City: East Lansing
Convention: Philadelphia, PA - June 3-5, 1948
Professor and Head, Department of Communication Skills at Michigan State, 35 year old, Paul D. Bagwell elected president for a full term.
||Salt Lake City, UT
||George C. Baird, Jr.
||Safety, Health and Civic Improvement
||Beverly S. Burbage
||Public Affairs and Americanism
||William O. Collins
||St. Paul, MN
||Awards and Supplies
||J. F. Fitzpatrick New
||Sports, Youth Welfare and Aviation
||Robert W. Graham
||John W. Hamrick
||Membership, Extension, and Leadership Training
||Mark V. Marlowe,
||Joseph H. Saunders, Jr.
||Jaycee War Memorial
||W. Gwynn Edmonds
|Executive Vice President:*
* Appointed position.
Colorado Springs, CO to host 1949 convention.
The administration of Paul D. Bagwell, national Jaycee president in 1948-49, will be remembered primarily. for the highly successful “Buck or Better” drive which netted most of the proceeds necessary to build the War Memorial headquarters.
Bagwell, the new Junior Chamber president, was the first top executive of the organization to come into the job from the field of college education. At the time of his election to the presidency, Bagwell was Professor and Head of the Departments of Speech and Written and Spoken English at Michigan State University.
Having received his A.B. and B.S. degrees at the University of Akron, Bagwell earned his Master of Arts at Wisconsin and in 1938, assumed duties as instructor at Michigan State. He quickly moved up the ranks, and was named head of the department and a full professor in 1942.
During his term as Jaycee president, Bagwell was on sabbatical leave from the university and carried on the most extensive travel schedule of any Jaycee president up to that time. During the course of the year, he journeyed about 300,000 miles, stopping in 326 different communities in all of the 48 states and territories. Bagwell was also in Canada and Mexico twice, took one trip to Central America, and visited almost all of the nations in western Europe.
This intense travel agenda was followed by Bagwell despite the fact that he was lame, and needed a cane to help him walk.
Following his term as Jaycee president, Bagwell returned to Michigan State as head of communication skills. He then became active in politics and ran for governor twice as the Republican Party candidate. Although losing, he helped strengthen the party and set the stage for the winning bid of George Romney in 1962.
When Bagwell took office, the War Memorial fund totaled less than $40,000 but, under his direction, the Buck or Better drive was made the number one project of the year and, by convention time in June of 1949, the fund had been boosted to $160,000. The drive chairman was Cliff Cooper, who had been a national vice president the year before.
The Buck or Better drive, which was first approved in 1946, called for each state and local organization to contribute a $100.00 series F bond (costing $74.00) and $5.00 in handling charges. Each individual member was expected to contribute a dollar or more to the cause.
To facilitate the raising of money, states were encouraged to compete with one another to see which could raise the most money by February 1, 1949, or reach their goals first. These goals had been computed from membership figures as of March, 1948. The importance of state competition cannot be minimized, and this is clearly pointed out by Frank T. Nye, Associate Editor of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette. As he explains:
“You probably also know that this movement for raising funds among the membership did not get off to a good start and appeared to be bogging down when we met for the national board meeting in Tulsa in August of 1948. It was at one session of that meeting that the spark was lighted, I am convinced, which finally resulted in building the building. R. E. Zipperer, who, at the time, was the president of the South Carolina Jaycees, rose to the floor to challenge any state with a comparable quota to a contest to raise the money. Dick Kemler was president of the Iowa Jaycees and I was immediate past president and a member of the national board of directors. We hastened to congregate our group for a short caucus and, then, forthwith accepted the challenge and a bet was placed by the Iowa and South Carolina Jaycees as to which would be the first to raise its quota. We raised our money by the method outlined by the national organization; that is, so much from each of our groups, and we got enough overage from the groups to take care of a couple which did not meet their quota, South Carolina raised the majority of its money through the lottery of an automobile, but didn't get it in until a few days after we did. Of course, Nevada had beaten us both because they had paid off their pledge at the Philadelphia convention, but Iowa was the second state and South Carolina the third. But, the point I want to get across in the historical significance of this event was that it sparked other states to make bets, such as California and Florida and a number of others.”
An interesting phase of the War Memorial project during 1948-49 was the architectural contest to pick a design for the new headquarters building which was to be built.
Through the efforts of Vice President Joseph Saunders, the Portland Cement Company, Servel and Company, and Progressive Architectural Magazine were secured as sponsors. An outstanding panel of judges was assembled, and entries opened in the contest to determine the War Memorial architect.
As Executive Vice President Frank Fister mentions, only by a contest could architects have been chosen because there was intense interest in the project by Jaycees all over the country, many of them architects.
The contest drew a total of 284 entries, and the winning team was composed of J. Edward Luders, Hideo Sasaki, and James V. Edsall. As winners, the three men received a $10,000 fee to draw up complete plans.
Sasaki was an instructor at the University of Illinois, Edsall was a city planning expert, and
Luders an architect. Edsall and Luders were in Champaign, Illinois, at the time and joined
with Sasaki to formulate the winning design. Both Edsall and Luders were employed by
Harry A. Murris, a Detroit architect and city planner. Luders and Morris eventually entered
into the actual contract to supervise construction of the building. Some revisions in the original plans were made prior to completion of the actual construction.
The total cost of the building finally amounted to nearly double the $150,000 cost which had been prescribed by the executive committee in August of 1947. Since the building was not completed until 1951, costs rose greatly because of the Korean War and the mounting post-war boom.
In regard to the winning design, the advisor to the jury of architect judges, Stow Reisner of New York City, had this to say:
“It’s a very inspired design and combines the best principles of architectural and landscape design.”
One of Bagwell's most interesting experiences as Jaycee president carne when he attended the JCI World Congress held in Brussels in April of 1949. During his administration, there was a definite and planned upsurge in interest in Junior Chamber International and one indication of this trend was the fact that 26 national officers attended the Mexican Jaycee convention held in Mexico City in October of 1948. Bagwell and another officer also attended the Central American Jaycee convention held in Guatemala City.
When the time carne for the World Congress in Brussels, a large delegation of 136 Jaycees and about 24 wives was organized to make the trip to Europe and participate in what was called, “Operation Democracy Overseas.”
During their stay in Europe, the national officers had a unique experience when an official meeting of the executive committee was held in Berlin during the time when that city was block aided by the Russians. The meeting its self was held at night by candlelight in the library of the former home of Dr. Walter Funk, President of the Reichbank under Adolph Hitler.
One result of the JCI Congress in Belgium was a deal made with 16 Philippine Jaycees to the effect that the U.S. would vote for a 1950 JCI convention in Manila, if the Philippine’s would return home from Europe by the way of the United States.
The Philippine Jaycees agreed, Manila was named the next site of the JCI Congress, and the U.S. Jaycees divided the visitors into five teams. After visiting Washington D.C. each team or group of Philippine Jaycees took a different route across the U.S. and met with Jaycee clubs while en route from the east to the west coast. Two of the teams put in an appearance at the USJCC national convention in Colorado Springs in June of 1949.
While traveling across the country, the visitors lived in the homes of American Jaycees, gave speeches, appeared on radio programs, and made a tremendous contribution in terms of an aroused interest in JCI.
Another key development in 1948-49 saw the JCI Secretariat established in Tulsa at national headquarters.
One of the top national external programs for the year was, “Speak for Democracy.” Approximately 250,000 students in 48 states, Alaska and Puerto Rico took part in the oratorical competition.
All during this period that the list of projects endorsed by national was growing, the help of outside sponsors was definitely instrumental.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company continued to back the safety program, and the Athletic Institute was behind sports activities. Sherwin Williams Paint was boosting “Fly Free America,” an aviation project, and the Decorative Lighting Guild of America financed the Christmas lighting project.
There were other sponsors, including the groups which made possible the architectural contest as well as the radio and broadcasters organizations which backed “Speak for Democracy.”
Participation in all programs was improving, and a good example was the Junior Golf tournament held in August of 1948 in Lincoln, Nebraska. One hundred sixty- seven young link stars were on hand representing 38 states. Snaring the individual title was Gene Littler of San Diego, California.
The banquet to honor the TOYM was also a success, being broadcast across America from St. Joseph, Missouri. The keynote speaker from Tennessee, for the occasion was Senator Estes Kefauver.
The TOYM for 1948, feted in January of 1949, were:
- Frank P. Zeidler, Mayor of Milwaukee;
- Sidney S. McMath, Governor of Arkansas;
- George A. Smathers, congressman from Florida;
- Lou Bourdeau, player-manager of the Cleveland Indians;
- Walter W. Cenerazzo, President of the American Watch Workers Union;
- Richard Nelson Harris, President of the Toni Company;
- Elvis J. Stahr, Dean of the University of Kentucky Law School;
- Thomas C. Hasbrook, President of the Blinded Veterans Association;
- Mike Gorman, reporter on the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, DAILY OKLAHOMAN;
- Dr. Charles A. Hufnagel, Harvard Medical School pioneer in heart surgery
A yearbook of great interest, “Young Men at Work,” was also published under Bagwell, edited by Robert H. Richards of the USJCC staff. It outlined the entire story of the 1948-49 administration, and included pictures of all national and state officers, as well as many photos depicting work on projects.
Expansion in number of chapters and increase in individual membership came to a standstill during 1948-49, for the organization had hit a definite cooling off period. The number of chapters went up about 100 to 1,764 but there was a decrease of about 1,000 individual members; with the total dipping to approximately 142,000.
Income for the year swelled from $297,500 the year before to $365,500. However, even with this increase in income, it was not possible for the USJCC to put any funds into a contingency reserve which had been discussed. Expenses were high, and, during these years, the organization was expending virtually all that it took in, for the cost of providing services to local organizations was great.
During Bagwell's administration, it was becoming apparent that more rigid financial controls were necessary for the USJCC, and real gains were made during the year. Instrumental were Gwynn Edmonds, the treasurer, and national Vice President John Hamrick. Hamrick began work on the first real Jaycee policy manual in history and was responsible for changes in the national headquarters operation.
Far more drastic administrational changes were to come during the two years following Bagwell, as the Junior Chamber – for the first time came to realize that it was a big business and needed to watch its income and expenditures very closely.
Actually, all of the presidents of the post-war period probably realized that the time was coming for a change in the way business was handled, due to the ever-increasing size of the organization. Nevertheless, service to locals seemed to be of utmost importance, and administrative overhaul had to wait.
The 1948-49 term was concluded with the convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This convention was the first where the host city, had been selected by the executive committee and the board of directors rather than by delegates.
Highlights of the convention included announcement of the results of the War Memorial Architectural contest, and the election of Clifford D. Cooper of Alhambra, California, as the next president.
It was at this convention that the organization named Andrew G. Mungenast as honorary president of the USJCC, made M. R. ‘Beans’ Latimer an honorary vice president, and reconfirmed the 1936 appointment of John Armbruster as honorary vice president. Mungenast was a Jaycee great in the early days of the St. Louis movement and the USJCC, while Latimer is the famed founder of the “Exhausted Roosters.” Armbruster is a pioneer Jaycee who began the “Log of the S. S. Fellowship.”
The attendance at Colorado Springs, including delegates and wives, was almost 3,500.
Presidential Speech referring to Junior Chamber/Jaycees:
September 21, 1948 Harry S. Truman - Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado and Utah.