City: East St. Louis
Members: 12,000 * estimated
Convention: Omaha, NE June 8-11, 1927
Attoney, 29 year old, H. Grady Vien elected president for a full term.
||William Henry Harrison
||Earnest A Baetz
||San Antonio, TX
||E. Spencer Greason
||New York, NY
||Los Angels, CA
||Richard F. Wood
||Thomas D. Barlow
||New Brunswick, NJ
|Secretary to the Board:
||E. Rollins Dunn
||New York, NY
||S. R. Kemp
St. Louis, MO
|Harry J. Krusz
||St. Louis, MO
|B. D. Fincannon
|Herbert F. McCulla
|G. Dewey Oxner
|J.J Ryan, Jr.
|Elton W. Viets
San Antonio, TX to host 1928 convention.
The two most noteworthy factors concerning the eight administration under President Grady Vien of East St. Louis, Illinois, are directly connected the newly adopted $1 dues, and the hiring of the first full time paid executive secretary of the organization.
A boost in dues from 30 cents to $1 per member had been voted at the convention in Omaha, and as new president, Vien was expected to show something for this money. The result was the hiring of S. Reau Kemp as executive secretary of the organization.
Vien was in a good position to know just how much such a man was needed to give continuity to the USJCC, for he had served three years as a vice president, in charge of local unit development and service. It was under his direction that the “Group Hearing Reports” had been issued in the previous administration, and these were among the most valuable materials yet published on Junior Chamber operation. As editor of these first reports, Vien knew that a full time executive could see that many more such “hot to do it “pamphlets were prepared, as well as add the continuity to headquarters operation which had been lacking.
A lawyer by profession, Vien had been affiliated with the Junior Chamber movement from its first days, and was a good friend of the founder, Giessenbier. In addition to handling duties as a Jaycee vie president and issuing the Group Hearing Reports, he had formed the first state organization in Illinois early in 1927.
As a speaker, Vien is said to have been as brilliant as George Wilson, the second Jaycee president.
In his hometown, Vien was known as one of the keenest lawyers in East St. Louis, and had long been active in civic affairs in the community. He was eventually to become the state attorney for his district, and was serving in that position at the time of his death in 1943.
Vien was the second Jaycee president that was a Roman Catholic. The other Catholic president had been his immediate predecessor, Bob Condon. There were to be no other men of their faith named to the top Junior Chamber job until 1953 and the election of Dain Domich.
To initiate his term in office, Vien made an important announcement that accurately summarized developments under Johnson and Condon and forecast the year to come:
“Aside from our local program activities, we found that the national organization had a very definite national program to present to its members which could participate in by almost every local Junior Chamber of Commerce. The main features of the national program are aeronautics, political education, reforestation, legal aid, Canadian relationships and foreign relations.”
One of Vein’s first steps was to hire an executive secretary, and the man chosen was S. R. Kemp of the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis. He received a salary of $400 per month very good in 1927.
Kemp actually served only until February 28.1928, when he left to handle convention work for the Legion. Supposedly, this was only a temporary leave of absence, but Kemp elected not to return. AS a result, his temporary replacement, Harry Krusz, was appointed to the post officially following the 1928 convention at San Antonio. He received $300 monthly.
Krusz’ stint of service, from February, 1928, to the winter of 1934, is the longest on record for a Jaycee executive. Krusz had first joined the Jaycee movement in St. Louis in about 1918, two years before the national organization was founded. A close friend of Giessenbier, Mungenast, and a former employee of Clarence Howard, he worked in the national movement from the very first, and was a natural to appoint as secretary. Krusz attended all 16 of the USJCC conventions from 1920-35, and probably knows more about the early history for the organization than any other man.
He remained in organizational work for many years, and became a top official in the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S..
Vein, like Condon, realized the advantage of extensive travel and personal contact with member organizations, both he and Kemp were on the road most of the time during the first half of the term.. Vien visited 17 cities in the east and Midwest, and included Brooklyn, Chicago and Milwaukee. In the spring of 1928, Vien departed for a two week jaunt in the south and south west , visiting Oklahoma City, Tulsa, all the major cites in Texas, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Memphis.
In regard to this trip, Vien reported:
“Unparalleled interest in local propjets and support of national efforts of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce such as I have never seen before during my eight year’s connection with the organization show that he the movement is sound and that at least the national organization is pulling together for one goal and promises for San Antonio the largest and most constructive convention ever held.”
National projects reached a new peak under Vien, with real progress in all areas. Particularly noteworthy was the work of the Aviation Committee under Chairman Bob Condon. An advisory Aviation Committee had also been established to offer its guidance, and consisted of such famous men as Richard Byrd, Commander of the North Pole expedition, Walter Hinton, and Charles Lindbergh, the “Eagle of the Skies”
Accomplishments for the year in the field of aviation included establishment of flying clubs at Dayton and Los Angeles, organization of the Aviation Cadets of America by the Waco, Texas, chapter to provide ground training for high school students establishment of Winburn Field at San Antonio through the work of the San Antonio Jaycees, sponsorship of the Haldeman Stinson record breaking endurance flight in Jacksonville, Florida, and an airplane show in San Francisco which displayed many kinds of craft.
Reforestation, under the guidance of M. J. Alexander of St. Louis reached a climax with a forestry week in April, sponsored in cooperation with the Order of Hoo Hoo’s (a group of the National Lumberman’s Association) and the American Forestry Association. Forestry week was well received, and many cities participated, including St. Louis, Cairo, Jackson, Birmingham, Tulsa, Flint, St Augustine, and Atlanta.
Get out the Vote received heavy emphasis across the country, because 1926 was an election year. The national committee was not particularly active in itself; but the overall program was highlighted by fine programs in Tampa, Jacksonville and Los Angeles, among other places.
Legal air promotion, under Boyd of Atlanta, was featured by a booklet which he prepared. Over the nation, loan sharks were feeling the heat of Jaycee effort, and this led to licensing of several doubtful firms in East St. Louis, and expulsion of fraudulent loan companies in Birmingham, Alabama.
Canadian relations were managed by Giessenbier, and Dennis Cockril of Winnipeg was to appear at the San Antonio convention and report on clubs in Canada. Many of their projects, such as Get out the Vote and Clean Up and Fix Up were similar to those in the U. S. an interesting Canadian innovation was the Calf Club for youngsters. All in all there were four groups in Canada which could be called Junior Chambers.
In the field of foreign relations, Vice President E. Spencer Greason was preparing to visit the Junior Chamber which were springing up in England.
Relationships with the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. stood about the same as during the Condon administration. Correspondence with Chamber groups was endeavoring to promote friendship between the two organizations, and was slowly meeting more and more success. Famed Any Mungenast and Harmon E. Snoke of Indianapolis were the Jaycee representatives on the Chamber’s advisory committee for civic development.
Projects at local level were diversified. Among the most noteworthy was the Omaha, Nebraska sponsorship of the National AAU Track and Field Meet at the University of Nebraska. Under the direction of Sam Waugh, the Junior Chamber conducted the best AAU meets in history. An active member working in Lincoln was Herbert McCulla, National Jaycee President in 1929-30.
Other projects of interest to sporting fans included announcement by the Atlanta Jaycees that they would raise funds for a $200,000 golf course in honor of famed “Grand Slam” golfer Bobby Jones, who was incidentally a Jaycee. In Birmingham, Alabama, the Junior Chamber sold well over $100,000 worth of bond which helped make possible construction of Municipal Stadium.
Detroit had a unique project which promoted the use of air mail. At this time, air mail was carried by private concerns, and the continued development of service depended upon citizens using the new means of rapid communication.
Bowling and other types of athletic leagues were cropping up steadily over the country among Jaycee chapters, and Vice President Baetz was in charge of national bowling promotion. Just whether or not a correspondence type league ever went into operation is not known.
New Junior Chambers were being formed under Vien, although he figures would seem to indicate a decrease in the number of the chapters. Condon’s administration had wound up with between 60 and 65 affiliates, while Vien had about 50 at the end of his term.
What is likely is that groups which had not paid up their dues for several years finally dropped from the rolls when a more efficient collection system was made possible with an executive secretary.
Krusz, who took over the secretarial post in February of 1928, mentions that there were only 40 paid up chapters at that time.
Important extensions included the chartering of the Portland. Maine, group which had been founded in 1925 by Walter Morre, Jr. A chapter was also established in Denver just before the term began an extension which was accomplished in near Condon like rapidly when a touring group of Jaycees found that there was no organization in the Mile High City and went to work. Instrumental were J. Orville Spreen of St. Louis and Robert Moebus of Dayton. All were en route to Omaha and the convention.
During 1928, there were state organizations operating in Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, and Illinois. In Oklahoma, the best established of the state organizations and the only one which had a vote at the 1927 Omaha convention. Six member groups were necessary to earn a vote for a state organization.
Conferences held during the year had included a successful mid winter meeting at Dayton, February 4-5, with 77 delegates attending. Key business included calling for a $10,000 budget by Vien, and when the term had ended; the national organization had actually taken in $10,000 and spent $9,800.
The San Antonio convention, which concluded Vien’s term in office, was held June 13-16, and as expected, a battle raged over the $1 dues. Even though a national executive secretary had been employed and the USJCC was gradually offering more services to its members, many large chapters felt that they were not getting their money’s worth. Los Angeles, Chicago and Des Moines were among the bitterest foes of the $1 dues. After much hassling at the convention, however, dues remained the same. Even though a referendum was to be submitted to the membership across the country to resolve the matter, Los Angeles, Chicago and Des Moines all indicated that they were resigning shortly after the convention. They had officially left the fold, but all three were to be back in the family within a year, thanks to a dues cut at the mid winter conference in 1929, and the efforts of the new president, and Secretary Harry Krusz.
The presidential election for the 1928-29 term was a much less torrid affair with Earnest Baetz of San Antonio elected unanimously.
Resolutions adopted called for appointed a five man committee to work out better relations with the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. and more participation in the field of aviation by the federal government.