The active underground movement gets going at Devon somewhere around the first of April, and continues its multifarious duties at an accelerated pace until sometime around the middle of June.
The office of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair "went underground" a few years ago, when the late Frank Ellis closed down the old quarters in a stable at the north end of the Show Grounds and moved desks, typewriters, telephones and record books into comfortable new quarters downstairs under the judges stand. There's a window's eye view of the Wanamaker Oval, so that office workers who are so-minded can keep an eye on the action.
For the most part, however, the three secretaries, the permanent manager and the trophy chairman, all of whom work down here, are so busy with file cards, receipts, and invoices that they have little time to follow the fortunes of the green jumpers, hunters and hackneys who are showing their paces out there.
Mrs. Marilyn McClelland, of West Chester, has been with Devon office for six years now. Married and the mother of three daughters, she was around horses a lot as a child, but does nothing more active with them these days than keep track of their reservations.
"To tell you the truth, I'm a little bit allergic to horses," she laughs. "But it doesn't matter because I don't get close to them, here."
Between the busy months leading up to and away from the Horse Show, Mrs. McClelland works for "Manpower, Inc." She's been a secretary for twenty years.
Assisting her in the office is Mrs. Lili Gadle, of Paoli, and Mrs. Isabel Shaver. Miss Reni Nicosia is secretary and assistant to C. Egerton Warburton, the Reception and Trophy chairman.
And during Horse Show Week itself, Miss Louise Belger of Fort Washington, adds her formidable knowledge and know-how by serving as secretary to John Burkholder, general manager of the Show.
As an Underground, it lacks hippies, newspapers or plans for overthrowing the Establishment. But enthusiasm? There's no lack of this, downstairs at Devon.
References: The Devon Horse Show Association by Elinor C. J. Sensenig, TEQ 12-3 (April 1963); Where Champions meet - The Devon Horse Show by Bob Goshorn, TEQ 32-3 (July 1994)