State: New York

City: New York

Chapters: 158-175*

Members: 26,000*

Convention: Pasadena, CA - August 3-6, 1932

Income: $10,500*

Insurance Executive, Court Landt Otis elected president for a full term.

Vice President: Howard S. Davidson Chicago, IL
Vice President: Eugene H. Butts Memphis, TN
Vice President: Sam Street Hughes Lansing, MI
Vice President: Lathrop K. Leishman Pasadena, CA
Vice President: Leslie B. Farrington St. Paul, MN
Vice President: Alfred J. Speak Newark, NJ
Vice President: J. Howard Hayden Dallas, Texas
Vice President: Walter E. Holman Portland, OR
Vice President: Charles E. Norfleet Winston-Salem, NC
Vice President: J.A. Willson Denver, CO
Treasurer:** George H. McGlynn New York City, NY
Executive Secretary:*** Harry Krusz
New York, NY

Arthur E. Bailey Seattle, WA
Raymond J. Bonini Grand Rapids, MI
Laurence L. Brierly Newton, IA
Linton M. Collins Miami, FL
Joseph H. Fox Birmingham, AL
George Greeley Oshkosh, WI
Henry Hardy Phoenix, AZ
Reinhold N. Ingelson Moline, IL
Harold P. Klein Des Moines, IA
J. Russell Knowland, Jr. Oakland, CA
M.M. Meyers Omaha, NE
James M. Milligan Orlando, FL
Clarence M. Mulholland Toledo, OH
David M. Neustadt Columbus, OH
Lyle B. Nicholes Salt Lake City, UT
Clyde Remmo South Bend, IN
Richard J. Reynolds Atlanta, GA
J.W. Richardson Oklahoma City, OK
Robert H. Smith St. Louis, MO
Robert VanPelt Lincoln, NE
Jerry Vinson Wichita Falls, TX
L. E. Vorpahl St. Cloud, MN
E.R. West Los Angeles, CA
Bradford J. Williams Tulsa, OK
George D. Wilson Houston, TX

* estimated figure.

** Appointed position.

*** From 1928-34 Harry Krusz moved to home of national president the position was an appointed position.

St. Paul MN to host 1933 convention.

Although the depression had struck a severe blow at the U.S. economy, the Junior Chamber of Commerce remained robust during 1932-33 under the guidance of President Courtlandt Otis of New York City. Otis, a graduate of Princeton University, was an insurance broker at the time of his election, and today is a partner in one of the largest firms of insurance brokers in the nation. Otis’ Jaycee background included presidency of the New York Young Men’s Board of Trade, and vice presidency of the national organization.

At the start of his administration, President Otis had to make an important decision, namely, should he advance the necessary funds for traveling or should he economize by eliminating traveling. The reason for having to make this decision was the fact that the convention proceeds at Pasadena had already been credited to the preceding administration, and due to a change in the fiscal year from a July 1 to June 30 basis to a June 1 to May 31 basis, the proceeds of the St. Paul convention would be credited to the succeeding administration, thus leaving Otis without income from either convention. Since Otis felt it was important to continue traveling, he advanced the money himself and was later reimbursed by the succeeding administration.

Since 1932 was an election year, it was natural that “get out the vote” should be a key activity. The campaign to encourage Americans to go to the polls had begun under President Olmstead, and reached a high pitch under Otis who dubbed it the “Fifty Million Vote Campaign.” The USJCC promotion was heavily publicized in the press of the nation, and hit a peak on October 13, 1932, when a well known parachutist, national Champion Spot Jumper Joe Crane, impersonated Benjamin Franklin and dropped 2,000 feet from an auto gyro to Roosevelt Field on Long Island. After reaching earth, he was greeted by Otis and his cabinet, and in turn pulled from his lace shirt front several scrolls bearing the famous 1776 sayings:

“The ballot is the badge of true democracy”
“The right to vote marks the free man from the slave”

Parachuting was a novelty in 1932, and Crane’s jump, “Poor Richard Style,” in conjunction with the “Fifty Million Vote Campaign” of the Junior Chamber, resulted in a four page feature article in the December 31, 1932, issue of THE NEW YORKER Magazine.

Another featured activity of the vote campaign were nationwide “First Voters” meetings held throughout the country on October 29, 1932. A coast to coast radio broadcast over NBC supplemented the meetings, and President Otis, Chamber President Silas H. Straw, and Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd spoke. The purpose of the meeting and broadcast was to encourage new voters to go to the polls.

In conjunction with this vote campaign, Otis was singularly honored by being invited by both candidates for the presidency to visit with them, and discuss the major campaign issues. The USJCC president spent considerable time with President Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C. , and with Franklin D. Roosevelt in Albany, New York. A special bulletin concerning these visits was issued by Otis, and sent to Junior Chambers across the country.

Although the Jaycee campaign fell short of its goal of 50 million voters, there was an increase in the total number of ballots in 1932, as the figure hit about 37 million compared to 36 million who voted in 1928. As heated as the Hoover-Roosevelt campaign was, it did not have the popular appeal of the 1928 election which was featured by the candidacy of a Catholic, Al Smith.

Some of the issues being pressed by the Junior Chamber under Otis also brought favorable publicity. Foremost of these was a gallant stand against hospitalization benefits for veterans in cases where injuries were not service incurred.

As Otis pointed out in a letter to the joint Congressional Veterans’ Committee and in a news story in the New York Times of December 18, 1932:

“We have given careful though and study to this whole question and can see no reason why men who are injured today in civil life should receive free hospitalization and compensation payments merely because they served in the World War. Such action is making a privileged class of a part of our population.”

“The age group, 21 to 35 inclusive, which we represent, has 43 percent of the total voting population in the country. Further, the laws relating to veterans relief are creating a future obligation which will have to borne in large part by the members of our group. By reason of these facts, we feel that our views on the matters involved should receive careful consideration from your committee.”

Otis has thus become the first of several Junior Chamber presidents to take a courageous stand on an issue which was unpopular in many quarters.

Many of the planks of the Otis administration were formulated at a board meeting on September 17, 1932, in St. Louis.

The first board meeting held outside of those at conventions since the discontinuance of mid- winter conferences two years before and many important matters were resolved at this conclave.

Included was the formulation of policy in regard to hospitalization for veterans, opposition to immediate cash payment of the veterans’ bonus, and a call for economy in government.

From the view point of USJCC services, the meeting was highlighted by the decision to inaugurate a national newspaper, “Vision,” and this attractive four page publication was to continue from about November of 1932 to January of 1934.
Under President Otis, as was the case the year before when Olmstead was the chief executive, a cabinet was appointed to assist the president and other elected officers. Otis named the following men to be his key assistants: James Bryce, publications, Austin Carson, publicity, W.R. Ehrmantraut, service to members, Harry H. Helmsley, monthly report of activities, George Jordan, special activities, George H. McGlynn, treasurer, Donald H. Owens, extension, and W. Irving Plitt, national projects.

From an organizational standpoint, the USJCC was operating in 1932-33 with ten vice presidents, each in charge of a region – of which there were now ten. The number of vice presidents had been upped from seven to ten, and directors from twenty to twenty five at the Pasadena convention.

January 20 of 1933, saw even more publicity for the Jaycees, with NBC again donating time on a coast to coast hookup for a DSA program. The key speaker was Henry I. Harriman of Boston, President of the Chamber of Commerce, who congratulated the USJCC on its superb record.

A past Chamber president, William Butterworth, also commended the Jaycee movement in a DSA banquet speech at Moline, Illinois.

These were but two indications of Chamber regard for the Junior organization. A booklet was published in May of 1933 entitled, “The Junior Chamber of Commerce, ‘Endorsed’ by Prominent Chamber of Commerce Leaders.” President Otis and Secretary Krusz worked for several months on this pamphlet, which they felt was necessary because many Chamber of Commerce secretaries across the country were opposing the organization and development of Junior Chambers in the mistaken belief that top Chamber leaders were not wholeheartedly behind the young men’s movement.
Included in this pamphlet, printed and distributed by the Jaycees, were statements from prominent Chamber of Commerce and NACOS officials praising the young men’s group.

Active committees during the year were operating in aviation, clean-up and paint-up, juvenile crime, radio, sports, street and highway traffic safety, trade and commerce, Asiatic relations, South and Central American relations European relations, conservation, farm and youth and many others.

The newly created Asiatic relations committee, headed by Wayne Young of Seattle, Washington, requested all Junior Chambers of Commerce which were on the goodwill tour route of the three Japanese college students, to properly welcome and host them. This was done even though the students in question were presenting the Japanese standpoint in regard to Manchuria, which helped fan the fires of World War II.

The Farm Youth Committee, under Walfred Bobert of St. Paul, Minnesota, was unique since it was likely the first Junior Chamber body to move into the field of rural problems and city farm relations. The committee worked with Department of Agriculture agents and with 4-H Clubs, and encouraged honor banquets for farm youth, among other projects.
Sports were receiving more and more emphasis, and the feature was a telegraphic bowling tournament, with 29 chapters competing. This tourney was to be held for several years.

The conservation program, chaired by Hamilton Hicks of New York City, was continually pressing for widespread adoption in this broad field. Membership on the committee listed nationally known experts in many fields of conservation.
The Minnesota Jaycees, with Congressman W. E. Neal leading the way, were particularly active. They were campaigning, jointly with the Toronto Jaycees, for a huge national forest on the Minnesota Ontario border. Such a forest exists today and it is called the Quantico Provincial Park in Canada, and Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

A resolution calling for this huge dual refuge was also approved at the St. Paul convention in 1933.

The budget of President Otis was the same as the year before – about $10,000. Most of the money came from dues, although there also was a big push to sell individual sustaining memberships. This campaign is described in a letter from President Otis:

“You have made particular reference to the finances of the organization, and I am glad you did as it brings to mind the problems that we had in those early days. You will note, for example, in the December, 1932, issue of Vision that we had created a national sustaining membership fund and tried to obtain subscriptions of $5.00 annually from individual members. I am sorry to say that the fund was not a success as we did not secure memberships from more than 300 men was more than the results achieved. Accordingly, the fund was abandoned during the succeeding administration.”

The official USJCC minutes for 1933 indicate that expansion under President Otis was likely around 30 chapters added.

In the 1930’s, it was difficult to determine the exact number of groups which could be considered as “officially recognized,” since the total number of chapters joining the national organization did not always jibe with the number of locals submitting dues. In addition, because of depression conditions, many groups resigned or were dropped from the national organization.

In regard to expansion figures, the safest possible assumption is to note that at the conclusion of Olmstead’s administration in 1932, there were 122 official affiliates, and at the finish of West's term in 1935, there were 258 chapters. The actual breakdown of the years between is virtually impossible to compute.

The convention winding up Otis' term in 1933 was featured by the election of the home city's Les Farrington as president., a keynote speech by Henry A. Wallace, and a heated discussion concerning the International Council of Junior Chambers of Commerce (IECJC).

The IECJC had been formed at Pasadena in 1932, and by the time of the 1933 convention, the entire matter was confused. Prolonged discussion was necessary to determine just what kind of a group the IECJC really was.

Part of this confusion had come as a result of a story published in the Los Angeles Times in 1932, which described the IECJC as an “International Federation of Junior Chambers of Commerce,” with Durward Howes as President.

Actually, Howes was the chairman of the international group which had been formed, and the other U.S. Delegate was George Bray of Chicago. The IECJC was so loosely knit that the term federation was too strong to be completely accurate.

The main controversy at St. Paul revolved around whether the International Executive Council was a committee of the United States Junior Chamber, or a separate entity. The directors finally voted to consider it a separate body from the USJCC, but a group which could in no way bind the United States without permission of the board.

The IECJC, which, at the time, consisted of the U.S. , Canada, New Zealand, England, and Mexico, never evolved into a group of real importance, although it did maintain existence for two or three years.

Nevertheless, it was the first attempt at an international Jaycee group, and a forerunner of today’s JCI.

As mentioned, Les Farrington of St. Paul was named President of the Junior Chamber. He was to face difficult times in his coming stint at the controls of America’s Young Men’s Civic movement.


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