State: Michigan

City: Flint

Chapters: 771

Members: 47,500

Convention: Chicago, IL - June 12-14, 1943

Income: $47,500

Insurance manager, 35 year old, H. Bruce Palmer elected president for a full term.

Vice President: Robert D. Benson McPherson, KS
Vice President: Mearns T. Gates Pomeroy, WA
Committees and Awards
Vice President: Jack R. Hufford Sheridan, WY
International Relations
Vice President: Paul S. Miller Philadelphia, PA
Public and Post-War Affairs
Vice President: Jack L. Robinson Minneapolis, MN
State Organizational Affairs
Vice President: Karl O. Werwath Milwaukee, WI
Public Relations
Vice President:** Ray Millard Lafayette, IN
National Directory Activity
Treasurer:* Henry K. Frost Glendale, CA

Executive Vice President:*

Douglas Timmerman

St. Joseph, MO National Office

* Appointed position.

** Ray Millard was a USJCC staffer until December of 1942, when he resigned and became eligible for elected office.

Omaha, NE to host 1944 convention.

Presidents Finke and Shepherd had successfully led the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce through the early years of World War II, and sold the idea that the organization must remain intact. As a result, definite program s of wartime activity had been established, and post-war planning was also an important consideration of the Jaycees. Members on the home front were serving well as “trustees” of the young men’s movement.

Under President H. Bruce Palmer, the newly-elected chief executive, the USJCC was to further expand on existing programs as well as press definite advances in the fields of membership, leadership training and public relations. By the conclusion of Palmer's term, the Junior Chamber was again a growing organization more than holding its own against the hardships of war.

At the time of his election, the brilliant Palmer - a graduate of the University of Michigan - was one of the top agents of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company, a firm he later headed as president. His Jaycee background has included a stint as national vice president in 1940-41, and service as treasurer in 1941-42.

There can be little doubt that programs to aid the war effort were the most important ones being conducted by Jaycee groups across the country in 1943-44. The scrap drives, bond selling campaigns, and multitude of other similar projects, justified the existence of the organization. Through these types of programs, Jaycees proved positively that they were helping to win the war.

The extent of Junior Chamber participation in wartime projects is indicated by Palmer's annual report, in which he states:

“Because Jaycees are ‘Young Men of Action,’ it is happenstance to learn that this organization collectively has gathered more scrap, sold more War Bonds and stamps, obtained more blood plasma, and generated more servicemen services and hospitality than any other national organization. Nearly 75 organizations have sponsored LTS beats. By organizing Junior Commando units throughout the nation, the Junior Chamber of Commerce has promoted the gathering of scrap, collection of waste fats, rubber and other vital materials ...”

Under the directorship of Vice President Paul S. Miller of Philadelphia, postwar planning continued to occupy a prominent place in the thoughts of the organization, although necessarily subordinate to actual participation in the war effort.

Feeling that the organization's duty was to establish the Junior Chamber as a force for constructive good following the war, a program was adopted that encouraged the use of town meetings as an effective means of creating civic consciousness. Through the courtesy of Saturday Evening Post magazine, a manual was made available to help chapters develop the use of such meetings.

It was known that the foremost post-war problem would be the rehabilitation of servicemen, so the slogan “Jobs Plus Opportunity” was adopted as the slogan of the USJCC post-war planning program. Plans, laid in the previous administration, called for the Jaycee movement to be represented on a Clearing House Committee to assist the Selective Service Committee on Re-Employment. This Clearing House Committee, to be composed of representatives of all major organizations, would coordinate activities slanted towards quick re-employment of veterans. The organization was also planning to assist the Committee for Economic Development.

A concrete step taken by the Junior Chamber was to issue a manual on the “Rehabilitation of Disabled Servicemen.” This manual was made possible through cooperation of Westinghouse Corporation.

Really important progress in public relations was made when the USJCC and the Mutual Benefit Health and Accident Association of Omaha, Nebraska joined to sponsor a 26-week program entitled, “The Freedom of Opportunity.”

This radio show, which was on the air from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, each Friday beginning in January of 1944, went out over the Mutual Broadcasting Company’s Network and was carried by 211 stations.

Featured on the first ten programs were the Ten Outstanding Young Men of 1943, as picked for the USJCC and FUTURE magazine by a distinguished panel of judges. It had been decided to announce the TOYM selections week-by-week to initiate the series, rather than list them in the January issue of FUTURE as had been customary in the past.

Bringing the story of the TOYM to the nation in this way proved unusually effective, since the “Freedom of Opportunity” show was under the direction of Joseph Ainlee, well-known producer of the “First Nighter” series, which had been on the air continuously for 14 years.

Named the TOYM for the year were:

  • Donald Roebling, builder of the famous "alligator" amphibious tractors;
  • Richard Tregaskis, author of "Guadalcanal Diary";
  • Lt. Col. William O. Darby, organizer of the Darby Rangers;
  • Edgar F. Kaiser, Vice President, Oregon Shipbuilding Company;
  • Jack R. Simplet, Leader in the development of dehydrated foods;
  • Carl F Roester Housing Research Executive at Purdue University;
  • W. Howard Chase, Public Services Director of General Mills;
  • Richard Falk, pioneer in industrial relations;
  • H. Bruce Palmer, Leader of the Jaycees; and
  • Major Foss, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, hero of Guadalcanal and the leading American ace with 26 planes to his credit.

The famed judges who had picked the TOYM were:

  • J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI;
  • Erick Johnston, President of the Chamber of Commerce;
  • Arthur H. Motely, Publisher of American Magazine;
  • William Green, President of the AFL; Dale Carnegie, noted author and lecturer;
  • Paul G. Hoffman, President of Studebaker Corporation;
  • W. A. Patterson, President of United Air Lines;
  • Thomas J. Watson, President of IBM;
  • Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower; and
  • Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, religious leader

Contacts made by President Palmer and Executive Vice President Timmerman not only resulted in securing Mutual of Omaha as sponsor of the “Freedom of Opportunity” series, but made possible new “how-to-do-it” materials for use by committees.

Equally important, advertising in FUTURE magazine continued to increase as a result of the work of Palmer and Timmerman. With increased advertising revenue, it was possible to employ a full-time managing editor and business manager for the magazine. The new man, Charles W. Bower, assumed duties beginning with the March1944, issue, and was to retain the job as editor until 1947.

Due to the importance of maintaining membership during the war, the personnel portfolio of Vice President Robert D. Benson was one of the most important in 1943-44. Locals were assisted in membership drives, reorganization of .their clubs along more efficient lines, and in the newly-organized area of executive training. Playing an integral part in the membership program over the country was the emphasis on selling ‘firm memberships’ in the Junior Chamber, so that promising young men in various businesses would be offered valuable Jaycee training. The national organization assisted locals by sending explanatory letters to businesses, when requested.

It was under Palmer that the "Exhausted Rooster" movement was originated, with M. R. "Beans" Latimer of Denver as motivating force. The purpose of the organization was to encourage continued interest in Jayceeism and public affairs by ex-members, although the social aspects proved to be more important. The Exhausted Rooster movement gained in strength for several years, but eventually it proved impossible to maintain a national organization. There are no national old-timers groups in known existence, but many cities have old-timer or Exhausted Rooster clubs.

In the general field of organizational coordination, steps were taken during the year to increase the usefulness of the national director in the Junior Chamber setup. Directing activities in this area was Ray Millard, the Jaycee staffer who resigned his position to secure a spot as an elected national vice president.

The Junior Chamber movement’s beginnings in Central America were preserved during the administration, as International Relations Chairman Ray Wolff of Milwaukee and NBC Commentator Don Bolt took journeys in which they represented the USJCC in late 1943. At year’s end, there were eight Junior Chamber chapters in Central America, three of them in Mexico City.

As a result of the travels by Wolff and Bolt, as well as the earlier journey in Shepherd’s administration by Canadian President J. Allyn Taylor and Vance Graham, arrangements were being made for an Inter-American Congress of Junior Chambers. This meeting, which was to come in December of 1944, gave birth to Junior Chamber International.

Relations with Canada continued on a high plane, and .Palmer made five visits to our northern neighbor. Like Shepherd, he also traveled extensively in the U.S., overcoming the wartime difficulties in securing transportation.

When the administration came to a close, Palmer could look back on a year of definite accomplishment, including increased membership. At the beginning of his term, individual paid membership stood at 41,737, while this was up to 48,710 by year’s end. Chapters had also been, increased from 759 to 771.

From a financial standpoint, the administration was particularly successful, as income jumped from $40,000 to $47,500. Expenditures for the year came to about $45,200, which meant there was a surplus of $2,300 to turn over to the next administration.

All in all, the USJCC had a successful year, in spite of wartime difficulties which had actually seen national Vice President Jack Robinson leave for the armed forces!

When June of 1944 came, a war conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska, and at this meeting, Mearns T. Gates of Pomeroy, Washington, was elected as president, winning over Virginia’s Tom Baldridge.

At this Omaha conference, Tom Baldridge, President H. Bruce Palmer, and Executive Vice President Doug Timmerman were meeting one night in the LaSalle Hotel and discussing the problem of rental space for headquarters in Chicago. In the course of conversation, it was mentioned by Palmer that if every Jaycee put up one dollar, this would create a sizable fund to help make possible a headquarters. After making this suggestion, Palmer contributed $75 to buy a $100 war bond to begin the War Memorial Fund.

Baldridge then took the reigns, and funds were solicited at the Omaha meeting with $1,013.25 being raised. It is definitely known that funds were sought for a “living memorial” to the Jaycee war dead - and not a mere statue or monument – but it is doubtful if this was definitely established as a headquarters building. This point is of relatively little importance, for it was not long before it was commonly known that a headquarters was the goal.

Resolutions at the Omaha war conference were very similar to those of the previous years, and the Jaycees again asked for representation on peace talking groups, and pledged continued support of the war effort. Backing of National Independence Week preceding the Fourth of July was also advocated.


close window