Convention: Officers elected by mail since no full board meeting could be held. A state presidents' meeting was held June 16 and 17 in Chicago, and is often referred to as the Fourth War Conference. However, it actually was not a full meeting of the organization, and the national president, Henry Kearns, had already been elected.
Construction Company President, 29 year old, Henry Kearns elected president for a full term.
||J. Francis Brenner
|| Charleston, SC
||Extension, Membership and Supplies
||John P. Hunt
||Charles A. Kothe
||Grant S. Thorn
||Action Group Projects
||Seldon F. Waldo
||Public Relations and Awards
|Executive Vice President:*
Hal Herman until 1/46
Rex McMorris as of 1/46
| Chicago, IL
* Appointed position.
Milwaukee, WI to host 1946 convention.
The fastest growth in the history of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce was realized in 1945-46 under President Henry Kearns of Pasadena, California. Although growth has been rapid since that time, the increase in membership which took place in the first peacetime administration following World War II has never been equaled. All- in-all, the USJCC's twenty-fifth anniversary year was an outstanding one.
The servicemen had been returning to civilian life slowly during the term of Mearns Gates, but, following surrender of Japan in August of 1945, the armed forces began discharging men by the millions. This meant that former Jaycees were not only back in circulation, but countless other young men were available for membership.
The result was that individual membership rose from about 62,929 where it stood in June of 1945, to 105,048 by the conclusion of Kearns' administration in June, 1946. The number of Jaycee locals rose from 842 to 1,143. Increased income also meant more money and the budget in 1945-46 was nearly double that of any other year in the history of the movement. Income for the year was about $101,500, expenditures $98,500, and the USJCC books were once again in the black.
Kearns was well-qualified to lead the Junior Chamber during this year of growth. He was president of a plastics manufacturing firm at the time of his election, and his Jaycee background included service as a local and state president and as a national vice president. After his term in office as Jaycee president, Kearns went on to become Assistant Secretary of Commerce of the United States in International Affairs.
Hal Herman continued as the executive vice president until January 1, 1946, when he was replaced by Rex McMorris, who moved up from the post of projects promotion secretary. Jack Hufford had resigned his job as organization service secretary in September of 1945, and was replaced by Richard Adams. Adams only stayed with the organization for two months, however, and was, in turn, replaced by Henry Heffner, at about the same time as McMorris moved into the top job. Taking over the job as projects promotion secretary was Tom Thomas.
This staff was commended for its remarkable job by Waldo, a job which included re- establishing operations after a fire razed the LaSalle Hotel on June 6, 1946, just prior to the end of the administration. The fire, which killed 65, damaged the Jaycees' 20th floor headquarters and destroyed certain of the files of the organization. Nevertheless, the headquarters was in operation again after the staff pitched in for necessary clean-up work and repairs.
With the return of servicemen in vast number, it was possible to put more stress on peacetime projects, although scrap drives, bond sale campaigns, and aid to the USO were not arbitrarily dropped by Jaycee groups. On national level, these projects were under the direction of Chairman Charles Westfall of Ecorse, Michigan.
As would be imagined, service to veterans was one of the major programs of the USJCC in 1945-46. Under the direction of national Vice President John P. Hunt of Detroit, and Chairman Fred Hunter, also of Detroit, the emphasis was on “a better-than-average job for a better than-average man.”
Due to national Jaycee encouragement, this meant continued “in- service contact” by Jaycee groups across America with veterans, and assistance to returning servicemen, especially in the fields of housing and job finding. Aid to disabled and hospitalized veterans was another popular program.
The entire veterans program, including a “Manual of Ideas” and supplementary material, was made possible by General Motor s Corporation.
The so-called “Action” projects were under the portfolio of Vice President Grant Thorn of Springfield, Utah. Work in this field included aviation, sports, safety, safety-with-light, public health, Christmas activities, youth activities, community face-lifting, and agriculture and trade promotion.
In many of these areas, help was provided by outside sponsors. United Airlines made possible a manual of instruction in the development of aviation, and Liberty Mutual Insurance provided material for use in safety programs. Minneapolis-Honeywell made available a public health manual, and A.G. Spalding and Sons also sponsored activity in the sports field.
Travis Cowen of Houston, Texas, was the chairman of the sports program and Vice Chairman Ray Rice of East St. Louis; Illinois, prepared a handbook of rules for the operation of Jaycee baseball leagues for boys which was distributed to all locals. The following year, Rice was to become Jaycee sports director in staff-level capacity, with an office in Chicago.
The public relations portfolio was the responsibility of Vice President Winfield Weitizel of Washington, D.C., and he saw national publicity garnered by the organization hit an all-time peak.
Highlights included Jaycee Radio Week, National Junior Chamber Week, Dedication of a “Town Meeting” broadcast, the presentation of the TOYM, and congressional observance of the 25th anniversary of the Jaycee movement, preparation of the 25th anniversary manual and a professional sound film showing Jaycee projects in action.
Perhaps the greatest of all these publicity ventures was the naming of the TOYM in the January issue of FUTURE, and the conferring of DSA awards to the winners at a banquet in Chicago on January 16; this banquet, held at the Terrace Casino of the Morrison Hotel, was jointly sponsored by the USJCC and the Chicago Junior Association of Commerce. This was the first TOYM banquet ever held and it was broadcast nationwide by ABC, covered by all the wire services and recorded on film by MGM and 20th Century Fox News.
Approximately 1,000 Chicago Junior Association Bosses' Night participants and other guests were present for the banquet and ceremonies, at which Henry Ford, II, President of Ford Motor Company, was named “Outstanding Young Man of the Year.” Six of the other TOYM were also present for the occasion which was the key event of the 25th anniversary Junior Chamber of Commerce week.
The TOYM for 1945 included:
- Henry Ford, II, President, Ford Motors;
- George C. Dade, shipping expert;
- Abe Fortas, Under Secretary of the Interior;
- J. Wes Gallagher, Associated Press Foreign Correspondent;
- Robert S. Ingersoll, Borg Warner executive;
- James Linen, Publisher of TIME magazine;
- Charles Luckman, Executive Vice President of Lever Brothers;
- Frank McCarthy, soldier-diplomat and Assistant Secretary of State;
- Dr. Van R. Poter, Biochemist; and
- Gene Root, Chief of Aerodynamics for Douglas Aircraft
For the third straight year, a panel of outstanding Americans had assisted FUTURE and the USJCC in picking the winners.
Another feature of Junior Chamber Week had come a day earlier in the joint Minneapolis/St. Paul celebration at the University of Minnesota. Broadcast nationally over ABC, the event was highlighted by an address by ex-Minnesota Governor and DSA winner, Harold Stassen. President Kearns introduced Stassen, and the Minnesota great lauded the movement.
Over the nation, participation in Junior Chamber Week was excellent, and more than half of all chapters conferred DSA awards at local levels. Many chapters held their banquet to coincide with the Jaycee Week events broadcast nationally.
January 17th saw the dedication of the “Town Meeting of the Air” broadcast over ABC to the Jaycees. The subject of the program was appropriately enough, “What Does the Veteran Want Upon His Return.” This was appropriate, considering the Junior Chamber’s long-time interest in the subject of the veteran and post-war planning.
The Jaycee movement also received invaluable recognition in the Congressional Record, since members of the Congress from 27 states spoke in the House and Senate about Jaycee activity and its contribution to the national welfare. Copies of the Congressional Record containing these remarks were sent to government and civic leaders, plus about 100,000 to Jaycees.
Accomplishments of the Junior Chamber were preserved in yearbook form in a “25th Anniversary Annual,” prepared by Chairman Cliff Cooper of Alhambra, California, and Editor Arnold Ingram of Pasadena. This yearbook, which was sold to Jaycees and to others interested, contained pictures of all national and state officers as well as complete photographic summary of the year’s activities.
A Jaycee songbook, prepared by Loren Wheelwright of Salt Lake City, was also released.
The sound movie which was produced came about through the work of Chairman George Colouris, and was made possible by Al Lytle, President of the Hartford (Connecticut) Jaycees. Plans were made whereby copies of the film (depicting project activity) would be prepared for distribution through the cooperation of the Aetna Affiliated Companies of Hartford.
Heading the portfolio in the field of governmental affairs was Seldon Waldo of Gainesville, Florida. Key projects included a “Speak Up Jaycees” program to provide an intelligent and practical method for the study of government problems. A manual of ideas and suggested procedure was produced to aid this project through the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. In conjunction with this program, referenda subjects were submitted to the membership for consideration.
Tax education was another project adopted by many Jaycee communities as was sponsorship of Americanism Week, February 12 to 22, and Independence Week from July 1 to 4.
Leadership training and membership assimilation and orientation were the concern of Vice President Thorn, assisted by Co-chairman Paul D. Bagwell of Lansing, Michigan, and Ed J. Bramble of Long Beach, California. Through Bagwell's work, a community leadership training program was prepared for printing.
Leadership training al so included eight regional institutes which provided valuable training for local and state officers.
Internal operation and the integrated structure was the responsibility of Vice President Charles Kothe of Tulsa. His “I.D. Xchange”, a newsletter, greatly increased coordination between national, state and local officers. Another innovation saw all state officers included in national mailings.
The Jaycee’s top men in international relations were Vice President Taylor Cole of Midland, Texas, and Chairman Ray Wolff of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What is designated as the first congress of Junior Chamber International took place in February of 1946 at Panama City, Panama. At that meeting, a provisional constitution was adopted, and Erasmo Chambonnet of Panama City named president, with Cole as vice president; and, soon after this congress, the U.S. officially affiliated with JCI.
What stands as the most important decision taken by the USJCC in 1945-46 came at an executive committee meeting on September 8, 1945, when Jaycee communities were asked to submit a bid if they desired to have the national organization locate its headquarters in their city. It was expected that bidding cities would offer some tangible incentive to the USJCC, and it was hoped that Jaycees across the country would swell Tom Baldridge's fund to $100,000.
It was the Tulsa Junior Chamber which instigated much of the interest in shifting of headquarters from Chicago and building of a headquarters building in another city.
Soon after the War Memorial Fund had been initiated in Omaha, in 1944, a Tulsa Jaycee Dick Gode had begun campaigning for the Oil Capital to become the USJCC home city and site for any headquarters building which might be constructed.
At an Oklahoma directors’ meeting in the fall of 1944, it had been decided that Tulsa would receive state backing in the bid.
Due to its advance thinking, Tulsa was best prepared to present its bid for headquarters at the 1946 convention in Milwaukee, and the Oil Capital offered $100,000 to help finance a building. Although no decision was made at the convention, the matter being deferred until the fall board meeting, Tulsa was to be approved as the headquarters site in September of 1945. The move to Tulsa actually took place in July of 1947.
FUTURE magazine was the topic of much consideration during Kearn’s administration, since the Graffis Brother s, publisher s in Chicago, were losing about $1,500 monthly on the magazine and could not afford to maintain operation under such conditions.
It was finally agreed to consider the offer of another publisher, and give the incoming executive committee the authority to make any necessary decisions, including taking over publication rights for the USJCC.
In the interim, the Graffis Brothers were to continue publishing the magazine, with the Junior Chamber to help defray losses.
The administrative year 1946-47 was to see the national organization take over the publication of the magazine, and assume all expenses.
Considerable rewriting of the national organization's constitution and by-laws took place during the year. These clearly defined the 21 to 35 age limits, and made it clear that locals could not change their by-laws to conflict with terms of affiliation which also stated that they must belong to state groups. Some charters still had not been reissued following the monumental 1938-39 constitutional changes, and means had to be taken to insure a completely integrated national/state/local movement, with all chapters affiliated.
A number of administrative innovations were recorded during the year, including establishment of an “A” awards program to honor chapters which maintained a complete program of activities, The death of North Carolina President Clayton W. Frost in an air crash following presentation of a local charter to the Kings Mountain group in April of 1946 was to lead to the establishment of the Clayton Frost award which is given to the five outstanding state presidents.
All over Jaycee land, interest was mounting as the time approached for the national convention in Milwaukee, This was to be the first “old-time" Junior Chamber convention since 1942, following a series of drab war conferences.
The convention turned out all that was expected of it, and over 2,000 Jaycees and their guests swarmed to the beer capital. All 48 states were represented, plus Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Canada and New Zealand.
Named president for the coming year in a torrid election was Seldon Waldo of Gainesville, Florida, who defeated Grant Thorn of Utah.
Key resolutions at the convention included endorsement of Hawaiian statehood and support of the United Nations movement. The chief convention Speaker was Harold Stassen.
The final important decision under President Kearns came on June 29, 1946, when the War Memorial Trustees approved a plan to raise money for a headquarters building. More about this plan, which became known as the “Buck-or-Better” drive, will be mentioned later. The drive was actually in low gear until it became the No.1 project of the year during 1948-49 under Paul Bagwell.