(Deceased)

State: New York

City: New York City

Chapters: 63

Members: 11,000* estimated

Convention: Jacksonville, FL - June 23 - 26, 1926

Income: $5,300

Engineer AT&T, 29 year old, Robert E. Condon elected president for a full term.

Executive Vice President: Donald F. Abel Chicago IL
Vice President: Ernest A. Baetz San Antonio, TX
Vice President: Everett L. Grubbs Los Angeles, CA
Vice President: H. Grady Vien East St. Louis,IL
Treasurer: Thomas D. Barlow New Brunswick, NJ
Secretary: E. Rollins Dunn New York City, NY
Secretary to the Board: Martin P. Luthy Defiance, OH

Directors:
 
 
L. O. Anderson Duluth, MN
Roy Autry Dallas, TX
Frank L Campbell, Jr. Omaha, NE
J. D. Carlisle Macon, GA
R.M. Coker San Diego, CA
William H. Harrison Indianapolis, IN
Walter Hinton New York, NY
Julius Livingston Tulsa, OK
Loper E. Lowry Tampa, FL
Lawrence Lytle Cincinnati, OH
Walter Melius Milwaukee, WI
C. L. Smith Pontiac, MI

Omaha, NE to host 1927 convention.

Robert E. Condon, seventh president of the USJCC, is one of the most extraordinary men that has ever played a major role in the movement. Condon was such a dynamic and colorful figure that his personality stands as the most important single memory of his term in office.

The list of Condon’s personal accomplishments is extensive, and it is almost impossible to imagine one man in the infantry in World War I, Condon advanced rapidly and actually was a major when he left the service 22 months later!

Following the war, Condon served on the staff of the Armistice Commission and executive secretary of the Peace Conference in 1918-1919. He accompanied President Woodrow Wilson to England and Italy, and joining government service, journeyed in seven foreign countries and traveled in 26 lands abroad!

Condon was one of the organizers of the American Legion founded in Paris, and served three years on the National Executive Committee of the that group. He was also a delegate to the International Chamber of Commerce Congress in London in 1921, and visited Europe to extend the U.S. invitations for visits of Marshall Foch, Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau.

In the United States, Condon had long been a leader in advocating aviation development, and traveled extensively by plane. A key activity duty in this country was his chairmanship of the American Legion’s five-million-dollar War Orphans and Disabled Veterans Endowment Fund for New York County, serving under State Chairman Franklin D. Roosevelt.

At the time of his election as Jaycee president, he was a member of the Advisory Counsel of the Department of Political Education, National Civic Federation, and the Industrial Round Table. Condon was also Chairman of the Traffic Clearing House Commission for Greater New York.

Condon’s Junior Chamber activities included founding of the New York Young Men’s Board of Trade and serving three years as its president. Two terms as a Jaycee national vice president had further prepared him for the national presidency.

Publicity was one of Condon’s top suits, and he had the ability to attract attention wherever he appeared. the fact that he often went by plane had much to do with this, as well as his other means of dramatic entrance.

One of Condon’s qualities was complete self-confidence, and a lack of fear before higher authorities. Just after his election as Jaycee president, he displayed his audacity by requesting a police escort through downtown New York for touring business leaders from the southwest. Such an escort was a rarity in New York, and especially on a Saturday morning, as he requested. Nevertheless, Condon was such a smooth talker than when the time came, his group had the police escort, and a personal visitation with the mayor besides.

Publicity reached a high peak under Condon, and the most important one event was Condon’s conference with President Calvin Coolidge, at the request of the U. S. President.

Condon continued the extensive traveling he had initiated as a vice president, and a two month trip saw him visit over 78 cities, from coast to coast, including California.

Just what all this traveling meant is hard to judge accurately from an expansion standpoint. The number of affiliated groups was probably between 60 and 65 at the conclusion of his administration. This was a small increase over the 57 groups reported at the wind-up of Johnson’s Term. The sharp decrease in affiliated groups reported under Vien in 1927-28 indicates that many organizations listed as affiliates the year before probably were not paid up, or dropped out after dues were raised to $1 at the convention in 1927.

One important addition to the Junior Chamber movement was the Brooklyn, New York, chapter. With 1.000 members, it was the largest member group of the USJCC.

Condon although employed himself and unable to give full time to the movement had efficient secretarial help in Lucy Mae Marquis, the secretary for Johnson. Lucy Mae moved to New York to continue her Jaycee service.

In regard to Condon’s employment, it must be mentioned that none of the presidents until 1940 were able to completely shed their outside activities for the Junior Chamber. Most, however, were given sufficient time off by their employers, or could take time away from their won businesses. In the early days even more than now holding a Jaycee office was a sacrifice.

The biggest steps taken under Condon were in the field of national program promotion, and three new projects were added to the itinerary which had been initiated the year before with the adoption of “Know America First.”

Most important of the new nationally endorsed projects Aviation, an appropriate program not only for Condon but for the times. The chief topic of 1926 among citizens was just who would first fly from New York to Pairs. The field of aviation, as a whole, had a sense of adventure and newness which captivated America.

Appropriately, the support of aviation in this country had been voted at the Jacksonville convention and a National Aeronautics Commission established. Named as first chairman of this important group was a famed pilot Walter Hinton.
Formerly a United States Navy aviator, Hinton was pilot of the NC-4, first flying machine to cross the Atlantic. His Trans Atlantic flight took place in May, 1919, the same month that he also piloted the triumphant NC-4 on a 10,000 mile voyage along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and up the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.

His next exploit was the famous New York to Rio de Janeiro “Friendship Flight” in 1922-23, the first air voyage between the Americas. In 1924, Hinton again returned to Brazil as member of the Alexander Hamilton Rice Expedition.
The number one objective of the aviation program was to see that airports were built in cites across America, for this was the only way to guarantee development of this mode of transportation. As Hinton said in the September, 1926, issue of Expansion:

Furthering the progress of aviation is dependent upon some group of men, who will take the initiative in paving the way for commercial development. Upon them will rest much of the task of convincing the American public of the tremendous importance of aircraft to the wealth and stability of this nation. Constructively, it is up to them to make it possible for aviation to grow rapidly by making it easier to use airplanes. Given some place to start from, some place to go, and a route over which to fly, the airplane will develop air traffic as well as itself.”

Jaycee organizations fit into the program in two principal categories, the establishment of airports, and their proper making, In regard to the latter activity, he proposed laying out the name of cities in gravel letters 50 feet high. This would enable easy identification of a city form the air. Such marking was to become standard procedure in many Junior Chamber cites, and as Hinton had also suggested, the letters “J.C.” were usually added to call attention to the organization’s part in the development of aviation. Jaycee activity in aviation was furthered by the endorsement of government and private aeronautical societies.

The first marked airport in the country was dedicated of September 26, 1926, at Dayton, Ohio. Not only was Dayton Municipal Airport’s marker the result of Jaycee action, but the Junior Chamber had been instrumental in furthering aviation interest in the community.

On hand for the dedication which followed a sectional conference of Ohio and Indiana Junior Chambers was President Bob Condon, Expansion Editor G. Edwin Popkess, and other leaders in the movement. Performing in a special air circus to highlight the dedication was Captain Roscoe Turner, a member of the local chapter and the pilot of the Skorskey which had carried Condon from Atlanta, Georgia, to New York City the year before.

Dayton’s group quickly gained the name “flying Junior Chamber” as a result of its active interest in aviation, formation of flying club, and other innovations. Dayton itself was already internationally known as an aviation center with its eight airports, including Wilbur Wright Field.

Another new national program was that of the reforestation, which was adopted after a stirring convention speech at Jacksonville, by Gorge B. Blair of Michigan. Blair was named committee chairman of this project, and worked diligently to point out what could be done on local level in this important phase of conservation. Blair was eminently qualified in this field since he was chief forester of the Consumer’s Power Company and had under his care all forestry work on large land holdings of the Michigan Utility Corporation.

Still another new national program was “Get out the Vote” which was being handled by Chairman Bill Saltiel of Chicago. Saltiel was president of the Chicago Junior Association, and one of the youngest men in the country to gain place in “Who’s Who in America” Having been a lecturer for 10 years on the Red path Chautauqua and Lyceum circuits, he was described as “the best informed man on civic affairs I have ever met” by one noted judge. In his home city, he had tried many top cases as assistant city attorney. Saltiel did an outstanding job in the “Get Out the Vote” program, and was to be an unsuccessful candidate for the Jaycee presidency at the upcoming convention.

Under Condon, an attempt was made to coordinate these and other committees more effectively with the national organization, a difficult problem considering transportation and communication limitations. Under Johnson and Condon, the practice of assigning particular areas of interest to national vice presidents had developed rapidly, and committee chairman usually reported to their respective vice president. Policy committees, however, reported to the president directly.

The second mid-winter conference was held in January of 1927, and attendance was up to 51 delegates from 20 cities. Real progress was shown by the committees appointed, including the Legal Aid Committee under J.L. R. Boyd of Atlanta. Boyd was particularly concerned with fighting “Loan Sharks” or wage buyers, and founding legal aide clinics. Established at Jacksonville, “Anti Loan Shark” was to be an important national project for several years.

Commendable work by the publicity and radio committees is also mentioned by Condon in his annual report. Publicity was under the jurisdiction of Richard F. Wood of Omaha, with Charles Graham of Chicago again handling radio work. Committees also existed in other areas, including Foreign Affairs (E. Fred Johnson) and Americanism or Know America First (C. August Schrader, Indianapolis).

A national activity which came up unexpectedly was emergency aid for the State Florida struck by a hurricane a few months after the convention in Jacksonville. This disaster brought a promise for help from Condon, as well as his plea for all Jaycee chapters to support the Red Cross and thereby offer assistance.

In Florida, itself, Junior Chamber chapters pitched in with much active work under W. M. Madison State president.
Florida, which had one of the strongest state organizations, was one of a number of such groups. the development of state bodies as being stressed at this time, and growth was rapid, although this portion of Jaycee history is clouded.
At local level, Junior Chamber propjets varied as ever, and included combating of the smoke menace in Greenville, South Carolina, active participation as probation guardians for wayward boys by the Pontiac, Michigan, group, as well as an “Exposition of Progr4ess in Pontiac” which was attended by 30,000.

Famous men were bearing the Jaycee name in 1926-27, including Roger Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Dan Moody, Governor Elect of Texas. Condon himself was almost in this category, since he had been hosted at testimonial dinner in New York’s Hotel Commodore. On hand were such greats as Governor Alfred E. Smith and Mayor James J. Walker. As well as Louis Wiley, Managing Editor of the New York Times, who commended both the USJCC and Condon’s fine work.

By far the most famous Jaycee of all, however, was Charles A. Lindbergh, hero of the historic New York to Pairs solo flight in spring of 1927. Lindbergh was to be honored in New York at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for his accomplishments shortly after the conclusion of Condon’s administration by being presented a scroll inviting him to 50 different Junior Chamber cities! Condon made the presentation.

At the convention held in Omaha, Nebraska, June 8-11, H. Grady Vien of East St. Louis, Illinois, was elected president of the USJCC after a heated election with Bill Saltiel of Chicago.

Key resolutions at Omaha included the one praising Lindbergh which led to the New York presentation endorsement of ROTC training in high school, and permanent flood control of the dangerous Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Another international delegate was on hand Frank Woodman of Winnipeg, Canada. Interest in the Jaycee movement in England was also mentioned.

A trouble making constitutional change came up at Omaha when dues were raised to $1 per member. This was to cause serious consternation within short time, and bring about a bitter fight the following year.

An attempt to require subscription to Expansion magazine by all members was voted down.

 

Close Window