetings, annual reports, the works. But the discipline was stimulating and the results quickly began to show.
– From p. 6 of Both Worlds, Retrospective of the Association of American Wives of Europeans – 1961-1991
When one speaks of Gertrude de Gallaix one is almost obliged, by the facts themselves, to use such terms as “pillar of the community!” A founding member of AAWE, a founding member of the Council for the English Speaking Community, a founding member of AARO, a charter member of the American Women’s Group in Paris, the writer of the original statement of policy for the Junior Guild of the American Cathedral, and past president of FAWCO, Gertrude de Gallaix not only helped to start up organizations, she also stayed, helped, advised, and watched over them with an energy that seemed endless in spite of a physical handicap caused by polio.
Gertrude was from Chicago. She was born in 1905 and graduated from Smith College in 1927. Shortly after, she visited France and met and married a French lawyer. Paris became her permanent home, even during the war when she was “constantly cold, hungry and scared.” After her husband died in 1949, Gertrude stayed on, working professionally at legal translations and devoting the rest of her time to promoting Franco-American relations.
Though Gertrude was never president of AAWE, she was a valuable advisor to many presidents and many boards, all of whom profited from her administrative skill and common sense.
From p. 43 of Both Worlds, Retrospective of the Association of American Wives of Europeans – 1961-1991.