State: Oklahoma

City: Tulsa

Chapters: 45

Members: 9,000* estimated

Convention: Tulsa, OK - June 25-27, 1925

Income: $3,100

Businessman, 29 year old, E. Fred Johnson elected president for a full term.

Executive Vice President: Donald F. Abel Chicago, IL
Vice President: Robert E. Condon New York City, NY
Vice President: George E. Meyers Atlanta, GA
Vice President: H. Grady Vien East St. Louis, IL
Vice President: Carl S. Kegley Los Angeles, CA
Secretary: I. D. Moseley Tulsa, OK
Treasurer: Claude Harrison Milwaukee, WI
Secretary to the Board: Martin P. Luthy Chicago, IL

Ernest A. Baetz San Antonio, TX
F. J. Van Dyke Dayton, OH
Roy A. Tausend Milwaukee, WI
Andrew G. Mungenast St. Louis, MO
E. J. Tiley Marion, IN
Gordon K. Bishop New York City, NY
Leo D. Sheridan Macon, GA
William M. Madison Jacksonville, FL
W. T. Leeper Shreveport, LA
Julius Livingston Tulsa, OK
Elmer H. Ferrall Phoenix, AZ
Joe C. Reilly San Diego, CA

Executive Director:

Robert L. Schirmer Milwaukee, WI

Jacksonville, FL to host 1926 convention.

During President Johnson’s administration, there were 28 new Junior Chambers formed, and the 13 marked with asterisk affiliated with the USJCC.

Affiliated Junior Chambers in June 1926

Abbeville, SC ** Albany-Decatur, AL * Anderson, SC * Arkansas City, KS.
Augusta, GA * Atlanta, GA Bridgeport, CT Birmingham, AL
Cairo, IL ** Cleburne County, AL * Chicago, IL Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, MS * Cushing, OK Dallas, TX Dalton, GA **
Dayton, OH Depew, OK * Des Moines, IA Duncan, OK
Duluth, MN ** East St. Louis, IL
Fitzgerald, GA * Flint, MI
Fort Pierce, FL ** Gainesville, TX * Greenville, MS * Greenville, SC
Greenwood, SC Huntington, UT * Indianapolis, IN Jackson, MO *
Jackson, MI Jacksonville, FL La Grange, GA *** Lakeland, FL
Lincoln, NE * Los Angeles, CA Macon, GA Marion, IN
Mesa, AZ Miami, FL ** Miami, OK Milwaukee, WI
New Brunswick, NJ ** New Orleans, LA New York City, NY. Omaha, NE
Puyallup, WA * Pensacola, FL Pontiac, MI Portland, ME *
Portsmouth, OH St. Augustine, FL Saginaw, MI *** San Antonio, TX
Sanford, Florida San Francisco, CA Sapulpa, OK Sarasota, FL **
Seattle, WA * Sheboygan, FL Sioux City, IA Springfield, OH *
St. Louis, MO Tampa, FL Tempe, AZ * Thomasville, GA ***
Troy, AL * Tulsa, OK Valdosta, GA **
Watertown, NY **

* newly organized not affiliated
** newly organized and affiliated
***newly affiliated, but not newly organized.
(bolded) affiliiated and attended convention

Development of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce had not been rapid during the five years since the first convention in 1920. The number of affiliated groups had climbed to 45, but expansion was the only real field in which much had been accomplished. The local chapters were still getting very little for their dues dollars, and National Planning and Organizations were weak. Financially, the USJCC was operating on a shoestring budget probably about $2,000 under Lou Arland and the movement had little influence nationally.

Local Junior Chambers, however, were accomplishing big things, and many of them were prospering. To them the USJCC offered few concrete benefits, and the money spent on dues brought very little prestige.

This helps explain why many Junior Chambers were operating independent of the National Organization. The USJCC was faced with the problem of offering more for the money if affiliations were to increase, and member organizations retain their dues paying status. Out of this situation of relative stagnation which existed in 1925 was to become the practice of wide spread distribution of informative materials to member groups.

Under the new president, E. Fred Johnson, a national magazine was also born to help link the wide spread federation. A committee appointed at Milwaukee in 1923 had been studying the question, but it was Johnson who took final action and gave birth to “Expansion” magazine in the fall of 1925.

More progress was recorded under sixth President E. Fred Johnson than under any of the preceding presidents dating back to Hy Giessenbier. The chief reasons for this were the establishing of a national magazine, Expansion, and calling of a mid-winter conference in January of 1926. These two steps proved to be among the most important developments in the organization’s short history as a national federation.

The man leading the USJCC E. Fred Johnson had been interested in the movement since 1920, and his service had included terms as a vice president in 1921-22 and 1922-23, and a stint as a director in 1924-25. In his home city, Tulsa, he was one of the charter members of the Jaycee group which affiliated with the USJCC as one of the original 12 chapters.

Johnson’s was a success story appropriate for the oil booming southwest. Born in Elmore City, in 1911, he decided to try his luck in Oklahoma City, although this meant starting out as a waiter in a café at $2 weekly. He worked up to be night manager before taking a better position in the press room of the Daily Oklahoman. Later, he moved to Tulsa and landed a job as a water boy for a paving company.

At about this time, a Tulsa grocery store, getting an early start on all its competitors, decided to use a motor car for deliveries. Johnson became deliveryman, and at the same time took a course in Business College. Two and a half years later, he was graduated and in a short time had worked for a safe cabinet company as a lease field man and finally in bank.

After completing a stint of service in the Army, Johnson took a brief venture with a friend of his in the oil business at Fort Worth, Texas. Then, he returned to Tulsa to become Director of Public Relation for Exchange National Bank and Exchange Company, the post he held when elected Jaycee president.

Johnson had a talent for coining phrases, and introduced the saying, “Where the Young Man Steps In” as a sort of motto for his term in office. Actually, this slogan was used by the national organization into the 1930’s.

The first important action of the Johnson administration was to initiate the original national publication of the USJCC, Expansion magazine, such a magazine had been under discussion since a committee was appointed at the Milwaukee convention, but nothing definite had been decided. Immediately after his election, Johnson called a meeting for St. Louis. Conferring there was: Johnson; Vice Presidents Condon and Vien; Honorary Vice President Hy Giessenbier; Executive Director Bob Schirmer, Directors Mungenast and Julius Livingston, and G. Edwin Popkess.

Popkess, an East St. Louis, Illinois, publisher and newspaperman, was chosen editor and publisher of the new magazine. Popkess was named primarily because of a reputation established as editor of the East St. Louis, Illinois, “PEP”, one of the nation’s outstanding local Jaycee publications.

Under the plan established, a five man board of trustees was to hold jurisdiction over Expansion. This board was composed of the president, immediate past president, executive vice president, and two trustees to be selected by Popkess. A yearly change in all positions was planned to avoid any possibility of a board member securing any personal financial gain.

The USJCC loaned the Expansion board of trustees $600 to get the ball rolling, and then extensive subscription drive was conducted. It was agreed that about 5,000 subscriptions, at $1 yearly, would be necessary to begin operation on a sound basis. Nearly this many subscriptions were sold before the first issue appeared in September of 1925. Real help came from states like Oklahoma and Florida, which pledged 1,000 and 600 subscriptions, respectively, and sent partial payment in “good faith.”

The magazine was not designed to earn any profit for the USJCC, and it was estimated that the $1 subscription price would just about pay for the magazine. Advertising revenue was to go to Popkess, as publisher.

The importance of Expansion cannot be over emphasized. A magazine, more than anything else, gives an organization the feeling of unity which is so important. Furthermore, a national group can have very little prestige until it does have an organ in which to make its views known, and pass on vital news to members. Furthermore, in the 1920’s, the USJCC did not publish the extensive list of guidance materials that are now issued. This meant that the magazine was vitally important for one chapter to know just what other chapters were doing, since it helped them come up with programs of their own.

Expansion, which was so named by President Johnson because it was to herald the new emphasis on expansion, was a first class publication. Printed on 9” by 12” paper, it usually ran 16 pages in length. Colored covers were used, and the quality and writing and make up were excellent. Feature articles were particularly outstanding, and news items from around the country were plentiful.

The first issue opened with an article by William G. Skelly, President of Skelly Oil Company of Tulsa, and this article was entitled, “Industry Demands young Men Trained in Leadership.” The article Said:

“The most worthy movement in our generation is the Junior Chamber of Commerce. It is a man builder, a mister maker, an executive educator. It is the anchor of good habit. It is the ladder of leadership. It is the preparatory school for managerial accomplishment. Its elbow rubbing eliminates timidity of contact and instills confidence in conversation, gives a Tiffany perfection to the diamond in the rough and grinds out the successors to present day men of affairs.”

Also included in that issue of Expansion was a personal sketch of President Johnson; a comprehensive explanation of the national organizational set up by Executive Vice President Don F. Abel, the report of a regional meeting held in Chicago in August, and the news that Johnson had established a senior advisory board.

The advisory board, to maintain its existence at least in name for 20 years, was headed by Clarence H. “Daddy” Howard, and was composed of past presidents of the USJCC.

The high quality of Expansion Magazine can be attributed to both Popkess and his hired editorial assistant, Irene Silverstein. A journalism graduate of Missouri University, she worked on the magazine during most of its four year existence.

Johnson, operating out of headquarters in Tulsa, was assisted in his duties by a paid secretary, Lucy Mae Marquis, and Miss Marquis, now Mrs. Hedley F. Smith of Tulsa, received a salary of $120 monthly from a stripend of $200 received each month by Johnson from the local Chamber of commerce. The other $80 was used to pay for postage, office supplies, and take care of other needs. Funds were also received by the national organization in the usual form of dues and charter fees.

A financial innovation of Johnson’s term was the extensive sale of sustaining memberships at $25 each. The committee in charge of selling these memberships was chairman by Bob Condon, assisted by Director Julius Livingston. Before the End of the year, they had netted $850 for the organization, and fired hope in Jaycee hearts that this was a good way to finance the Junior Chamber movement.

Actually, from a relative standpoint, this was one of the best years in history for selling such memberships. Through the years, a great deal of hope has intermittently been placed in such donations. But success was never spectacular. Dues, and participation in programs by sponsors, have essentially built the organization to what it is today, and not any form of sustaining memberships or endowments.

Johnson’s administration saw more frequent meetings of the officers and directors than had been customary. A conclave in St. Louis following the Tulsa convention set up Expansion, and then Executive Committee meetings were held in August and October in Chicago and Dallas, respectively.

Most important was a mid-winter meeting of the board of directors in Indianapolis. Thirty-nine members of the executive committee, board of directors and national councilors attended this meeting, the first mass get-together of Jaycee officers which had ever been held outside of the convention.

Mid-winter conferences were to continue for several years, and as much were accomplished at them according to some sources as at conventions. The “have fun” aspect was relegated to the background and real work went to the fore.
Accomplishments of this initial mid-winter conference included adoption of the first national program, “Know America First.” It was explained by President Johnson, himself, in these words:

“We realize, of course, various groups and agencies have in the past advocated, ‘See America First’. However, this has been with the idea of stimulating travel, while ‘Know America First’ is a more all-inclusive proposition.

“We feel that one of the first duties of a resident of the United States is to see and to know his own community, its relation to other communities of the Union, and particularly should members of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce and its components partake a lead in urging all other citizens to do likewise, not only acquainting themselves with the privileges and opportunities accorded them by citizenship, but also preparing themselves to discharge intelligently the commensurate obligations."

“Among other subjects under discussion at the conference were fire prevention campaigns, get out the vote, cooperation in the national education program and the reduction of crime. Yet, those at the conference, presenting all sections of the United States, were especially interested in the ‘Know America First’ program.”

National publicity also took a big upswing under Johnson, and a fine job was turned in by Charles Graham of Chicago as national publicity chairman. Graham. Elected “Most Popular Man” at the Tulsa convention, sponsored radio programs on the Junior Chamber, and articles about the USJCC appeared in Civitan and Kiwanis magazines. President Johnson spoke before the National Civic Foundation during its annual winter meeting at New York, and other officers spoke before various groups.

Since the new magazine was named Expansion, it was only appropriate that expansion of the organization should be a prime concern for the year. This was carried on not only by correspondence, but by trips by officers. Traveling, compared to that done today, was not extensive. Still, Vice Presidents Vien, Abel and Condon all took journeys.

By far, the most extensive wayfaring was by Condon, described by Expansion editor B. Edwin Popkess as the “Best Front Man” of the 1920’s. The emergency landing itself had even offered good chance for publicity since over 3,000 people in the area journeyed to the site out of curiosity to see the plane. An ice cream and Coca Cola stand was even set up.

The annual report mentions the organization of 28 new Junior Chamber chapters under President Johnson, 13 of them affiliated with the national organization.

For many years, figures were to be misleading in regard to the strength of the Junior Chamber movement since there were so many unaffiliated groups. A new organization affiliated or not, was still an addition. Eventually, these groups would join the national federation, so their information was definitely progress, whether or not they affiliated immediately.

Estimates indicate that there were between 50 and 57 paid up Junior Chamber organizations following the sixth administration and approximately 9,000 individual members. Since dues did not indicate individual names, but only strength figures reported by local organizations. The actual individual total was probably much higher. The publishing of Expansion magazine had considerable effect on the organization’s service function for it made possible the dissemination of the instructional material. Included were service bulletins which had been derived from the group hearings in Tulsa.

The combined group hearings of the Tulsa convention and the upcoming Jacksonville, Florida, conclave were to be published in the early part of Condon’s administration, under the title, “Group Hearing Reports.”

One internal organization, the secretarial exchange, was scrapped after the birth of Expansion. This group, headed by E.mer H. Ferrall, had collected and disbursed project information, a function taken over by Expansion.

Other information pertaining to the Junior Chamber was distributed by a pamphlet which described the movement and told how to go about organizing a chapter. Administratively, Johnson was the most activate of the national headquarters in Tulsa. Included were letters to 700 cities issued as part of a survey of existing Junior Chambers. The results showed that many more cities were soon to join the movement.

It is interesting that his survey included only cities over 10,000 in population. For many years, the Junior Chamber operated under the theory that cities smaller than 10,000 were not really ideal for chapters. Even then there were smaller cities represented in the membership, however, and in due time the small city was recognized as fertile ground, if interest was sufficient.

A concrete development in the field of Junior Senior Chamber relationships was the issuing of a pamphlet on the junior body by the older group. Released by the Civic Development Department under Jon Ihlder, the pamphlet presented the movement in “a very fair manner,” according to President Johnson. Assisting the Chamber in the pamphlet’s preparation was Andy Mungenast, one of the USJCC representatives on the senior group’s Civic Development Committee. As always the case, activity at local level remained the key of the Junior Chamber’s strength. Outstanding projects included work turned in by the Jaycees of East St. Louis, Indianapolis, Flint and Los Angeles.

In East St. Louis, the Junior Chamber successfully brought about construction of a $500,000 subway tunnel to eliminate a dangerous rail crossing which threatened to detour a national highway from the city. When the railroad refused to cooperate, Robert Tierman of the Civic Committee went to the Governor of Illinois, and two years later the fight had netted a tunnel.

In Indianapolis, the local promoted attendance of 150 youngsters at a U. S. Naval Reserve Training School during summer months, while in flint, Michigan, Jaycees managed a “Clean up Campaign” which garnered a total of 3,500 tons of rubbish within a week.

The Los Angeles Junior Chamber inaugurated its “Los Angeles Open” golf tournament, a sporting event which remains one of the highlights of the golf circuit. Among the local leaders was Durward Howes, USJCC president in 1930.
The convention which concluded the 1925-26 term was held in Jacksonville, Florida, and was the most publicized annual meeting up to that point, and few conventions since have received the emphasis that one did in Expansion. Florida cities contributed many advertisements as did groups other than Junior Chamber. All, essentially, were calling attention to the new “wonderland” of the south.

The official slogan for the convention was “Jax in June” a term coined by Bob Schirmer. Formerly the Milwaukee Junior Chamber secretary was named “Acting Executive Secretary” of the USJCC by Johnson.

Attendance was very good at Jacksonville, including 1,000 delegates and visitors, representing more than 40 Junior Chamber locals. Among those on hand was the first international delegate to the Junior Chamber, J.D. Moulden of the Winnipeg Board of Trade in Canada. He came to give greetings, to the U.S. group and praised the Jaycee “Angel” Clarence Howard, as one of the world’s greatest men. His presence can be attributed to founder Giessenbier, in charge of contacting other countries.

Entertainment at the convention was extensive, including dances, swimming parties, boat rides, golf tournament, luncheons and dinners. A special feature was a four day motor trip through the state following the convention. About 50 people went on this excursion.

A major constitutional change saw all directors elected for one year terms.

Bob Condon of the New York young Men’s Board of Trade was chosen as president after Mungenast’s name was withdrawn from consideration. A number of speakers praised Mungenast at this convention for his fine work in the movement, and there was talk of making him an honorary officer. Such as an appointment is not directly mentioned in existing minutes, but the “Group Hearings” pamphlet issued in the fall lists him as an honorary vice president along with Giessenbier, so it is safe to presume that he was named. Ted Arnold withdrew from contention to allow Condon’s easy election. Andy was mentioned as candidate but also withdrew. He was praised and named an honorary officer. Schirmer mentions Arnold as the one who could have best gone up against Condon

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