While Nellie Booth was working as an actress in St. Louis in 1937, a group of people in New York was organizing AFRA, the American Federation of Radio Artists (later to include television by becoming AFTRA). As the organizational activity spread west, Nellie was contacted by one of the people organizing the Chicago local.
She agreed to be one of the founders in St. Louis, and she and six other people organized the St. Louis AFRA. Nellie Booth became the first president and executive secretary in 1937, and she served as the executive director until the 1960s.
In 1968, Ms. Booth received the George Heller Memorial Award, AFTRA’s top honor. She had been recording secretary of the national office since 1937, and the St. Louis local of AFTRA established an annual award in her honor following her death.