State: New York

City: New York

Chapters: 1,066

Members: 78,884

Convention: Washington, DC - June 18-21, 1940

Income: $57,200

Lawyer, 34 year old, Mark Matthews elected president for a full term.

Vice President: Tom Baldridge Front Royal, VA Extension
Vice President: Walter W. Finke Minneapolis, MN Public Affairs
Vice President: Val D. Hicks Price, UT Committees
Vice President: Joe E. Levitt San Jose, CA Public Relations
Vice President: H. Bruce Palmer Detroit, MI Internal Affairs
Vice President: W. M. Shepherd Pine Bluff, AR State Organization Affairs
Vice President: Maurice D. Whitney Rocky Ford, CO  
Treasurer:* Ben F. Hadley Columbus, OH  
Executive Vice President:*

Thomas R. Reid

Memphis, TN National Office
Chicago

* Appointed position.

Minneapolis, MN to host 1941 convention.

The administrative year 1940-41 was a good one for the Junior Chamber of Commerce movement, and indicates the continued growth which would have likely taken place if the United States had not been plunged into war on December 7, 1941.

Under newly elected President Mark Matthews, the organization continued the rapid growth which had begun two years before, and, in June of 1941, was in an extremely healthy condition. Operating under the revised constitution and by-laws, the USJCC was going forward, and probably nothing short of war would have stopped the trend.

War was to come, however, and relatively little progress could then be made until peacetime, and only the gallant work of inspired Jaycee leaders was to keep the group in tact until the duration. At the conclusion of the war, swelling membership was to completely out distance anything previously known by the Junior Chamber, and add problems of another kind. Matthews’s administration, therefore, spelled the end of an era for the USJCC.

The chief executive in 1940-41 was a lawyer, and a graduate of Columbia University. Matthews’ Jaycee background included service as New York State President and National Vice President.

The most important single development during Matthews' year in office was to come at the term-ending convention in Minneapolis, when national dues were to be raised to $1. This dues increase was the first major change since the 50 cents scale had been worked out in 1928! The $1 dues were to enable every member to receive a copy of FUTURE magazine, a practice which has existed since $1 dues first went into effect in April of 1942.

Although 1940-41 was a peacetime administration, many programs of the organization were being slanted towards wartime, including those in Americanism and physical fitness. Other programs during the Jaycee year were similar to those of the preceding year, with get out the vote, aviation development, city beautification, civil identification, street and highway lighting, after hours safety,, and fire prevention on the list.

Emphasis on national affairs continued to be stressed, and Public Affairs Secretary Fred Linton was working effectively as the spokesman of the Jaycees in Washington, D.C. The organization had grabbed the national spotlight at the nation’s capital in 1940 by passing the resolution favoring Selective Service, and, at this time in its development, the USJCC was possibly more vitally concerned with becoming the “Voice of Young Men in America” than at any time before or since.
President Matthews said in his year-end report:

“….there is a new eagerness to express opinions on public affairs, questions to congressmen and legislators; a new understanding of the part each individual citizen plays in the working democracy.”

With the resignation of Linton in the spring of 1941, the office of Washington representative was discontinued and the war prevented hiring of a new man. The chief concern of all Americans was to win the war, and domestic issues became subordinate to the wartime effort. Following the war, the junior Chamber again and its chance to take national stands, but probably has not returned to the strong position it seemed to be developing just prior to the outbreak of fighting in 1941.

In addition to the projects mentioned, the Jaycee organizations was continuing to issue “how-to-do-it” material on a variety of subjects and activity at grassroots level, was diversified. Over 400 different booklets, manuals and project digests were in the national headquarters’ files ready for mailing on request.

From a public relations standpoint, the Junior Chamber continued to scare highly. Close to a dozen national radio broadcasts featured the Jaycees,, and articles pertaining to the organization were in four national magazines, including Readers’ Digest and Nation’s Business.

The naming of the Ten Outstanding Young Men was also resumed in 1940, with a FUTURE magazine article listing the winners appearing in the January, 1941 issue. The TOYM program had begun with the publishing of Durward Howes 1938 selections in 1939. Only a single winner, Harold Stassen, was named in 1939-40, but under Matthews, FUTRE resumed the listing, with Howes acting as an advisor in helping as he was also to do the following year.

Named as the TOYM for 1940 in a FUTURE magazine article appearing in January of 1941 were:

  • Robert A Boyer, 21 year old Ford Motor Company research prodigy,
  • Leo M. Cheerne, Editor in Chief of the Research Institute of American,
  • Henry T. Heald, youthful President of the Illinois Institute of Technology,
  • Dr. Irving P. Krick, California Institute of Technology meteorology expert,
  • Edwin H. Land, President of The Polaroid Corporation,
  • Mark S. Matthews, President of the Junior Chamber,
  • Robert R. Nathan economist,
  • Orim Root, Jr., Promoter of Wendell Wilkie’s Republican Party nomination for President of the United States,
  • Lyle M. Spencer of Science Research Associates,
  • William Saroyan, Pulitzer Prize and drama Critics Circle winner.

Boyer, the automotive genius that Henry Ford honored with the establishment of a special research division, was also chosen as the DSA winner for 1940.

The American economy was expanding as war became imminent, and this resulted in decreased emphasis on programs concerned with brining the nation out of the depression. The Jaycees’ cooperative experiment on unemployment with the Council of Democracy was one of the programs made nearly obsolete due to increased employment brought by war production.

Several staff changes occurred in spring and summer of 1941 as Mathews’ administration was drawing to a close. The first saw Fred Linton resign his post as Public Affairs Secretary to take a job with the chamber of Commerce of the U.S. This brought about the hiring of Hal Herman as a full time publications secretary to write materials.

Executive Secretary Tom Reid was to step out of Jaycee work in June of 1941, and was replaced by Douglas H. Timmerman of St. Joseph, Missouri, immediately following the term-ending convention in Minneapolis. Ramon C. Millard continued as Organization Service Secretary.

A field service secretary, Walter Stone had also been employed in the spring of 1941, but he was only to serve until November or December of that year. With the outbreak of war, the financial situation became so uncertain that it was necessary to pare the staff down to three men.

Under Matthews’ peacetime administration, however, the financial situation was good. The organization had a surplus of $6,500 out of an income of $57,000 for 1940-41.

Expansion during the year showed an increase of 205 chapters to bring the total of 1,066. Individual membership was up to 78,884.

At the convention in Minneapolis, the most hotly-contested issue concerned the raising of dues to $1 to enable FUTURE magazine to be sent to all members. The change was finally ratified, but the decision required a long roll all vote. A sizeable block of states, including many from the south, objected to the new dues scale on the grounds that it would lead many local groups to withdraw from national. The dues revision was approved, however, and was to go into effect as of April 1,, 1942. It provided that dues should be based on $1 per member, except that no chapter would pay less than $30 really, nor more than $400. National would provide up to 400 free subscriptions to a chapter, with additional subscriptions available at 30 cents per year.

As a result of the dues change, FUTURE became a great unifying force in the movement. Junior Chamber publications had been relatively short-lived until the birth of FUTURE, but with this additional financial support, FUTURE was insured of publication, and has appeared regularly for 20 years.

Another resolution which was voted into effect at the convention reintegrated the USJCC support of Selective Service, and also called for improved labor management relations to insure continued production, emphasis on physical fitness programs, curtailment of non essential non defense expenditures, better recreation facilities for soldiers, and a competent board to study and levies the best possible methods of making inevitable adjustments that would be necessary at the end of the war. Even before Pearl Harbor, the Jaycees knew that America was destined to enter the world turmoil which was roaring across the earth.

One of the speakers at the convention, famed columnist and radio commentator, Drew Pearson, predicted the U.S. entry into the war, but his hunch that it would not be brought about by an attack such as Pearl Harbor, proved wrong. Pearson thought that our “belligerent neutrality” rather than any single act of aggression from outside would eventually lead the U.S. to join the fighting.

Another speaker at the convention was Lewis B. Hershey, Director of Selective Service for the United States. The Junior Chamber of Commerce was cooperating to the utmost with the Selective Service system all across the country, and it is said by some sources that this cooperation, and the 1940 Jaycee resolution favoring the draft, contributed to the commissioning of many top USJCC leaders in the armed forces. Many of the movement’s top men were destined to compile brilliant military records.

Chosen president for the coming “war” term was Walter W. Finke of Minneapolis, who was at the time, the 34 year old Director of Social Welfare for the State of Minnesota. His opponent was Tom Baldridge of Winchester, Virginia, who withdrew from the race. Baldridge, now an honorary member because of his fostering of the War Memorial Fund, was to be active in Jaycee affairs for many years. 

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