A History of the National Amateur Press Association
By Truman Spencer
From his book History of Amateur Journalism
Published through the good offices of The Fossils and Sheldon Wesson
THE FIRST PERMANENT NATIONAL ORGANIZATION
DURING THE YEARS following the invention of the amateur printing press selling at a low price, amateur journals increased greatly in numbers and were found in all parts of the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They were especially numerous and influential in the South. Ten years later nearly a thousand were in existence, many of them short-lived, but some reaching the hoary age of five or even six years, a long period in the lifetime of a boy.
After the National, Eastern and Western Associations came to an end in 1874, many local clubs covering a limited territory were formed, and some of them, in the larger cities, achieved considerable size and interest. But the desire for an organization upon a larger scale, to include the entire country in its scope, was felt by many amateurs. It has often been said that Charles E. Williams, of Portland, Me., in his paper the Gazette, first suggested the formation of a national association at Philadelphia, since many amateur journalists would attend the Centennial Exhibition. This is an error. It is very probable that Williams made such a suggestion, but if so, it fell upon unheeding ears. The credit for calling the second and more lasting National Amateur Press Association into being undoubtedly belongs to a group of enthusiastic amateurs of Philadelphia. Indeed, they had been hard at work for months at the time William’ proposition is said to have been made. To Evan Reed Riale, more than to any other one man, the present N.A.P.A. owes its existence.
Riale was at that time editor of the Quaker City Journal. In January, 1875, he conceived the idea of such an organization. For months he corresponded with amateurs throughout the nation, and on August 5, in consultation with Frank K. Vondersmith, editor of the Boys' Gem, definite steps were taken to prepare for a convention. That very afternoon they made calls upon other amateurs in the city and secured their cooperation. It was decided to form an organization to make the necessary arrangements, its purpose made clear by calling it the National Amateur Press Association. The first meeting of this local body was held on February 19, 1876. Those present besides Riale and Vondersmith were John D. Brandt, Pearl; George W. Bertron, Boys' Gem; Dudley A. T. Cross, Boys' Press; Edgar R. Headley, True Blue; David J. Hunter, Boys' Press; Frank E. Macaran; M. F. Peterson, Boys' Press; and Robert W. Smiley, Amateur Clipper. They were joined at a later meeting by Levenus S. Kern, Dispatch, and John C. Worthington, Centennial Exposition. The formation of the National Amateur Press Association was due to the self-sacrificing labor of these 12 boys, all of them in their teens, who made all the arrangements down to the smallest detail, and paid all the expenses.
The hardest task was to raise the necessary funds. None of the boys was rich in silver or gold. It was finally voted that each member should pay into the treasury each week 5 cents. From the money thus accumulated every expense incidental to the convention was paid.
Bertron was chosen President; Riale, Corresponding Secretary; and Vondersmith, Treasurer. Hunter was made Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements. He secured the use of City Institute Hall for July 4. Years later, former amateur journalists placed a bronze tablet in the Hall commemorating the N.A.P.A. organization, but the building has since been razed.
In the meantime James M. Beck, then a youth of 14, independently thought of such a gathering, and in December, 1875, in the Literary Times, of which he was one of the editors, he printed the following paragraph:
Reader, what think you of holding a grand convention of the amateurs of the world in this city on July 3d? The plan can and will be pushed through. Call and address as above.
This was the earliest suggestion of such a meeting to appear in print. Beck followed it up by writing to some of the Boston amateurs and secured their hearty approval. Knowing nothing of the local N.A.P.A. already in existence, Beck engineered the formation of a "Literary Union" to arrange for the convention. Thus there were two organizations working for the same purpose, a seeming waste of effort. Upon learning of the earlier association, founded by Riale, Beck joined it at its meeting on May 27, and was made Vice-President to fill a vacancy. Riale carried on an extensive correspondence, writing over a thousand letters to amateurs in all parts of the country, and in May and June mailed 200 printed invitations, worded as follows:
1876 AMATEURS CONVENTION 1876
You are respectfully invited to attend the forthcoming Convention to be held in The City Institute Hall, N.E. Cor. Eighteenth and Chestnut Sts., on the 4th day of July, 1876, at 12 M.
P.S. Expenses of said convention to be defrayed by "The National Amateur Press Association." All that propose to attend will please communicate with the undersigned, stating what Rail Road and Train they will arrive on, and in order to prevent confusion, committees will be in waiting at the various depots. Visitors will distinguish the persons constituting the committees by a badge of the Association.
Evan R. Riale, Corresponding Secretary
504 W. Norris St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Richard Gerner, Chairman
Among those to whom Riale had written was Richard Gerner, of Hoboken, N. J., the most prolific of amateur authors, who advertised himself as "author of upwards of a thousand popular tales and sketches." On May 10, young Gerner visited Philadelphia to attend the opening of the Centennial Exposition, and that evening made a call upon Riale, who secured his consent to be nominated as temporary chairman of the convention, and this nomination was endorsed at the meeting of the local N.A.P.A. on May 18. Vondersmith, Beck and Riale were appointed the Reception Committee.
The Fourth of July dawned fair and pleasant, but the day proved intensely hot. No weather could match the fervent enthusiasm of the more than three score youths who assembled at City Institute Hall at noon. Except for the local amateurs nearly all were strangers to one another, known only through letters and exchanged papers. In the ante-room at the top of a stairs a register was provided in which each delegate was asked to sign his name. John Hosey, editor of Our Free Lance, New York City, was the first to sign. In all 65 amateurs were present. It should be noted that less than 20 of these came from Philadelphia. Eleven States and the District of Columbia were represented. Ten came on from Washington, a like number from New York City and Brooklyn, five from Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia, three each from Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland and New York State, two each from Virginia, Missouri and Ohio, and one each from Wisconsin, New Jersey and Delaware. Edward A. Oldham started from Wilmington, N. C., by sea to attend, but his steamer was delayed by a storm, and he arrived one day too late. William W. Winslow, editor of the Amateur Herald, at that time only 14 years old, came 300 miles to attend from Punxsutawney, Pa. He was accompanied by Mulford B. Tausig, editor of Amateur Bulletin, Harrisburg, and the pair attended together succeeding annual conventions at Long Branch, Chicago and Washington.
Charles McColm, of Cleveland, Ohio, who as Vice-President, in the absence of the President, presided over the largely attended convention of the first National A.P.A. in Philadelphia in 1872, was a delegate, and helped organize the second National association.
The registration of delegates took nearly an hour. Gerner called the convention to order at 1:30 o'clock, and read his opening address, containing a few less than two thousand words. His opening paragraph gives a good idea of the young author's style:
Gentlemen: The ties that bind fellows in happiness and misery, that bind soldiers in a common cause, projectors in a common object, brothers in a common life -- those ties have bound many of us for years. Together we have struggled hard in the common glorious cause of Amateur Journalism, that plant which, now comparatively young and tender, will in comparison assume the proportions of the giants of the California forests.
He closed with these words:
Allow me to extend to you, in conclusion, in the name of the National Amateur Press Association, their most heartfelt thanks and unfeigned gratification for your liberal presence in response to their invitation to join them in their work and convene here today to make July 4, 1876, monumental in the history of American amateur journalism. The Amateur Journalists' Centennial Convention is hereby declared organized, open, and in order.
He then introduced Beck to deliver an address of welcome. In the course of it, the future distinguished Constitutional lawyer rather forgot his prerogative, and in his zeal launched into what was deemed an impassioned campaign speech in behalf of Gerner for President. His statement that "Mr. Gerner is one of the smartest amateur authors in the country" was greeted with mingled applause and shouts of disapproval. The instant that he concluded, Hosey moved to proceed to the choice of a permanent Chainman. The motion was carried and tellers were duly appointed. At this point Gerner made a slip. He announced that the candidate having the highest number of votes would be declared elected. Had this ruling prevailed Gerner would later have been elected, but Correl Kendall, of Boston, was instantly upon his feet and raised the point of order that a majority of all the votes cast was necessary for a choice. The Chair acknowledged his error, and the ballot proceeded, resulting as follows:
Total votes cast, 56; Necessary to a choice, 29; Richard Gerner, 22; John W. Snyder, 18; Edgar R. Headley, 7; Correl Kendall, 6; Clarence G. Allen, 3.
Opponents of Gerner went into a huddle and concentrated their forces upon Snyder, and the second ballot stood:
Total votes cast, 60; Necessary to a choice, 31; John W. Snyder, 33; Richard Gerner, 27.
John W. Snyder, known as "Winslow," later President of the Kansas City, Mo., bar, was at that time living in Richmond, Va., and was considered the foremost essay writer ever in amateur journalism. His work bore the impress of a matured and scholarly mind and made a deep impression upon his associates. At this convention he proved himself to be also a brilliant speaker, an able parliamentarian, and a real leader of men. As he took the chair he faced an audience nearly half of which bitterly resented his election, smarting under disappointed hopes. Recalling the scene many years afterwards Mr. Beck said:
He commenced in a calm, conciliatory way, and the fluency of his diction, the grace of his carriage, the melody of his voice, and the charm of his tact made his speech memorable in the minds of all who heard him. Before he had finished, all of us were his friends, and the spirit of faction had been silenced.
Upon motion of Kendall of Boston, William T. Hall, editor of the Western Amateur, Chicago, was unanimously elected Secretary. Gerner then moved that the N.A.P.A. of Philadelphia be dissolved, and that with other amateurs from all parts of the United States a National Amateur Press Association be formed. It was so voted without discussion. On Beck's motion it was voted that the officers should be a President, five Vice-Presidents, a Recording and a Corresponding Secretary and a Treasurer. J. Guilford White, editor of the Boys' Journal, from Alexandria, Va., moved that the Chairman and the Secretary of the convention be declared President and Recording Secretary of the Association, which was carried.
The other officers chosen were: Vice-Presidents, Richard Gerner, Hoboken, N. J.; William E. Leaning, Fly Creek, N. Y.; George W. Bertron, Philadelphia; Charles C. Heuman, New York City; William W. Winslow, Punxsutawney, Pa.; Corresponding Secretary, Evan R. Riale, Philadelphia; Treasurer, James Austin Fynes, Jr., Boston. The New England Star, lpswich, N. H., was chosen as the official organ.
A lively discussion arose over the choice of the next place of meeting. The ballot resulted in the election of Long Branch, N. J.; Washington, New York, Chicago and Niagara Falls receiving some votes. Gerner, Heuman and Franklin Barritt were appointed a committee to draft a constitution to be presented at the next meeting. After listening to a humorous poem by Frank E. Macaran of Philadelphia and a lengthy poem by Gerner entitled "On the Brink," the convention adjourned.
Thus the new association was formed, though "without chart or compass to sail its cruise." But a beginning had been made; as Snyder later said, "The acorn had been planted from which sprang the oak." That this was the result was largely the work of President Snyder. He met with tact all the problems confronting the new organization; he counseled wisely; he secured a perfect cooperation from his fellow officers and created a genuine faith among the rank and file in the N.A.P.A. as truly national and efficient in scope and attainment. He handed over to his successor at Long Branch an organization substantial and full of life.
THE LONG BRANCH CONVENTION, 1877
WITH THE CONTEST between Gerner and Snyder for the presidency at Philadelphia, the reign of politics in amateur journalism began and has never ceased. Early in 1877 Gerner, in the Prairie City Gem, announced his candidacy for the presidency. He conducted a strenuous campaign by correspondence and through the press, virtually asking for the presidency as the only person competent to carry out the details of his famous Congress Plan, which he assumed would be adopted at Long Branch. This carefully elaborated scheme aroused great interest and controversy and was so elaborate and intricate that it is worth while to consider it at some length as a remarkable example of the seriousness with which the boys regarded their work and the amount of ingenious thought devoted to it. Gerner first proposed the plan in 1872, when a youth of 15, in the June issue of his Scientific Amateur. Under the heading "A New Departure. A Revolution in Amateurdom," he began his announcement with these words:
Amateurs of this land! Your attention is respectfully called to unite with us in a scheme or plan that has for its object the welfare and prosperity of the Amateurs throughout the length and breadth of this blessed land of ours.
For seven years Gerner worked over his idea, elaborated it, and, as he thought, perfected it. His last description of the plan was given in the Prairie City Gem for April, 1877. "Amateurdom," he said, "is to be subjected to a government entirely analogous to that of the United States." He continued:
The 'Dom shall consist of a Press Association, and each State and territory is to have one of these. They shall be self-governing, as much as the States are, but be united. And over them all, like the Congress of the United States, shall stand the National A.P.A., in which each State Association has equal rights and privileges, and shall exercise equal jurisdiction and legislation; that is, according to its power and number, but independent of its membership representation in the National A.P.A. Any amateur may join the latter, but no faction can rule it. The officers of the N.A.P.A. shall be to Amateurdom what the President and Congress of the United States are to our country. The President shall be at the executive head of the 'Dom. There shall be one Recording and one Corresponding Secretary, one Treasurer, for the Association at large. Then there shall be an Official Organ and an Editor for the Official Department therein. Now, just as the U.S. has had its Interior, Exterior, War, etc., Departments over which the various Secretaries stand, so shall Amateurdom have its departments, over which the various Vice-Presidents stand, and each Vice-President shall have a Secretary under him. These departments shall be respectively headed Press Association, Amateurs at Large, Amateur journals, Editors, Authors, Printers and Engravers, Department of the Exterior (to connect us more closely with England), and the Department of Copyrights. Ever since 1870 I have cherished my Congress Scheme.
We have seen that it was at the convention of the Eastern A.P.A. in Philadelphia in 1872 that Gerner first publicly proposed his plan, when no action was taken upon it. It was discussed in many papers, and gained some advocates, while other editors deemed it impractical. It was brought up again at the Eastern Convention at Boston the following year, and after a debate of over four hours it was approved "in principle" by a small majority.
It will be remembered that at the organization meeting of the National A.P.A. a committee was appointed to draft a constitution to be presented for approval at the Long Branch convention. The committee consisted of Richard Gerner, Charles C. Heuman and Franklin Barritt. Gerner as chairman presented a draft to the other members which practically embodied his Congress Scheme as finally amplified. Heuman and Barritt believed it to be cumbersome, complicated and utterly unworkable, but were unable to persuade Gerner to abandon his intention of presenting it. Out of pure friendship, knowing how intensely Gerner's heart was set upon his plan, they decided not to present a minority report, but to await action upon Gerner's proposal.
Gerner had made enemies, some of them bitter, by his unfortunate seeming arrogance and presumption. Added to these were those who opposed his elaborate "Scheme" as a fatal burden upon the Association. But for a time no opposing candidate appeared to fire the zeal of Gerner's foes. Then J. Austin Fynes and Correl Kendall, of Boston, conceived the master political stroke of nominating one of Gerner's closest friends and most ardent supporters. Simultaneously in their respective journals, Idle Hours and the Miscellany, they nominated Charles C. Heuman. Heuman, editor of the New York Favorite, was personally popular and well known as an author under the nom de plume of "Romulus." His nomination centered the opposition to Gerner and more than three hundred papers rallied to his support. Gerner, sensing defeat, preferred that one of his friends should be honored rather than a bitter enemy and urged Heuman to accept the nomination. But when his election seemed a foregone conclusion the ties of friendship were too strong. Heuman knew how deeply Gerner desired success after years of planning, and not being willing to be the one to triumph over him, declined the nomination.
Heuman's refusal to run came like a thunderbolt to the anti-Gerner party. Fynes waxed warm in indignant protest, but Kendall saved the situation by immediately bringing forward in his Miscellany the name of one of Heuman's leading supporters, Alexander W. Dingwall of Milwaukee. Dingwall was personally unknown and had never attended a convention; none knew his age, his ability as an executive, or his views upon administrative affairs. He was known as the editor of an attractive paper, the Amateur Aspirant; and Heuman's supporters, now on fire with opposition to Gerner, swung to Dingwall almost in a body.
At that time the leading local club of amateurs was the New York A.P.A., organized in September, 1876. Its President, John Hosey, was one of the editors of the foremost amateur journal of the day, Our Free Lance, remarkable for size, regularity, and the general literary excellence of its contents. It was known as "the king of amateur journals." Hosey became a strong supporter of Dingwall and succeeded in having the New York association endorse his nomination. Whereupon Heuman and his followers withdrew and formed a new association known as the Empire City A.P.A., electing Gerner as President. So the campaign was waged with increasing warmth and intense excitement.
The Philadelphia convention had chosen Long Branch for the next place of meeting, appointing July as the month, giving the President power to name the day. President Snyder issued a proclamation fixing the date for July 16. The spacious parlors of the Ocean Hotel were engaged for the convention.
As the time for meeting drew near, a movement was set on foot to re-elect President Snyder, and this gained considerable momentum. When the convention forces assembled, Dingwall's chances were lessened by the fact that he was not present. Taking advantage of this situation, the Snyder supporters renewed their efforts, sensing a dead-lock and thinking that after the first ballot had made it apparent that neither Dingwall nor Gerner could be elected, Snyder would be chosen as a compromise candidate. A caucus, attended by some fifty delegates, was held on the morning of the convention, to which all those opposed to Gerner were invited.
President Snyder called the second convention of the N.A.P.A. to order at 1:15 o'clock, and made a brief address. Throughout the convention Snyder confirmed the impression he had made at the initial meeting, presiding with dignity, fairness and clear-headedness. Some difficulty arose in the beginning over the proper list of members, which President Snyder smoothed out to the satisfaction of all. The list as finally made up numbered 140. Eighty-five were present. Four young ladies were added to the roll, Misses Alice Harper, Libbie Adams ("Nettie Sparkle"), Delle E. Knapp and Lottie Ray.
After the reading of the minutes the Chair called for the report of the Committee on the Constitution. Mr. Gerner, as chairman, arose to present his report. It was a dramatic moment. Every one knew that the report embodied his cherished Congress Scheme. A discussion came up over its reading, some wishing it read clause by clause and some arguing that it should be read as a whole before any action be taken. President Snyder ruled in all fairness it should be considered as a whole, in order that the complete scope of the plan could be understood. Mr. Gerner then read the report, which took him 43 minutes. Its complexity may be faintly judged from this fact.
As Gerner finished with a flourish of oratory he was greeted with loud cheers by his friends, but Kendall at once moved that the report be laid upon the table. Max A. Lesser, editor of the Jersey Amateur Journal, Gerner’s fellow townsman, protested warmly, declaring that a plan upon which years of labor had been spent deserved more consideration. Kendall withdrew his motion and moved that a recess of an hour be taken. During this breathing spell the matter was earnestly discussed. The general feeling was adverse to the plan as too complicated, intricate and elaborate. But almost universal sorrow was felt that the result of so many hundred hours of thought and labor must go for naught. When the meeting reassembled, Kendall renewed his motion, and by a standing vote the famous plan was committed to the table. Kendall then moved that a committee be appointed to prepare a more workable constitution. Kendall, Heuman and W. Frank Babcock were appointed. Gerner took his defeat hard, the ambition of his young life crushed. When the new committee reported next day, their simple constitution was adopted with a few amendments. Gerner set his teeth hard and left the room while it was being done. "I could not forget," he said, "that my constitution had covered nearly 80 legal cap pages, and that this one only covered five small circular sheets."
When the election of officers was in order Heuman nominated his friend Gerner. He had a eulogistic speech carefully prepared, but at the last moment a sudden psychological stroke occurred to him, and he merely said: "Mr. President: I nominate Richard Gerner of New jersey." The inference was that nothing more needed to be said; his virtues were known to every one. Cheers greeted Gerner’s name. Mulford Tausig of Harrisburg nominated Snyder; and Isaac Davis, editor of Our Own Journal of New York, put Dingwall in the ring. Gerner’s friend Lesser was not so wise as Heuman, but wore out the patience of the delegates in a lengthy speech seconding the nomination of Gerner, a speech to which the candidate himself finally put an end.
The first ballot resultcd as follows:
Number of votes cast, 78; Necessary to a choice, 40; A. W. Dingwall, 38; Richard Gerner, 24; J. Winslow Snyder, 16.
Dingwall's victory on the second ballot was plainly forecast, and his supporters were jubilant. But his victory was a narrow one, the ballot standing:
Number of votes cast, 75; Necessary to a choice, 38; A. W. Dingwall, 38; Richard Gerner, 26; J. Winslow Snyder, 11.
Mr. Snyder was chosen Vice-President; William T. Hall, of the Chicago Western Amateur, Treasurer; J. Austin Fynes, Recording Secretary; Charles C. Heuman, Official Editor.
An amusing incident occurred during the nominating of minor officers. James M. Beck nominated his friend Riale for Treasurer in a ringing voice that carried far beyond the parlors. As he warmed to his task his eloquent words brought many of the guests of the hotel to the windows to listen. The youthful orator could scarcely be seen in the crowd, and several guests cried: "Put that boy on a chair or the table so we can see him." James L. Feeney, tall, muscular, robust editor of Our City Boys of New York, stood immediately back of Beck. He put his hands upon the hips of the diminutive orator and lifted him on to a chair, where Beck finished his speech amid a storm of applause from delegates and onlookers. But his candidate was defeated.
For next place of meeting Chicago won over Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Gerner offered a resolution condemning the flashy, sensational professional boys' papers published in New York at the time. His motion, amended to call for the expulsion of any member contributing to these papers, was carried amid great applause. On motion of Beck copies of the resolution were ordered sent to the papers condemned. President Snyder closed the convention with a short speech.
THE CHICAGO CONVENTION, 1878
AMATEUR JOURNALISM was now, in many respects, passing through one of its brightest periods. Its papers were numerous and well edited. Charles K. Farley, known as "Yelraf," was publishing his serial story "Two Fair Bedouins," famous in the annals of amateur journalism. George M. Huss wrote one of the really great poems of its literature, entitled "Music." J. Austin Fynes, a graceful and artistic author, wrote many poems, essays and light airy sketches. J. Winslow Snyder published some of his profound and scholarly essays. John G. Canfield, known as "Caxton Stanley," was the author of a number of popular poems. The girls at this time gained a prominent place in the literary field. Miss Delle E. Knapp, who published the Aspirant in Buffalo, N. Y., became widely known as a poetess; and Miss L. Libbie Adams ("Nettie Sparkle"), publisher of the Youthful Enterprise in Elmira, N. Y., was the author of many verses. Miss Minta R. Stevens ("Rubina") did her best work a little later, but was beginning to be heard from as a poetess. A spirited political campaign furnished material for hundreds of editorials.
Edward A. Oldham, of North Carolina, in his Bethel Cadet, nominated Gerner once more for the presidency, but Gerner, who was still suffering over his two defeats, and especially over the rejection of his cherished Congress Scheme, replied to Oldham's nomination in what came to be known as "Gerner's Famous Bethel Cadet Letter." This was published in the February 20 issue of Oldham's paper. By reason of its unusual character and marked historic interest, it is herewith reproduced in full:
Hoboken, Hudson County, N. J.
January 26th, 1878
Edward A. Oldham, Esq.
My dear Sir:
Your communication to hand. I am very sorry to inform you that for reasons too numerous to mention it will be impossible for me to accept the nomination for the '78 N.A.P.A. presidency, already tendered me by half the 'dom.
I can plainly perceive that the last campaign was considered in the light of a harmless game of politics by all participants with the exception of Mr. C. C. Heuman, W. T. Hall, Henry Kahrs, and myself. My whole future career was at stake. I lost it. I am now as far removed from the paths of literature as I can well be.
My old campaign enemies today greet me on the most friendly terms. I resent these avowals of friendship at the hands of those who completed my ruin, and desire to have nothing to say or do with those who struck Amateurdom that blow, for it must be acknowledged that a split has occurred which has removed from the ranks many of its proudest ornaments and journals, which was to be foreseen, but, like blind fools, the rabble brought the structure down over their own heads.
I have every respect for my late antagonist, Mr. A. W. Dingwall, but does the writing of two letters to a couple of eastern papers constitute the duty of the president of the N.A.P.A.? I think not. Do you? Now, if I had been elected, there would have been quite another state of affairs: I would have roused the 'dom into the delirium of energy. It had the elements in it then. But it hasn't now. I wouldn't undertake to raise the ruins if I were paid a life competency for it.
In the seven years that I have been a fervent member of the 'dom, I have seen its period of glory and triumph, its height of grandeur and success, its gradual decay, its final prostitution, and the first step to dissolution. I have spent my boyhood in it, and linked my young fortunes to it. And to what purpose? To become the victim of being spit in the face at Long Branch, and to experience the bitter insult of being defeated by one who did not even enter into consideration in my campaign plans.
I feared Snyder; Kendall before him. I suspected hidden candidates who were to be suddenly thrust forward on the eventful 16th, like Fynes. What inducements are there for me to reenter the 'dom? Winslow's star has gone down; his once fair name is humbled in the dust. He has become the paltriest pettifogger, writing trash to order at so much a line. Yelraf's brilliant pen has ceased to flow. Loreli's poem lies buried in the history of the past, Romulus' graceful writings are seen no more. Even Nettie Sparkle's present current serials are writings of old.
No, no, the field is barren and cheerless. My love for amateur journalism is extinct, completely, radically, wholly. My enemies will raise a hue and cry over this, I doubt not. They well may. They have won the victory. But another such victory and they will be undone. I will give Amateurdom one year more to live and die in, unless there arises an amateur Napoleon in the interval, a powerful mind to seize upon the reins of government, kick the rabble into a corner and devote half of his life to the 'dom's interest.
Where is he?
You must find him. And when you have found him, make him your God. Let him feel that he has within him the elements of success, and he will pull you through. Overlook his faults; magnify his virtues.
Let me put a flea in your ear: WILLIAM FURBER MILLER.
A young Ohio editor, Arthur J. Huss of Tiffin, whose paper the Stylus was one of the first and best of the all-editorial papers, with Delavan W. Gee of the Washington Southern Star, organized a sort of mutual benefit campaign. They simultaneously nominated Correl Kendall of Boston for President, and Gee nominated Huss for Vice-President, while Huss named Gee for Secretary. They then both set to work to further the success of the "Kendall Ticket." Huss was an energetic, aggressive worker, and mailed over three hundred postal cards to as many editors, and a vigorous campaign was conducted in their respective journals. The result was a large support in the papers for Kendall.
In the meantime Joseph P. Clossey of New York was nominated for President. Clossey, with Hosey, published the foremost amateur journal of the day, 0ur Free Lance, a large 16-page paper, its editorial and literary contents being of a very high order. Sanford B. Mills, known in amateur journalism as Stanton S. Mills, was named for Vice-President. In March a so-called Popular Party was organized with Heuman as chairman, having for its candidate William T. Hall of Chicago. Hall had a wide acquaintance among amateurs both in the East and West, had been Secretary and Treasurer of the N.A.P.A., had attended the Philadelphia and Long Branch conventions, and was at this time publishing the Western Amateur, one of the finest appearing papers of the time, with a beautifully engraved heading. He was then 20 years old and a man of much personal charm. His home city, however, became divided, and a rival candidate was brought forward in the person of George W. Hancock, who was best noted for the atrocious puns with which he filled his paper, the Club. The campaign in the press was heated.
An interesting episode which occurred the day before the convention was called to order shows how the characteristic appetite of boys could be made to play a part in political strategy. George Huss was at this time boarding in Chicago, and his mother, entertaining some doubts as to the excellence of the cuisine of a Chicago boarding house, sent him by his brother Arthur two great luscious cakes and a quantity of fried chicken, jellies, and other home-made delicacies. George Huss saw how he could make use of this in a practical way in aid of his younger brother's ambitions. Most of the delegates to the convention had already arrived. George invited a half dozen of the leading spirits to his rooms to enjoy a feast. Among them were Snyder, Gee, Hall, Hancock and Arthur Huss. After the choice viands had been devoured, the political situation was raked over, and a combination of all forces against Clossey was arranged. Hancock, who never took his candidacy seriously, was to remain in the running to hold a portion of the local vote from going to the opposition. Gee was slated for Secretary and Arthur Huss for Vice-President. Every possible element in the solidification of the Hall bloc that could be thought of was carefully considered when the boys separated shortly before midnight.
President Dingwall was absent, as he had been when elected the year before, so Vice-President Snyder called the convention to order at 10:30 o'clock on the morning of July 17. Snyder thus had the honor of presiding over the first three conventions of the Association. As the time for the election of officers drew near, excitement rose high. Kendall's paper support failed to materialize in votes, and Clossey was at the disadvantage of coming from the East, whereas almost all of the delegates hailed from the West. He was personally likeable and had some strong supporters, but the combination against him was too strong.
Hall, Hancock, Clossey and Kendall were placed in nomination, and the first ballot, showing 73 votes cast, with 37 necessary to a choice, was divided as follows:
William T. Hall, 35; Joseph P. Clossey, 19; George W. Hancock,12; Correl Kendall, 7.
There were two fewer votes upon the second ballot, making 36 necessary for a choice. Hall was the victor.
William T. Hall, 39; Joseph P. Clossey, 22; George W. Hancock, 10.
The strategy engineered by George Huss the previous evening brought fruit in the election of Arthur Huss as Vice-President and Gee as Secretary. Snyder was unanimously elected Official Editor, but declined, and Clement C. Chase, editor of the Excelsior, Omaha, Neb., was then elected. Washington was chosen as the next place of meeting over Cincinnati and New York. In the evening the first of the annual banquets of the Association was held in the Palmer House, Mr. Snyder acting as toastmaster. It was in his address at the Chicago meeting that Mr. Snyder used the words which have been quoted again and again: "Amateur journalism: It can never die, for a flame that perpetually renews itself can never go out."
A committee had been appointed to draw up a permanent constitution. Its report, read by Charles H. Young, was presented, and its suggested constitution was adopted with some amendments. It provided several new features, but some of them, apparently modeled too closely upon Gerner's scheme, proved too complicated and unworkable. This was particularly so regarding a system of electing a President by balloting by States.
The new constitution provided for the publishing by the Association of an official organ to be known as the National Amateur. Heretofore one of the existing journals had been chosen to serve in this capacity. The New England Star had been named at Philadelphia, and its editor, William M. Pemberton, considered himself the Official Editor, but resigned the office and appointed Mr. Heuman in his place, which appointment was confirmed by President Snyder. At Long Branch Mr. Heuman was elected Official Editor by the convention, the Boys' Herald being designated the official organ.
In the new constitution a system of laureate awards was provided, and these awards in future years, being highly sought after and deemed second only in importance to the leading political spoils, had a marked influence in encouraging the literary side of the institution. Each year the title of laureate winner is awarded respectively to the author of the best poem, serial, essay and sketch, the judges being persons of recognized note in the professional field. Among those serving as judges in these contests have been Edward Markham, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Joseph Jefferson, Burton E. Stevenson, Charlotte Porter, Eugene Field, Richard Watson Gilder, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Hamilton Wright Mabie, Owen Wister, Zona Gale, Julian Hawthorne, George Parson Latrop, Elbert Hubbard, John Kendrick Bangs, Gelett Burgess, Edmund Vance Cooke, Opie Read, Nixon Waterman, Hezikiah Butterworth, Charles Edward Stowe, Frank H. Converse, Edward W. Bok, Charles King, Horatio Alger, Jr., and Stephen Fiske.
THE WASHINGTON CONVENTION, 1879
THE NEW CONSTITUTION adopted at the Chicago convention of 1878 was designed to make it possible for all amateurs to have a vote in the election of officers, whether present or not at the National meeting. In the confusion that followed discussion at Chicago in the adoption of some amendments, important provisions were overlooked. It was, however, the plan to have meetings in each State or Territory before the first of June, when the results of these State ballotings were to be certified to by the Secretary of the State meeting, sealed and forwarded to the national body. Nearly every State therefore organized a press association so as to comply.
It seemed that the new constitution provided for balloting in "each State and Territory," saying nothing about the District of Columbia. Subsequently the convention selected Washington as the place for holding the next National meeting. Strict constructionists visioned an impossible barrier and laid plans to "cut the Gordian knot." No provision was made to comply with the new constitution requiring a regional meeting "before the first of June" to cast ballots for President and other officers of the national body. To add to the tangle, a Washington boy, John Edson Briggs, was a prominent candidate for President, his popularity extending beyond the borders of the District of Columbia into many States. His supporters had no idea of allowing a strict interpretation of the new constitution to thwart his chance for election.
The pre-convention campaign was therefore very bitter, and all the candidates suffered from a flood of accusations and denunciatory epithets. Charles H. Young of New York, editor of Our Own journal, one of the leading papers of the year, was early suggested for President, but refused to run, and the race finally settled down to a contest between Arthur J. Huss, editor of the Stylus, J. Edson Briggs of the Washington Imp, and James A. Fynes of Boston. Briggs had made a wide reputation with the Imp, which was popular because of its spicy and pungent paragraphs. Fynes was one of the most versatile and able of amateur editors. His paper, Idle Hours, of good size, beautifully printed, contained contributed matter of high grade, and an editorial page that had few equals for literary grace and penetrating thought. As an author he seemed equally at home in penning a poem, a fascinating short story, or an eloquent essay. Personally he was a leader, energetic, untiring, skilled in debate, versed in parliamentary law, and had a positive genius for organization and political intrigue.
Edward A. Oldham, one of the leading amateurs of the South, was Fynes' running mate for Vice-President. Through his influence the southern contingent, to a man, had voted solidly for Fynes at the May State meetings. In New England Leonard E. Tilden, editor of the Granite State Courier, wielded a potent influence for the Boston candidate in the State conventions.
On the opening day of the Washington convention it looked like a safe bet for Fynes and Oldham, with Briggs contesting the ground very closely, and Huss running third. Will L. Wright and Edward A. Oldham were the leading vice- presidential candidates, the former on the Briggs ticket and the latter with Fynes. Wright's strength came principally from the Huss Middle West supporters; Oldham's strength came from a "Solid South," New England and the Far West. Some amateurs who supported Huss favored Oldham rather than Wright, Huss being from Ohio, with Wright hailing from the adjoining state of Illinois. Here and there were Oldham supporters from among those who were strong for Huss and Briggs. But -- the yet unopened ballots would decide the result, when it became realized that the District of Columbia had not legally complied with the new constitution.
This realization created consternation in the Briggs camp. A meeting was quickly held at the latter's residence on Capitol Hill, at which Mrs. Olivia Briggs, a famous Washington correspondent and a consummate adept in political strategy, was an "observer" on the side lines. She was naturally interested in seeing her son made President of the National Association. The technical illegality as to the District of Columbia's not being included by actual mention in the new constitution was brought to her attention and her advice sought. When that little group of Briggs strategists separated that evening, the plan decided on was to ignore the dubious illegality, throw the election to the floor, meanwhile gathering every available boy printer in Washington with amateur leanings, and arranging for the entire pack to attend the opening session of the convention as new members.
That night at the National Hotel it became current among the delegates that the Briggs party had something up its sleeve bearing upon the fault in the new constitution and the disregarding of its provision. Fynes was quick to see the outcome of the strategy. He did not lose heart. He literally took off his coat and went to work. He gained recruits by all the arts of an experienced politician, and in another day the outlook was less discouraging. He had been disappointed in not having been able to bring with him a large delegation of his friends from Boston. He had stopped off at Philadelphia on his way to Washington in a vain effort to induce some of the amateurs there to attend. When he arrived in Washington the day before the convention, he found only three of his active supporters already on the ground. These were Oswald L. Williams of Virginia and James M. Howard and Edward A. Oldham of North Carolina, his running mate for Vice-President. The last named was one of the leading amateurs of the South who had been in attendance upon the Southern A.P.A. His prospects for election were considered most promising, but during the evening he received a telegram from Wilmington, calling him immediately to the bedside of his mother, who was not expected to recover from a serious operation.
A conference was quickly held in Fynes' room. Oldham, Tilden, Howard and Williams were present. Oldham saw the necessity of his withdrawal from the race. The meeting was a unit in endorsing his action in the matter and approved his plan to make a deal with Will Wright, by which Oldham was to throw his strength to Wright for Vice-President, with the understanding that Wright was to swing his support for President to Fynes. Wright agreed to this in so far as he was able to induce his supporters to fall in line with the idea. The plan, however, failed to work with the full success hoped for, but it did elect Wright. The unforeseen result was to leave many of the Oldham supporters feeling free to shift their support elsewhere. Huss' supporters, mainly from the Middle West, were absent, and the combined forces of Huss and Fynes actually in attendance could muster only a corporal's guard.
In the absence of the President elected at Chicago, Briggs was invited to serve as Chairman and had innocently yielded to this wish on the part of his supporters, a result which in itself disclosed his strength and foretold his election. There were many stories of the balloting in the State May elections, all varying in detail. The trend of opinion seemed to put Briggs in the lead; however, there were some who were not sure but that the counting of the "sealed ballots" would have revealed the election of Fynes. The latter must have had doubts on this score, for it was Fynes who magnanimously moved to disregard the sealed votes and have the convention elect officers.
When Fynes' motion was made, Briggs promptly ruled it out of order. Fynes as promptly appealed from the Chair's decision. A spirited discussion arose, led by Fynes, but only 12 votes are said to have been cast in favor of the appeal, whereas 15 were reported cast to sustain the Chair. A ballot-examining committee was appointed, consisting of George W. Baildon, Delavan W. Gee, Washington Topham, Mulford B. Tausig and Will W. Winslow, all Briggs supporters. A recess of an hour was voted to allow the committee time to "count the State votes." At the end of the hour the committee reported that more time was needed. One of Fynes' supporters renewed the motion to throw out the State ballots, and it was carried. Baildon later unofficially declared that the committee had nearly finished its count, and "had found only 15 legal State ballots, which were divided as follows: Briggs 11, Huss 3. Fynes l." The correctness of this statement was later vigorously questioned.
Nominating speeches were made, and the election followed, resulting in 17 votes being cast for Briggs, 12 for Fynes, 3 for Huss, and 1 “scattering." Confusion reigned at the announcement of the vote, and a motion to adjourn to an evening session was quickly carried.
At 8:30 the situation was still very tense. Easy-going, soft-speaking Briggs was utterly unable to maintain even a semblance of order. Members charging fraud, bribery and illegality, battled with one another to be heard. At one time three-quarters of the members were on the floor demanding recognition. The excitement waxed warmer than the weather, although the thermometer stood at 101. Finally, after electing some of the other officers, the convention adjourned until the next day. A trip to Mt. Vernon by steamer allowed some of the delegates to cool off, but when the sessions were resumed at 5 o'clock, the battle was resumed with even greater vigor. Every known authority on constitutional and parliamentary law was cited, extensively and uselessly. The Chair was helpless. Abusive epithets were hurled back and forth, and a resort to physical blows was imminent, when some cooler head, sensing danger, secured a recess until next morning. And next morning immediately after the roll call a motion to adjourn was made and carried.
The first laureate awards were made this year, George M. Huss being made poet laureate for his poem "Music;" Charles J. Ficke, sketch laureate for his story "A Noble Revenge;" and J. Austin Fynes for his essay "Orator and journalist." In the opinion of many the authorship of such a brilliant essay as that of Fynes was a greater honor than any political office.
THE CINCINNATI CONVENTION, 1880
AFTER THE TURMOIL at Washington the gathering at Cincinnati was calm and peaceful and productive of lasting results. Will L. Wright of Cairo, Ill., was early nominated for the presidency. For three years he had published one of the most noted of the amateur journals of the time. It was called the Egyptian Star, printed upon rose-tinted paper, and was filled with interesting matter. Opposed to him was Thomas G. Harrison, editor of the Welcome Visitor of Indianapolis , Ind., one of the most enthusiastic of all amateur editors, fertile in suggestions that created wide discussion, and publishing more editorial matter than any other amateur who ever lived. William F. Buckley of New York, a gifted author of story and essay, was put forth as the candidate of the so-called Radical Party, its platform calling for a new constitution and the doing away with sectionalism. Its members were mostly confined to the East, and it exerted but little influence.
On the night before the opening of the convention occurred one of those episodes which proved that, however seriously the amateurs took their work, they were boys at heart. Most of the delegates were registered at the Emory Hotel, and in the corridors in the dead of night a pillow fight was staged which raged for half an hour until the corridor of the third floor resembled a heavy fall of snow, so thick was the floor strewn with feathers. The management of the hotel called in the police and, as so often happens, the innocent suffered. At the first alarm the participants vanished into their rooms, leaving the visible evidence thickest by the room of Charles W. Biehn, editor of the Composing Stick of Ripley, Ohio, who had slept the sleep of the just through all the racket, but who was now aroused, and two stalwart policemen marched him off, letting him go only after he had paid some $15 to settle all damages.
Wright, who had been elected Vice-President at Washington, called the convention to order in the absence of President Briggs in Colorado. The few records of State ballots lacked official signatures and were discarded. Only Wright and Harrison were nominated; Wright received 20 votes and Harrison 11. The applause had scarcely ceased when Wright resigned the office to which he had just been elected. Astonishment reigned, but when Wright moved that Harrison be elected his successor by acclamation, the motion was unanimously carried. Wright afterwards explained that his personal affairs compelled his immediate retirement from the ranks.
Joseph P. Clossey was chosen Official Editor, and Thomas H. Parsons, editor of the Blade, of Buffalo, N. Y., Vice-President. For six months after the convention adjourned nothing was heard from President Harrison. Then the office was declared vacant, and Parsons assumed the presidency. The attendance at Cincinnati was small, but its delegates were serious and willing to work. A revision of the constitution was painstakingly made. The system of State balloting was abandoned, and a simple plan of direct proxy voting was substituted. The only laureateship awarded was that for poems, this going to Joseph Dana Miller, of New Jersey, for his poem "A Pastoral." The convention was saddened by the sudden illness of one of its loved delegates. Oswald L. Williams, of Richmond, Va., who, just after his election as Treasurer, became so sick on the second evening that he was removed to his room in the hotel, and from there to the city hospital, where three days later he died of brain fever.
THE BUFFALO CONVENTION, 1881
THE INACTIVITY Of President Harrison, the uncertainty over his successor’s standing, and other causes resulted in amateur joumalists sinking to a low ebb. The roll call at Buffalo showed only 15 members present, but the election of a vigorous, efficient and hard-working official board turned the tide. This convention was notable as the occasion of the first of several attempts to set up a rival association. Frank N. Reeve, of Jersey City, publisher of the Independent Times, a paper with few equals, was the only candidate up to a few weeks before the convention met, when a few amateurs in New York City and vicinity nominated Maximum A. Lesser, of Hoboken, N. J., one of Gerner's old friends, and the author of numerous but not very meritorious poems. On the eve of the convention Lesser, confronted by a crushing defeat, with four other associates, refused to enter the convention hall and instead organized the International Amateur Authors Lyceum with Lesser as President. This organization was short lived.
The proxy votes received were found to be all for Reeve, but were thrown out on account of a technicality, and the convention elected Reeve President by a unanimous vote. Reeve, who held the vote of the convention in the hollow of his hand, insisted that the official board elected should be representative of the entire country. As a consequence, of the eight officers chosen no two came from the same State. Officials were elected from New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Finlay Grant of Nova Scotia was made Official Editor, and Detroit was chosen for the next place of meeting.
Resolutions were passed condemning the action of Lesser and his followers, and expressing sympathy with the family of the wounded President Garfield, with hopes for his speedy recovery.
It is an indication of the literary standing of President Reeve's paper, the Independent Times, that all three of the laureate winning articles were published therein. James L. Elderdice was made poet laureate for his entry "The Progressiveness of Development;" William F. Buckley, sketch laureate, for his "Dorcas;" and Charles S. Elgutter essay laureate, for his "Thomas Carlyle."
THE DETROIT CONVENTION, 1882
UNDER THE STRONG ADMINISTRATION of Frank Newton Reeve the Association, received an impetus which was felt for years. Reeve, with his iron will and nerves of steel, his unflagging industry, his unflinching devotion to his task, brought order out of chaos, stamped out insurrection and resistance, and kindled the fires of glowing enthusiasm. In all this work he was ably seconded by Finlay Grant, the Official Editor. Grant was without a rival as an active missionary in support of a cause. His energy, enterprise and persuasiveness won many new recruits and stirred into activity many who had lost interest. He moved from Nova Scotia to Gardner, Mass., and soon organized a local press club of 30 members, several of whom became bright lights in the amateur literary field. He engineered and largely furnished the information for an illustrated article in the foremost magazine for young people, St. Nicholas, published by the Century Company. This article, written by Harland H. Ballard, was a splendid advertisement for amateur journalism, and brought more members into the ranks than any other one agency. New papers sprang up, old ones were revived, and the quality of poetry and prose rose to a high level.
In the January issue of his paper, Golden Moments, published at Beverly, Mass., Willard 0. Wylie started a campaign for Finlay Grant for the presidency. The nomination was enthusiastically received, and Grant almost at once became the candidate of a large body of voters. He was especially popular among the younger amateurs, many of whom he had brought into the ranks. His untiring energy, his personal contacts, his interest-arousing paper, the Boys’ Folio, some of which had pages the size of a New York daily, all combined to create a growing strength in his campaign.
Some of the older members, however, were not satisfied and organized an opposition movement, led by former President Harrison and seconded by Will T. Scofield, of Philadelphia, N. Y., an able editor, whose paper, Our Sanctum, was noted for its brilliant literary criticism. They brought forward the name of Joseph Dana Miller, at that time associate editor of Reeve's Independent Times. Miller, the poet laureate in 1880, was fast developing into one of the leading waters of poems, essays and sketches. He gained a considerable following, although Grant was much more popular and had a much larger support among the papers. Against him was the political strategy of seasoned veterans of many a campaign.
Miller, however, failed to attend the convention. Confronted with the magnetic personality of Grant, the Millerites, as they were called, felt it useless to propose his name to the convention. A caucus was held to agree upon a plan of action. Practically all members present believed Grant deserved the presidency and would receive it, but to provide interest and excitement, it was decided to keep up the opposition. It was unanimously voted to drop the candidacy of Miller, and after some discussion it was arranged to have Harrison nominate Ralph Metcalf, of Providence, R. I., an influential New England amateur. This, it was thought, might draw off some votes from Grant. Scofield was then nominated to succeed Miller as a candidate, but he refused; finally, however, he agreed to run, but with the distinct understanding that in the event of his election he would immediately resign in favor of Grant. This understanding was kept secret; in fact, the nominee of the caucus was not disclosed until the moment his name was presented to the convention. Up to that minute all sorts of rumors were rife.
Forty delegates were in attendance, representing all sections of the country from Oregon to Nova Scotia and including many of the foremost editors and authors. Owing to the absence of the Recording Secretary, who had the original proxy votes, the proxy ballots were discarded, and the election was thrown into the hands of those present. Former President Parsons nominated Grant; Harrison named Metcalf; and Will C. Brown presented Scofield's name. Thirty-five votes were cast, of which Grant had 17, Scofield 13, and Metcalf 5. Grant lacked one of a majority. Metcalf withdrew in favor of Scofield, with the result that Grant received 21 votes and Scofield 14. Grant's election was made unanimous upon Scofield's motion.
The most important business transacted was the passage of a long resolution, saying that the amateur authors and editors of the United States, believing "the deleterious and ruinous effects of the trashy and vile literature flooding our country" to be "one of the greatest dangers of the day to the rising generation," call upon "the religious and secular press, as the great educator of the masses," upon "ministers of all denominations," and "parents, as the guardians of youth" to come to their aid, to "warn the young of the dangers and evil tendencies of indiscriminate reading" and to "encourage a desire for that which is healthful" by patronizing such periodicals as Wide Awake, St. Nicholas and the Youths’ Companion."
This resolution, formulated by B. Benjamin Pelham, a colored delegate from Detroit, editor of the Venture, was adopted and ordered sent to the professional press of the United States. Many newspapers printed the resolution in full and made favorable editorial comments, and it served as a very valuable advertisement for amateur journalism.
At the banquet which closed the convention retiring President Reeve, in recognition of his effective management of association affairs, was presented with handsomely bound sets of the novels of Dickens and Thackeray, the gift of the assembled delegates.
THE NEW YORK CONVENTION, 1883
PRESIDENT GRANT, near the close of his administration, bent all his energies toward ensuring a largely attended and successful convention at New York. To this end he encouraged a spirited campaign for the presidency. Several men were mentioned for the place, but in the end the struggle became a contest between Willard 0. Wylie and Henry E. Legler. Wylie's paper, Golden Moments, was among the leading journals of the time; he was President of the flourishing New England Amateur Press Association and gained a large paper support. Legler of Milwaukee, editor of La Caprice, President of the revived Western A.P.A., was very popular in the West, a brilliant editorial writer, an able parliamentarian, and a forceful orator. He later became city editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel; still later, as librarian of the city of Chicago, he was known as one of the foremost members of his profession.
No campaign in the annals of amateur journalism was ever so systematically conducted as that of Wylie's, under the management of Charles K. Watkyns, editor of La Critique of Brooklyn. The entire country was divided into sections, and these subdivided, each division with a chairman who made regular reports to Watkyns on the progress of the canvass in his district. Legler's campaign, much more loosely conducted, was comparatively ineffectual. As the delegates assembled at the St. Nicholas Hotel in New York, the scene of many early amateur gatherings, the excitement was intense. Legler's campaign strategy was largely in the hands of a trio of veteran politicians, known as "The Triumvirate," former Presidents Harrison and Reeve and Charles S. Elgutter of Omaha. Wylie had no forceful leader upon the floor.
The Wylie followers held a caucus at midnight preceeding the opening of the convention, a complete ticket was selected, and the famous "iron-clad pledge" was signed by 29 members, who agreed "to vote, if present, for W. 0. Wylie for President, on each and every ballot that may be cast." The Legler caucus, held on the morning of the convention, nominated a full slate of candidates. Reeve conceived the scheme of making use of a plan of Charles Calvert's for the monthly publication of the National Amateur to place Wylie in an unfavorable light before the convention. It was arranged that the convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole to discuss the matter, elect Wylie as chairman, and then by a rapid succession of questions of privilege, motions, amendments, points of order, and appeals from decisions, so to confuse and demoralize the chairman as to discredit him in the eyes of the delegates. The trap was sprung next day, but Wylie was too sharp to be caught. He perceived the danger and refused to serve as chairman. Ralph Metcalf was chosen, but the parliamentary tangle was too much for him, and he retired. The committee soon rose and reported progess.
The result of the proxy voting was announced as 16 for Legler, 13 for Wylie, four scattering. Legler lacked one vote of a majority. The convention proceeded to ballot amid almost breathless silence; the result was 31 votes for Wylie, 25 for Legler, and one for James B. H. Storms. Mr. Legler at once moved that the election of Wylie be made unanimous, and it was so voted.
THE MILWAUKEE CONVENTION, 1884
HARDLY HAD THE ECHOES Of the New York convention died away when rumors of fraud and illegality began to be circulated. These finally crystalized into a series of affidavits to the effect that the Treasurer, John Fischer of Buffalo, had destroyed nine proxy ballots which should have been cast for Legler, who would then have been elected President. Fischer admitted his guilt. In view of this evidence, and by reason of other adverse circumstances, Wylie tendered his resignation as President.
Immediately a question relating to the interpretation of the constitution arose. Former President Harrison, who had been elected Official Editor at New York, took the position that the President could not resign except in one contingency, which had not arisen, and in any case the constitution made no provision for accepting a President's resignation; therefore, as Wylie had been declared President he must remain President until the association met and took action. Harrison's standing as an amateur of long experience carried weight, but Wylie refused to recall his resignation and no longer performed the duties of the presidency.
Another complication arose over the status of the vice-presidency. Frank S. Arnett, of Columbus, Ohio, editor of the Phoenix, had been elected to that office at New York, but it was afterwards discovered that his dues were in arrears, and he was not legally a member of the association when elected. Arnett had suspended his paper, and nothing was heard from him. Disputes had arisen over the right of subordinate officers to assume the duties of non-acting superiors. Affidavits and counter affidavits were filling the press. Confusion had made its masterpiece, as far as amateur journalism was concerned.
But the resiliency and enthusiasm of youth triumphed, and order was once more restored. Hiram T. Mercur, of Towanda, Pa., editor of the Mercury, the Second Vice-President, finally assumed the reins of government, called the Association to meet in annual convention in Milwaukee, issued the invitations, sent out the proxy blanks, and made all other necessary arrangements. Milwaukee at this time had a very strong amateur press club, and its members at once set to work with great energy to prepare for a successful convention.
In the meantime a spirited campaign was in progress. Legler had been urged by many editors to be again a candidate, but in January he positively refused. Most of his supporters thereupon united in support of Ralph Metcalf, formerly of Providence, R. I., but now an associate editor of the Brilliant of St. Paul, Minn. Metcalf was not acceptable to some of the leading editors, and they placed in nomination Frank H. Chamberlain, of Columbus, Ohio, editor of Wise and Otherwise. The contest between these two waxed very warm, the advantage apparently not resting with either party. Some of the younger amateurs started a movement in favor of Albert E. Barker, of Judsonia, Ark., Third Vice-President at the time. Their platform was fresh enthusiasm against aged indifference.
Near the close of June, almost upon the eve of the convention, Metcalf and Chamberlain both withdrew from the race, giving as reason pressure of professional duties. This left Barker as the sole candidate, but the older editors and politicians refused to come to his support, although the time before the convention was too short to allow of any effective campaign work against him.
The sessions of the convention were held in the large and pleasant assembly room of the Y.M.C.A. The hotel selected for the delegates was the Kirby House, whose motto printed on all its stationery, "Wake me up when Kirby dies," became the byword of the convention. The rooms were named instead of numbered, one delegate being sent to Ireland, another to Germany, while another was in Misery and still another in Felicity.
The attendance was not large but fairly representative, although the powerful local club contributed the lion's share of the delegates. The most prominent figure was Legler. Deprived of his just due the previous year in New York, he was the hero of the hour. He was dignified and courteous; his speeches carried great weight by reason of his great earnestness and force of character. But the greatest leader present was the veteran amateur editor and politician, Harrison. Genial and affable, a good fellow socially, he united the experience of years to irrepressible enthusiasm. He had a ready flow of words, but in addressing the assembly his delivery was not smooth, and he was inclined to ramble and become prosy.
A new phase was introduced into the situation upon the arrival of Edward E. Stowell, formerly of Milwaukee, now of Coon Rapids, Iowa, editor of the Junior Press. Ambitious for office, he had waylaid many of the delegates at Chicago and started a movement for his election to the presidency. In Milwaukee, his old home, among the members of the local club his candidacy gained headway. Mr. Barker, small of stature, boyish appearing more than his years justified, far from home, opposed by the skilled politicians and leaders, foresaw defeat, released his supporters and withdrew from the contest.
The field was thus left entirely free for Stowell, but Legler, Harrison and others felt that he was not adapted to the place, and cast about for a candidate to oppose him. Harrison suggested an "advisory caucus," to which all delegates should be invited and at which an informal ballot should be taken to develop candidates. In this caucus, after considerable discussion, Harrison proposed the name of Truman J. Spencer, then Corresponding Secretary, editor of the American Sphinx, of South Manchester, Conn. A ballot showed a slight majority for Stowell.
Immediately afterward separate caucuses were held by the two factions. At the Spencer caucus it was merely arranged that Harrison should make the nomination and Legler should second it. At the Stowell caucus a complete ticket was put in the field.
To the great surprise of all, Vice-President Arnett arrived, although during the year, to quote his report, he had "transacted no business and performed no duties." Immediately after he had called the convention to order Harrison moved that the convention go into a committee of the whole to consider the New York election. This motion was voted, and Will C. Brown was chosen chairman. Harrison played the role of prosecuting attorney, presenting affidavits, and in a speech of over half an hour maintained that Legler was the legally elected President and should be so recognized. Spencer, the only member of the old Wylie party present, announced his belief that a fraud had been perpetrated, although Wylie was in no way connected with it and had accepted the office of President in good faith. Harrison conceded this. The report of the committee was adopted without dissent, and in accordance with its findings Legler assumed the chair amid considerable applause. On Spencer's motion, all of Wylie's acts while acting as President were legalized.
There were 61 proxy votes sent in, of which Barker had 25, but due to the confusion over the succession of affidavits there were so many irregularities that all proxies were cast out. Harrison nominated Spencer, with Legler's second; and Brown named Stowell, who was elected by a vote of 22 to ten. The election of Official Editor occasioned considerable excitement. Legler started a movement for Barker, in consideration of his withdrawal from the presidential race. Barker had been steadily making friends, the position was even more to his liking than the presidency, and he had many able supporters. But Louis Kempner, editor of the Union Lance of New York, had come to Milwaukee especially to elect Joseph Dana Miller to the official editorship, his heart was set upon it, and he labored for it with a persistency that knew no let-up, working night and day with the vim, energy and sagacity of a veteran politician. He nominated Miller in an impressive speech, and Legler did the same for Barker. The excitement was intense and the outcome of a ballot eagerly awaited. But just then Barker arose and in a voice of much feeling declined the nomination, saying that he did not desire to be known as an office seeker, as he had been charged with being. Miller was elected unanimously. Kempner was afterwards presented with a broom in recognition of the "clean sweep" he had secured for his candidate.
THE BOSTON CONVENTION, 1885
PRESIDENT STOWELL'S ADMINISTRATION began well, but his health failed, lung trouble developed, and he was forced to seek a change of climate. Leaving Iowa, he moved to California but the change effected no improvement, and his amateur activities ceased. The Executive Judges, declaring the presidency vacant, advanced the Vice-President, Frederic Heath of Milwaukee, to the position.
Heath had entered amateur journalism as a result of reading the famous St. Nicholas article. He issued a paper called Stars and Stripes, Printing it on an old Novelty press. Later his journal gained much prominence. He was an untiring worker with a happy faculty of creating enthusiasm, and a year of great activity set in. New papers sprang up in all sections of the country, and the average quality of papers issued rose higher. Literary criticism and serious endeavor on the part of authors became more marked. All this culminated in one of the largest and most successful conventions yet held. The Boston convention of 1885 was long remembered. It was noted alike for the large number of both veteran amateurs and promising recruits in attendance.
Heath had made such a success of his administration during the few months he had been in office that a strong movement was set on foot to elect him for a whole term. In the East D. A. Sullivan of Lowell, Mass., had been gaining much prominence. His paper, Youth, was unusually large and was filled with articles p ZD causing much discussion and interest. He had been an amateur for ten years, having in 1875, at a very early age, published the Boys of Lowell. During the following years he had issued a number of journals, variously named, the most noted of which was the Index. His latest journal, Youth, was started in 1884. In 1880 he had been President of the flourishing New England Amateur Journalists Association.
The campaign, a warm one, was the occasion of bitter personalities. Both managers issued campaign sheets, and the interest aroused was more general and more intense than ever before. All this tended to increase the attendance at Boston. The evening before the convention, caucuses of both factions were held, at which political strategy was discussed far into the morning hours.
The report of the proxy examining committee showed 19 votes for Sullivan and 18 for Heath, evidence of equal strength by both candidates. Heath was nominated by Herbert C. Parsons, who afterwards rose to great prominence in Massachusetts civic and welfare circles. At that time he was known as "the tall sycamore of the Berkshires." An impressive speaker with much of the rugged, inflexible bearing of his native granite hills, he made an especially effective nomination speech. Charles S. Elgutter named Sullivan in a speech much less persuasive. Elgutter was a pleasing and witty speaker at a banquet, but he was not so forceful upon the floor, and he made one of those slips political speakers are so apt to make, saying that Sullivan had labored all through his long career "solely through self interest," meaning, of course, his personal interest in the work. The ironical applause which greeted this assertion spoiled the entire effect of the speech.
Legler and Metcalf seconded the nomination of Heath, and Grant and others that of Sullivan, but the most effective speech of the day, and one of the most effective political speeches ever heard in an amateur convention, was made by a veteran amateur, George W. Baildon, who had published the Waverly in 1877. His speech was of only these few words: "The question is just this: Will you choose a man whose career resembles the slow and sturdy growth of the oak, or one who has come up in a single night like a fungus?" It closed the speaking in a roar of laughter and applause for Sullivan.
Speeches, however effective, change few, if any, votes at such a time. Sullivan won, largely because of the personal contact with the deligates by Finaly Grant. untiring, persistent, shrewd and strenuous. Sullivan won by a majority of three votes in a total of 103, the only ballot resulting in 53 for him and 50 for Heath.
One of the most enthusiastic delegates present was Will S. Moore of San Francisco, editor of the Pacific Courant, a large, beautifully printed, all-editorial journal. Moore's slogan was "'Frisco in '86," and he labored for the choice of the city of the Far West as the next meeting place with a zeal which knew no rest. Irrepressible and irresistible, his genial good nature, ready humor and pleasing address, added to the thought of the 3,000 miles over which he had come, made his plea unanswerable, and San Francisco was not only chosen unanimously but Moore was in like manner elected First Vice-President of the Association.
An unusual social feature graced the Boston convention. Upon the afternoon of the first day Legler announced that former President Finlay Grant and Bertha York, one of the most gifted of amateur poets and story writers, had been married that morning and had invited the delegates to a reception in the parlors of Young's Hotel. An adjournment was immediately voted, and the delegates made their way to shower the happy couple with congratulations and best wishes. This union was one of numerous weddings resulting from the association of young people in the ranks of amateur journalism.
FIRST CONVENTION ON THE PACIFIC COAST, 1886
WITH THE CLOSE of the highly successful convention in Boston, after a decade of existence, the Association was well established upon a permanent basis. It had successfully resisted assaults from without and within. There had been periods of depression when papers were few and of little worth, officers had neglected their duties or had usurped the duties of others, proxy ballots had been counted and proxy ballots had been cast out, rival associations had sprung into being, there had been fierce political strife, personal jealousies, election fraud, legislative changes and disputes over constitutional interpretation. The Association had survived all. Future history became a repetition, with differences only of detail, of past experiences, and need not be described except in outline.
The sending of the convention for the first time to the Pacific Coast, away from the leading centers of amateur journalism, was, of course, an experiment, but it was justified by the outcome. In the first place, it brought into being many new papers in the region beyond the Rockies, and a number of amateurs prominent in after years were enlisted in the ranks. The amateurs of San Francisco and vicinity, proud of being called upon to entertain the association, worked hard and spared no thought or effort to make the gathering a success, as it proved to be. The attendance was good, although naturally largely made up of members from the Far West. There were three delegates from the Central West, and one, even, from New England.
The popularity of Moore in the East at the time of the Boston convention and his excellent work as an editor made him a natural candidate for the presidency. But in order to avoid the appearance of a selfish political motive in his campaign for "'Frisco in '86," he had pledged himself not to be a candidate at that convention. And he kept his pledge, although strongly urged to neglect it.
The followers of Heath, who had failed of election by so narrow a margin at Boston, were resolved that he should try again, and he consented. Opposed to him was James H. Ives Munro, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, editor of Canada. Neither Heath nor Munro was present at San Francisco, but the proxy ballots were faith- fully counted, and Munro was declared elected by a vote of 50 to 44, with four scattering. In their efforts to avoid all charges of biased technicality the delegates were perhaps a little too liberal. The Treasurer's books had not been received, and the financial standing of those casting ballots could not be ascertained. In this contingency Moore moved that all proxy votes be counted, which motion was carried. Some time later it was unofficially announced that some of those sending in proxy ballots were in arrears and not entitled to vote. Omitting these ballots it was said that the result would show Munro one short of a majority, and the election would have been thrown into the hands of those present. The convention vote was 17 for Heath and 12 for Munro, indicating that the former would have been elected. But putting aside all technicalities, Munro was the choice of a larger number of legal voters than was Heath, if he did not have quite a majority over all.
SECOND PHILADELPHIA CONVENTION, 1887
THE 1887 CONVENTION, held in Philadelphia, was the scene of one of the most dramatic moments in all the history of amateur conventions. Moore, freed from his pledge preventing his candidacy at San Francisco, was a candidate, opposed by Michael F. Boechat of Buffalo, N. Y., editor of the Norm. The campaign was a heated one, although without bitterness. When the convention met, it was found that the custodian of the duplicate proxy ballots, no doubt innocently and by mistake, had opened 64 of them. Of the 16 unopened, 13 were for Moore and three for Boechat. By virtue of this technicality a motion was made to discard all proxies. The vote upon this motion resulted in a tie, 14 to 14. When the Chairman voted in the affirmative, the election was thrown open to the delegates present.
This left a clear field for Boechat, who was nominated by Louis Kempner. Immediately he electrified his supporters by absolutely declining to be a candidate. He was urged to accept, but in a voice surcharged with emotion he replied: "I have a conscience and a character to sustain, and these are dearer to me, and far more lasting, than even the great honor of being the President of the National Amateur Press Association. I will not accept the office, and that is final." Several members were nominated in succession, but they all declined. Samuel S. Stinson finally was proposed. Although he sought to decline, he was prevailed upon to accept, and was unanimously elected. Stinson, known for his graceful poems, was the first President, perhaps, who was in no sense a politician. And the literary element was further recognized in the choice of the poet and. story writer, Frank D. Woollen, for Official Editor.
An excessive zeal to win may cause the amateur politician to overstep the mark, but the sense of justice is strong in American youth. At Chicago next year Will S. Moore's name was added to the list of Presidents. Albert E. Barker, who four years before at Milwaukee had retired from the race for the presidency, was elected to that office at Chicago. Barker in 1884 was an inexperienced, shy lad from the country, though with a mind of his own. In 1888 he was staid, dignified, mature. Now a resident of Chicago, he was editor of the Exchange Journal, a large and well edited paper.
There was at this convention an interesting instance of clever political maneuvering on the part of one of the "elder statesmen." When at Milwaukee Barker suddenly ceased to be a candidate for President, Truman J. Spencer was nominated to oppose Stowell, who was elected.
THE 1888 CONVENTION AT CHICAGO
IN 1888 A NUMBER OF PAPERS nominated Spencer, now living in Hartford, Conn., for Official Editor. He received 31 proxy votes, 17 more than his nearest competitor. But when Henry E. Legler arrived at Chicago he expressed a desire to have the official editorship go to Mrs. Bertha York Grant, one of the most gifted of amateur poets and fiction writers.
To eliminate Spencer, Legler nominated him for First Vice-President. There were no proxy votes for him for this office, but he was elected. His supporters, however, continued their campaign for him for Official Editor. When he was nominated for the place, Legler argued that the nomination was out of order, as Spencer was already an officer of the Association. President Barker ruled that there was nothing in the constitution to prevent a man from holding two offices. Legler appealed from this decision, but the Chair was sustained, and Spencer was elected. But Legler, with characteristic persistency in pursuit of his ends, offered a resolution later declaring the election of Spencer illegal, null and void. He withdrew it temporarily, and in the haste to adjourn, it was not again presented. Spencer, a thousand miles away, knew nothing of the circumstances at the time. If he had known h would have withdrawn in favor of his fair opponent. When informed of his double election he resigned the vice-presidency, and Warren J. Brodie was appointed to the place.
THE 1889 CONVENTION AT BUFFALO
THE YEAR 1889 saw the birth of an organization known as the Conservative Party, headed by former President Heath. It presented a complete platform, especially stressing the need of advancing the literary standards and laureate awards, and opposing early political campaigns as tending to subordinate literary activity. Nominations were to be made annually in April by postal card ballots.
In the meantime a campaign had been started in behalf of Louis Kempner of New York, who had been a prominent figure in the organization for several years. He had attended more conventions than any one else; he had conducted an exhaustive examination into the tangled treasury accounts of Fischer; he had secured the unanimous election of Joseph Dana Miller as Official Editor at Milwaukee; he had been elected President of the Eastern A.P.A. in 1885, and he was chairman of the committee that entirely revised the National constitution so successfully that, although minor changes and additions were made, its basic principles stood for many years. In this last work, however, he had the help of Michael F. Boechat of Buffalo, editor of the Norm, who in April was nominated by the Conservative Party for President.
Boechat was a fit candidate to stand upon the platform of that party, but Kempner's campaign had gained such headway that he was elected at Buffalo by a vote of 59 to 37 and the Conservative Party went out of existence. Kempner's paper, the Union Lance, contained much literature of high grade, although his own abilities as a writer were not marked.
The principal excitement at Buffalo was over the introduction of a resolution condemning the influence of the saloon in politics. It was debated for hours, prolonging the session until one o'clock in the morning. There was not much objection to the resolution itself, which was mild in its terms, but the ground was taken by many that a resolution relating to matters outside the range of amateur journalism had no place in a convention of the Association. The resolution was defeated, and ever since, Association conventions have confined their attention to matters pertaining to the work in hand.
THE 1890 CONVENTION AT INDIANAPOLIS
AT BUFFALO, Cleveland had been chosen as the next meeting place, but, taking advantage of a provision in the new constitution that, if the activity in the city selected did not warrant a successful convention, the President had the power to change the place of meeting, President Kempner called the Association to meet in 1890 in Indianapolis. Up to a short time before the convention it seemed as though the practically unanimous election as President of A. D. Grant, brother of former President Finlay Grant, was assured. The younger Grant published a solidly editorial journal called the Nugget. But in May, upon the advice of his physician, Grant withdrew. Former President Wylie, Grant's campaign manager, endeavored to transfer his support to William S. Dunlop, editor of the Messenger, of Milwaukee. Many, however, refused to accept the new candidate and presented the name of Walter E. Mellinger, editor of the Commentator, of Chicago. In the convention, Dunlop and Mellinger each received the same number of votes, but the large proxy vote for Dunlop gave him the victory.
THE CRISIS OF 1891 AT PHILADELPHIA
AS A RESULT of the convention in Philadelphia in 1891 the Association passed through the greatest crisis in its history. That it survived is a tribute alike to the innate strength of the institution and the ameliorating genius of its members. The political contest that year was triangular, with each contestant having apparently an even chance. Edwin B. Swift, of Cincinnati, editor of an excellent literary magazine called Hyperion, the candidate of the older members, represented the so-called literary faction. Frank E. Schermerhorn, of Philadelphia, editor of the Ideal, had large support from those located near the convention city, with a few others. John L. Tomlinson, editor of the Commentator of Chicago, drew his support mainly from the West, but his campaign was in the hands of experienced politicians eager to win for the joy of winning. The first business of the convention was action upon the report of the Secretary upon credentials. Former President Heath objected to the admission of 73 applicants, and by a rising vote they were rejected, ten votes, the required number, being cast against them. So at the start the plans of the Tomlinson politicians were blocked. They had printed a large number of small papers, containing about fifty words of original matter, the contents of several of them being identical, each of the papers containing the names of from four to six persons as editors. All of these had sent in proxy votes for Tomlinson. With their rejection, the hopes of the Tomlinson supporters faded, and they joined forces with the Swift voters. The committee for examining and counting the proxy ballots was made up of the following members: Frank E. Schermerhorn and H. C. Hochstadter of the Schermerhorn party, Walter C. Chiles and Charles R. Burger of the Tomlinson faction, Willard 0. Wylie and E. B. Swift, representing the Swift supporters, and Truman J. Spencer, who at that time was not an adherent of any faction. Of these, Schermerhorn, Chiles and Swift, representing the three candidates, were, by a coincidence, members of the committee, under the constitution, by virtue of their offices. The other four were appointed by President Dunlop.
This committee had a long and uneventful session lasting until 2 o'clock in the morning. Every point in dispute was unanimously settled, and the final count was agreed upon by all. At 10 o'clock that morning the convention was called to order. The constitution made the report of the proxy committee the first order of business. Schermerhorn, the chairman, was not present. Hochstadter was sent in search of him, but after ten minutes reported failure to locate him. President Dunlop called upon the secretary of the committee to present its report. Signed by five members, the report, agreed to by all early in the morning, gave the number of legal ballots as 88, which Swift had 62, Schermerhorn 19, Tomlinson 6 and Mellinger 1.
During the reading of this report there was much confusion, and several motions to adjourn were made by Schermerhorn supporters. President Dunlop refused to recognize any one until order was restored. Quiet being partially obtained, Burger finished reading the report and moved its adoption. The vote was recorded as a tie, 23 to 23, and President Dunlop, voting in the affirmative, declared the report adopted. The correctness of the count has been questioned, the Schermerhorn people afterward claiming the motion to adopt was defeated by one majority. There was great confusion at the time and an error, intentional or otherwise, might have been made. But the correctness of the report has been acknowledged by all parties, whether it was actually adopted or not at that time. It was presented later, in almost identical form, to the Schermerhorn faction in their convention. Immediately following the acceptance of the report Burger nominated Swift for the presidency. Heath was given the floor, but yielded it to Carter, who moved "that the convention do now adjourn until 2 p.m." President Dunlop ruled the motion out of order in accordance with the association's parliamentary authority, Roberts' Rules of Order, which provides that such a motion "cannot be made when any other question is before the assembly." Amid considerable disorder, and while the business of the convention was being carried on, Carter put his motion himself, declared it carried, and he and the Schermerhorn party withdrew. The result of the ballot for President was as follows: Out of 113 votes cast Swift had 87, Schermerhorn 19, Tomlinson 6, Mellinger 1. Chiles was elected Official Editor and Boston the next place of meeting.
The faction which had withdrawn met at 2 o'clock with Vice-President Schermerhorn in the chair. The report of the committee on proxy votes was presented giving the same figures as when earlier reported, and was accepted. Heath then moved that every proxy vote be counted, whether the dues of the member casting it were paid or not, alleging that many members had arranged to have their dues paid by Burger, who had failed to so do. His motion was carried. After a recess the proxy committee reported the following: Swift 64, Tomlinson 58, Schermerhorn 25. A ballot showing no choice, the proxies were omitted, according to the constitution, and those present elected Schermerhorn President by a unanimous vote. Heath was chosen Official Editor and Buffalo next place of meeting. A committee of three, Heath, Carter and A. E. Baker, was appointed to confer with a like committee "to discuss, and, if possible, settle -the difficulties that exist as a result of the proceedings of the past two days." The Swift faction appointed as such committee Wylie, Morton and Spencer. The two committees met and reviewed the situation, but could come to no agreement.
In the meantime President Swift called the afternoon session to order, and Tomlinson addressed the assembly, saying that he had been approached by members of the othcr faction with a proposition to compromise the difficulties by having both Swift and Schermerhorn withdraw and he be chosen President. He said that he had declined the offer, and moved that the convention adjourn sine die, which was carried by one majority.
One of the keen minds in attendance at Philadelphia was John Moody of New Jersey. He gained great prominence in the financial world later by his well-known Moody's Manual of Railroad and Corporation Securities.
Moody was originally a member of the Schermerhorn party, but becoming convinced that those in its charge were seeking to win by any means necessary, without regard to their fairness, he withdrew. Moody's testimony has been disputed, but certain essential facts remain. It is perhaps impossible to defend all of President Dunlop's rulings; some of them may have savored too strongly of Speaker Reed's tactics in dealing with filibusters. He was in a trying position. The count of the vote accepting the report of the proxy committee may have been in error. But the report itself, accepted by all factions showed that Swift had a majority over all of 26, and the convention vote was shown to be about evenly divided. Swift was therefore the choice of those members whose votes were legal according to the constitution.
Yet it was claimed that many members had arranged with Burger to have their dues paid through him, but he had neglected to do so. The constitution provided that "No proxy vote shall be legal unless the dues of the member voting shall have been paid for the current year before the examining committee shall have retired to count the vote." But adding together all proxy votes sent in, with no regard to dues the result reported to the Schermerhorn convention gave Swift 64, Tomlinson 58, Schermerhorn 25. With the convention vote added, Schermerhorn had 50 and his opponents 145, a vote of almost three to one against him. As Tomlinson had retired from the race, it would seem that the choice of Swift carried out the will of the members, whatever illegalities may have taken place. But, it should be said that the members of the Schermerhorn faction were confronted with undoubtedly sharp practices on the part of their opponents; they felt aggrieved by the arbitrary rulings of a Chairman who, they felt, was against them, and they left the convention no doubt sincerely believing themselves cheated of their rights. The adjournment of the convention prevented any immediate settlement of the difficulties, and they had no choice but to go on.
One pleasing incident in the midst of such unpleasantness was the presentation at the annual banquet of a diamond ring to Miss Harriet Cox, as a token of appreciation of her services as Official Editor. The money for this purpose had been appropriated by the Association at its morning session. Miss Cox was the first young lady to be elected to the second highest office in the association, and performed her duties well.
THE CONVENTION AT BOSTON IN 1892
AFTER THE 1891 CONVENTION feeling was very bitter on both sides. Sharp words were exchanged and the actions at the convention were discussed at great length. Some attempts at reconciliation were made, but emotions aroused were too strong to permit success. It was generally thought that at the approaching Boston convention Tomlinson would be elected, but he declined to run. The name of Truman J. Spencer, then publishing the Investigator, was brought forward. No candidate was placed in opposition, and he was elected by a vote 44 to three for Samuel J. Steinberg, editor of Dilettante. Brainerd Prescott Emery was chosen Official Editor, an office he had held in 1885. He was also poet laureate for the second time that year, and was awarded the title a third time a few years later. Chicago, the seat of the coming World's Fair, was chosen for the 1893 meeting. The attendance numbered 40.
The opposition organization met in Buffalo on the same day, and was presided over by President Schermerhorn. Thirty-five were present. It was voted to admit the members of the Mutual Benefit A.P.A. into membership in a body and to exempt them from the payment of initiation fees. An account of this organization will be found elsewhere. Harry C. Hochstadter, of Philadelphia, editor of William Penn, was elected President by a vote of 27 to 10 for Schermerhorn. Chicago was also chosen as the next place of meeting.
President Hochstadter, who had been Schermerhorn’s campaign manager at Philadelphia, accepted his office with the distinct purpose of effecting a reunion of the two rival associations, and bent all his energies to that end. He was met in a like spirit by President Spencer, and a series of conferences was held. A joint committee of the two factions was appointed, Emery, Burger and W. W. Carpenter representing one side, and Carter, Hochstadter and Schermerhorn the other. The final settlement was largely due to the fine spirit and mental resource of Carter. His great desire was for unity, justice and good will, putting aside all pride of opinion or selfish ambition. The compromise measures finally adopted were substantially those he devised.
At a meeting of the committee in Philadelphia in September the following basis of compromise was agreed upon:
Recognition of Mr. Spencer as President of the amalgamated Association.
A reorganized board of officers fairly divided between members of both divisions.
The actions of Boston and Buffalo conventions in regard to membership to be legalized.
The names of both Swift and Schermerhorn to be placed on the list of Presidents for 1891-2.
This agreement proved acceptable to all parties, with the exception of the last article. This was objected to by officials elected at Boston, but after considerable correspondence it was finally agreed that the compromise should go into effect as proposed, with the proviso that the question of placing Schermerhorn's name upon the presidential roll be referred to the delegates at the meeting of the reunited Association at Chicago.
Meanwhile Mr. Emery, owing to other duties, had resigned as Official Editor, and several other resignations paved the way for President Spencer to carry out his part of the agreement. He appointed Hochstadter Official Editor; Carter, Executive Judge; A. H. Snyder, of Chicago, Recording Secretary; and Kneeland Ball, of Buffalo, First Vice-President -- all members of the Schermerhorn faction.
CHICAGO'S MOST SUCCESSFUL CONVENTION, 1893
TIIE LARGELY ATTENDED 1893 convention at Chicago was the most representative meeting the Association has ever held. Delegates were present from Nova Scotia and Massachusetts on the one side and Utah and California on the other, and from North Dakota and Louisiana -- from 19 States in all.
The thoughts of all centered upon a reunited Association, and no political campaign had been waged. When the time came for the election of officers, President Spencer was nominated for re-election, but he positively refused to allow his name to be used. Mr. Tomlinson was then nominated and unanimously elected.
The report of the Executive Judges containing the terms of the compromise agreement was presented. There were many rumors that some of its provisions would be opposed, but there was not a word against it, nor was a single vote cast against its adoption. Thus was cemented together once more, as far as any formal action could do so, those members who had followed separate paths since 1891.
But one other point remained to be settled, and it was the occasion of one of the warmest and most spirited debates in Association history. Mr. Tomlinson sent to the Secretary's desk for action the following resolution:
Resolved: That in view of the estimable services of Frank E. Schermerhorn in behalf of amateur journalism, and the National Amateur Press Association in particular, the Secretary be authorized to add his name to the list of Presidents for the period of 1891-2.
Morton instantly moved that it be laid upon the table, but his motion was lost. He then spoke at length in opposition to its adoption. He threw his whole soul into his speech, speaking with great force and convincing earnestness. There was no bitterness, however, but a straightforward plea for constitutional law and legal rights. Ex-President Grant answered him. As many thought Schermerhorn legally elected at Philadelphia, it established a doubt, and he argued in favor of adding both names to the list. Several others spoke, and then Ex-President Legler made an eloquent plea for the extension of the olive branch. He had no sooner finished than Robert Carey, afterwards a distinguished lawyer and judge in New Jersey courts, sprang to his feet and in a ringing, magnetic speech, pleaded with the members to stand by principle and not be ruled by sentiment. It was a telling effort and made votes. Grant attempted to break its force, speaking again with greater eloquence. He said that he hoped the time would never come when he should turn a deaf ear to sentiment. He was ready at any time to extend the right hand of fellowship to his fellow man, even though he believed him to be in the wrong. This closed the speaking. Upon motion of Swift the yeas and nays were ordered upon the adoption of the resolution, which was passed by a vote of 15 to 13, several delegates not voting.
Then ensued one of the most thoroughly dramatic moments in the annals of the Association's conventions. Swift very quietly arose and said that in view of the action just taken he should move that his name be stricken from the list of Presidents. Heath arose and said that if the gentleman made that motion in good faith he would second it. Quick as a flash Swift exclaimed in a voice vibrant with feeling: "Mr. President: I never did anything in amateur journalism but in good faith. Could the other gentleman say as much?" Swift's motion was ruled out of order by President Spencer. As Legler said afterwards, Swift's name is as high on the roll as it was previous to the action taken. "Is not a chaplet of laurel and olive," he said, "as desirable as a garland woven of laurel alone?"
This ended the great contest. The result could not be claimed as a victory for either party. The resolution did not touch the vital matters in dispute at Philadelphia and was passed by the votes of the opponents of the Schermerhorn faction because they believed that, as Legler expressed it, "It is the prevailing party which can afford to be magnanimous."
It should be recorded here that at the Nashville convention in 1901, a resolution, sent to the meeting by Ex-President Heath, was adopted by which the name of Hochstadter, elected President of the Schermerhorn division at Buffalo in 1892, was added to the official list of Association Presidents.
HARMONY AT BOSTON IN 1894
HARMONY ONCE MORE RESTORED, the re-united Association seemed facing a happy era. But the great financial panic of 1893 had made its effects felt even in amateur journalism. President Tomlinson and Official Editor Nixon were compelled to resign. The Executive judges appointed Alson Brubaker, of Fargo, N. D., editor of lnk Drops, President, and he appointed former President Finlay Grant Official Editor. The papers issued were comparatively few, although some were of high quality.
No candidates for President were in the field up to the very hour of balloting at the Boston convention of 1894. Charles R. Burger, the veteran of many political battles, now publishing Progress from Jersey City, N. J., was mentioned, but up to that hour had steadfastly refused to accept the office. He had, however, 20 proxy votes, no one else having more than four, and with the unanimous vote of the convention he was elected, and reluctantly accepted.
The great railroad strike cut down the attendance and no doubt delayed a number of proxy votes from the West. In the absence of superior officers Miss Susan B. Robbins, a story writer from Abington, Mass., the Secretary, called the convention to order, the first young lady to preside over the deliberations of the Association.
President Burger devoted himself to Association affairs with an energy no preceding President, with the possible exception of Grant, had shown. He traveled thousands of miles, visiting different amateur centers, organizing local clubs, and securing new members. Thousands of circulars were widely circulated, many letters written, and several professional publications contained descriptive articles regarding amateur journalism. The membership roll was greatly increased, but more attention was paid to numbers than to quality. Several amateurs who became distinguished in after years were drawn in, however, at that time.
Owing to the inactivity of Cincinnati, the place of meeting was changed, and the 1895 convention was held in Chicago. The candidates for President were David L. Hollub, of San Francisco, one of the editors of the Pacific Courant, and President Burger, who was one of the few Presidents who ran for a second term. Piqued by some adverse criticism, he resolved to be a candidate for re-election as a means of vindication. The proxy ballots were about evenly divided, standing 129 for Burger and 104 for Hollub. A dispute arose over the admission of certain new members. In the interest of harmony both candidates agreed to withdraw, and Will Hancock, of Fargo, editor of Prairie Breezes, was elected President, although he had received not a single proxy for the office. How he was regarded by the amateurs of the country, however, may be seen by the fact that he received 246 of the 250 votes for Official Editor, which office he immediately resigned. Franklin C. Johnson, who had been elected Editor at Boston had died suddenly the preceding January while traveling in France, and Albert W. Dennis, of Lynn, Mass., editor of Some Remarks, had been appointed in his place. He was elected in Chicago to succeed himself, after Hancock resigned. But he felt obliged to resign at once, and Mrs. Edith Miniter, well known for her stories and serials, was appointed in his place, the second lady to hold this high office.
President Hancock was delayed by train connections in arriving at the second Washington convention in 1896, and J. Edson Briggs, elected President at the first gathering at the nation's Capital, was chosen to preside. James F. Morton, editor of the Beacon, from Boston, and a very prolific contributor of essays and communications to the amateur press, was unanimously chosen President. The principal excitement of the convention centered about the adoption of a new constitution, presented by a committee, appointed the first day, of Edwin Hadley Smith, Brainerd P. Emery and William R. Moscow. After a heated debate it was adopted. The most outstanding innovation was the abolishment of the office of Official Editor, and the turning over of publishing the National Amateur to a private company known as the National Amateur Publishing Company. It was to be issued monthly, and 50 cents from each member's dues was to be given towards its expense. In practice this plan did not work out well. Two numbers of the Amateur appeared, but no more during the year. The Association became heavily in debt. At the second convention in San Francisco next year, when David L. Hollub was chosen President, it was voted to return to the old 1889 constitution, with some amendments.
President Hollub made a vigorous effort to bring about an increased membership, deepen interest and pay off the debt. Four members of the Chicago Amateur Press Club, Samuel J. Steinberg, Jay Fallass, Linden D. Dey and Walter C. Chiles, published the National Amateur without cost to the Association.
In 1898 the Association met for the second time in New York City. Horace Freeman, of Newark, N. J., editor of the paper Criteria, was unanimously chosen President. One of the features of this gathering was the presence of Alfred H. Pearce, a former President of the British Amateur Press Association, who brought the greetings of the amateur journalists across the sea. President Freeman's efforts cleared the Association of indebtedness.
Theodore B. Thiele, of Chicago, editor of the Criterion, was chosen President in 1899, by a vote of 60 to 38 for Samuel J. Steinberg, editor of Dilettante, of Indianapolis, Ind. Warren J. Brodie, of Cleveland, Ohio, was elected Official Editor.
A CRY FOR YOUTH
WARREN J. BRODIE, who was elected Official Editor in 1899, had published an influential paper in the Eighties, while living in Geneseo, N.Y., called the Empire State Amateur. Removing to Cleveland, Ohio, he later issued the Random Amateur, his interest in amateur journalism having revived. He issued one of the best edited volumes of the National Amateur, well printed and containing many original features.
But Brodie's chief interest at that time was in building up the Association by the addition of new members and by bringing the younger element to the fore in the management of its affairs. In the June, 1900, issue of the National Amateur he published an editorial containing, the following paragraph:
… The preponderance of the older clement in the association is too marked. The older men are always to be found at the conventions (and we are glad that this is so), but they presume on their past record to shape the course of events and dictate the entire official board. . . . The place for the old-timer at conventions is ‘way up on the back shelf. The young amateurs should take complete control of the National Amateur Press Association at the coming convention at Boston. It is time that the "old guard" took a back seat and remained in it.
The editorial created much interest and comment. Here, for the first time, was an older member demanding that the entire administration be turned over to the younger amateur journalists. And Brodie followed up his words with action. John Marshall Acee, of Atlanta, Ga., an energetic, though impulsive, young recruit, had been elected First Vice-President at Chicago. He had gained prominence through his organization of the Southern Amateur journalists Association, and his friends put him forward as a candidate for the presidency. Brodie took him up, and a ticket composed of young and active amateurs was put into the field.
When the members gathered for the Boston convention in 1900 the older element were in control. As a rule sympathy was felt for Brodie's policy, but many felt that Acee was too new to know the history or to realize the traditional genius of the institution. The night before the convention met, a caucus was held to select a "young blood" who should be more capable and reliable. The choice fell upon Nelson G. Morton, of Boston, a younger brother of former President James F. Morton. Editor of the Idler, he had experience in administrative affairs, as he was then President of the New England A.P.A. Because some of the proxy votes were delayed beyond the constitutional date for their reception, a motion was made that all proxy ballots be discarded. When Brodie and former President Spenter opposed this motion in vigorous speeches, it was defeated by a vote of 25 to two. There was no choice on the first ballot, and the election was thrown open to the delegates present. Morton was elected, receiving 20 votes to 13 for Acee, who was immediately made Official Editor.
Atlanta was chosen as seat of the next convention. The Association had never met farther south than Washington, and it was thought to be time that the amateurs of that section received recognition. Atlanta proved inactive, however, and the place of meeting was changed to Nashville, Tenn. John T. Nixon was appointed Official Editor when Acee, sensitive and inexperienced, because of some criticism resigned his office after issuing three number of the Amateur. Mr. Nixon published in 1900 one of the outstanding books issued by amateur journalists, an octave volume of 350 pages, entitled History of the National Amateur Press Association. It was a valuable work and increased Nixon's fame greatly, so much so that at the Nashville convention he received 70 proxy votes for President with only four for other candidates. The convention vote was unanimous in his favor.
On December 14, 1901, at Dooner's Hotel in Philadelphia, a banquet was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization of the National A.P.A. Many prominent amateurs, past and present, attended, among them James M. Beck and Charles C. Heuman, who took part in the organization meeting in 1876. The dinner was presided over by a gifted amateur poet and editor of the Eighties, Will R. Antisdel, who published Qui Vive from Detroit, Mich., and later was successively literary, dramatic and musical editor of the Philadelphia Record.
A POLITICAL STORM IN 1902
AFTER SEVERAL YEARS of calm the third convention held in New York, in 1902, was the center of a political storm, the reverberations of whose thunder were heard for many months. At the heart of the tempest was the veteran expert in political craft, Charles R. Burger. A forceful speaker, quick as a flash to seize an advantage, adept in the use of political strategy and rules of parliamentary practice, he possessed a dogged persistency which allowed his opponents no opportunity for slumber. There was undoubtedly sharp practice on both sides, some of it probably motivated by the convenient doctrine that it is sometimes necessary to fight fire with fire.
The preliminary campaign was both extensive and intensive. The element who unsuccessfully supported Acee at Boston in 1900 revived the slogan of "Young Blood," and put forward as a candidate Anthony E. Wills, of Brooklyn, N. Y. Wills had been an amateur less than two years and a member of the Association only six months, having joined at the Nashville convention in 1901. He was, however, editor of an attractive magazine called Fiction, whose literary contents were of a high order, although his editorial writings were not strong. Before it suspended, 24 numbers of Fiction were issued, containing 720 pages. Edwin Hadley Smith was his campaign manager.
Opposed to him was John L. Peltret, who in 1895-8 was one of the editors of Ocean Waves, published in San Francisco, but who was now a resident of New York. He had been inactive for several years, but during the campaign had published an issue of Hesperides. Ex-President Nelson G. Morton was chosen to manage his campaign. The opposition on the part of most was not so much against Wills as it was against his supporters, and the followers of the Peltret banner were not so much advocates of Peltret as they were devoted to the element which was behind him. An exhaustive campaign was conducted by both sides, every member of the Association being reached by letter and political circular.
When the convention assembled at the Broadway Central Hotel it seemed that the forces were almost evenly divided. The attendance was large, over 80 delegates being present. Edith Miniter, the Boston story-writer and editor, a member of Peltret's campaign committee, was appointed secretary of credentials pro tem. In that capacity she reported adversely upon the admittance of 23 Wills supporters. Some of the reasons given seemed rather less than sufficient, she ruling that a paper dated August, 1902, was not published at the time of the convention. Many professional magazines are dated a month or six weeks in advance, and it seems absurd to claim that when they are put into circulation they are not published. Ten of Peltret's supporters black-balled the entire 23, and they were excluded. Next day, however, the Peltret party seemed to repent, or else considered it good policy to seem to, for they moved to reconsider the matter, rescinded the adverse vote, and admitted the 23 to membership.
A dramatic and pathetic incident occurred on the morning of the second day. President Nixon announced the receipt of a proxy vote from Miss Nettie Woodzelle, the amateur author from Virginia, accompanied by a letter saying that her mother had just died, and in the agony of the moment she had neglected to send in her vote at the appointed time. It was unanimously voted that her proxy, although late, be received and counted, and a telegram of sympathy was sent her.
The order of the day for 2 o'clock was the report of the proxy committee. This committee had been struggling with its work for many hours. At the appointed time a report was submitted, signed by the chairman, B. Franklin Moss, a Wills supporter, and the secretary, Edwin B. Swift, a member of the Peltret party. This report said that in addition to 107 votes that had been counted, a number of ballots sent in by those accepted by the credential committee were received, but it could not be determined from the Treasurer’s books whether their dues were paid or not. These were referred to the Association for such action as it deemed wise to take.
The difficulty was that the Treasurer had recorded the receipt of applicants' dues by such entries as "Feb. 20. Dues of 20 applicants, $20.00," no names being given. Burger, a member of the proxy committee, made a statement that President Nixon had just given him a schedule drawn up from the Treasurer's reports published during the year in the National Amateur, which would show that some of the voters in question had paid their dues, and he suggested that the report be received as a report of progress, and the committee be given leave to retire and complete its report.
Nelson Morton, Peltret's manager, undoubtedly intended to follow out this suggestion, but by an unfortunate slip in wording his motion, and by some irritating remarks made while offering it, he defeated his purpose. He moved that the report of the committee be rejected, and the matter be referred for further action. Ex-President Swift was a Peltret supporter, but he was always sensitive about any term applied to his acts. In a passionate tone he declared that the use of the word “rejected” was an insult to the committee of which he was secretary. The committee had spent seven hours over its work, its members had gone without their meals, and while the committee wanted more time, it did not want its work rejected. Maxwell Mayer added fuel to the fire in a red-hot speech, followed by several more. Morton attempted to explain that he had meant no offense, but thought that the report would have to be rejected in order to have it referred back. Confusion reigned for a time; one Wills supporter added to the din by twice firing off a revolver loaded with blank cartridges. Finally Burger took offense at some words uttered in the debate, and declaring that he was tired of listening to the insults of the opposition, moved that the report be accepted. Morton's motion had not been seconded, and Burger's motion prevailed.
It was then moved to refer the matter to the proxy committee, with instructions to count all ballots. A Wills supporter moved to lay this motion on the table, and it was so voted. What the result would have been had Burger's original suggestion been carried out and the committee considered the matter further, is uncertain. It is true that information regarding the dues of some of those sending in the ballots in question was lacking, but not in regard to all of them, and what the committee would finally have reported is a matter for conjecture.
Nominations for President being called for, Frank J. Martin, editor Our City Boys years before, named Wills. Joseph Dana Miller, the noted amateur poet and essayist of by-gone days, followed him, saying that he agreed with Thomas Jefferson that the earth was made for the living, and not for the dead, and that the dead should keep their fingers off it. He was one of the dead ones in amateur journalism, but if he were active he should give his support to the rising young scion of New York, Mr. Wills. Morton nominated Peltret and Mrs. Miniter seconded the nomination. Maxwell H. Mayer and Truman J. Spencer were named tellers, and they reported the ballot as follows:
Anthony E. Wills Proxy 69, Convention 30, Total 99
John L. Peltret Proxy 35, Convention 35, Total 70
Wills was declared elected.
The next day, when President Wills was presiding, Ex-President Nixon inquired as to the status of those whose votes had not been counted, and whether their money would be returned to them. A motion to adjourn was made and seconded and Wills declared it carried. In doing so the new President made an error, as under the rules a motion to adjourn was debatable. His action was roundly scored, but it was evidently an innocent mistake in parliamentary practice. Twenty-one members of the Peltret party met later and passed resolutions protesting against the throwing out of the proxy ballots and the sudden bringing of the convention to a close, but adding that the signers of the resolution "do not believe that President Wills was a party to any trickery."
It should be recorded here that at the convention at Chicago next year, 1903, no mention was made of the election at New York, but at the San Francisco convention a year later, 1904, the matter was brought up, and a committee appointed to investigate the legality of the New York election in 1902, and to consider the justice of putting Mr. Peltret's name upon the list of Presidents. This committee was composed of Warren J. Brodie, James F. Morton and Henry E. Legler, and made its report at the Cleveland convention in 1905. The committee unanimously reported that it felt "positive that Anthony E. Wills was elected President, and undoubtedly would have received a majority under a fair ballot." Two of the members, however, found evidences of fraud on behalf of the successful candidate, and sharp practice on both sides, but not sufficient to affect the result. The proxy ballots laid aside were afterwards opened, and the names of those casting them published, with the choice of each for President. The result showed that Wills would have received 40 additional votes, Peltret 43, and there were three for Samuel J. Steinberg, one for Warren J. Brodie, and one blank for President. As Wills' majority was declared to be 29, if all the proxy ballots had been counted he would still have a majority over all of 22.
The outstanding events of the Wills administration were the six numbers of the National Amateur issued by Official Editor George A. Alderman, totalling 126 pages, and the defalcation of the Treasurer, involving several hundred dollars. This latter event came as a distinct shock to the members, as the young officer was a poet of much merit, an orator of silvery eloquence, and an amateur who seemed to have a brilliant future before him. One of his bondsmen made good the deficiency, however, and the Association suffered no loss.
ONCE MORE ON CALM SEAS
AFTER THE INTENSE political excitement created by the New York convention of 1902, the Association enjoyed several years of quiet prosperity, largely free from political strife, many of the Presidents being elected by a practically unanimous vote. At Chicago, however, the following year, a spirited contest was waged. Alderman, capitalizing upon his record as Official Editor, his volume of the National Amateur being the largest ever published up to that time, entered the race for the presidency. His opponent was Albert E. Barnard of Chicago, one of the editors of Clique. Barnard, immensely popular in the West, won the honor by a vote of 133 to 58. Personal affairs, however, compelled Bamard to resign, and Foster Gilroy, Lansdowne, Pa., editor of a brilliant little magazine called the Stylus, was appointed in his place. Gilroy later entered the realm of professional journalism and became publicity manager of all of Frank Munsey's magazines and newspapers.
In 1904 the Association met once more in San Francisco, where Edward M. Lind was chosen President by a unanimous vote, his only opponent being ineligible because of non-payment of dues. Lind had made a wide and favorable reputation as a publisher of magazines of extremely attractive appearance and high literary quality. His Amateur Bohemian, which he issued at an early age, was notable, and his latest journal, the Pagan, amply carried on his earlier record. As President he devoted himself whole-heartedly to the Association's affairs. Twice he crossed the continent from the Pacific to the Atlantic, visiting all the leading amateur centers and arousing much interest. Largely as a result of his efforts many new papers were issued, and the quality of those published reached a higher standard. The membership of the Association was increased over 50 per cent, and the empty treasury was put in a flourishing condition.
At San Francisco Timothy Burr Thrift was elected Official Editor, and at the following convention in Cleveland he was chosen President, establishing a precedent which was followed for many years, although Official Editor Alderman had failed in his endeavor to be advanced to the presidency two years before. Thrift had entered amateur journalism at the age of 17 while living in Bellefontaine, Ohio, and was noted especially for the unique and artistic quality of the printing of his magazine known as the Lucky Dog.
During President Thrift's administration the Official Editor was Paul J. Campbell of Georgetown, Ill., whose volume of the National Amateur, containing 120 pages, made him famous. His own paper, the Scotchman, was of much merit, and he was a leading candidate for the presidency until he positively refused to accept the nomination. This left the field entirely open to William R. Murphy of Philadelphia, editor of the Pioneer. He was elected, receiving 117 votes, with only 20 scattering votes in opposition. President Murphy's administration was one of remarkable activity. Besides publishing his paper regularly, Murphy visited most of the conventions of the local clubs throughout the East, and carried on a tremendous amount of publicity work. He contributed articles to all the leading young people's publications, and is credited with having interested more young people in amateur journalism than any other one person. His literary ability was of a high order, and he won at various times all the laureateships of the National Association: poetry, essay, story, history, editorial, the latter twice. In professional life Murphy became a member of the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, specializing in dramatic and musical criticism.
President Murphy's labors were ably seconded by his Official Editor, Charles W. Heins of New York City, whose volume of the National Amateur, printed by himself, was the largest that had been published, containing 158 pages. At the Boston convention of 1907, Heins was advanced to the presidency by a vote of 62 to 5. His own paper, issued for five years, was called Arrows, and was printed in colors.
William C. Ahlhauser, of Milwaukee, editor of Cynosure, Official Editor, was likewise promoted to the presidential chair when the Association met in Milwaukee in 1908. While Official Editor he began a series of biographical sketches, "Ex-Presidents of the N.A.P.A.," which he afterwards collected, and continued to include all the first 53 Presidents. These were published in attractive book form in 1919 by W. Paul Cook, then President of the Association. In 1908 Ahlhauser compiled and published a complete index to the National Amateur from Volume One to that date.
A WOMAN AS PRESIDENT
ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING of amateur journalism girls as well as boys engaged in its activities, wrote poems and stories, edited papers, and even printed journals. Several of them were elected to responsible offices in the National Association, and, as has been recorded, Miss Susan Robbins, in the absence of superior officers, called one convention to order and presided for a brief time. But during the first third of a century of its existence no woman was elected as its chief executive. This honor was conferred upon Mrs. Edith Dowe Miniter at the New York convention of 1909.
Edith May Dowe, as she was then, entered amateur journalism at the age of 13, when she issued the Worcester Amateur, and when 15, she was one of the first girl amateurs to attend a convention of the Association of which she was later to become President. She published many different papers, all characterized by a delightful humor and a brilliant wit, in all of which there was not a trace of malice or desire to hurt. But her chief fame rested upon her work as an author of serials and short stories. In the field of a certain type of fiction she had no equal in the history of amateur journalism. Her quickened faculty of observation, seeing all the minute peculiarities of human nature, her penetration into the inner life of persons of various types, her salient humor, and her graphic power of expression combined to put her in the front rank of authors.
She attended many conventions of the national and State and local associations, was one of the leading spirits in the long career of the Hub Amateur Journalists Club of Boston, and in 1895, when Albert W. Dennis resigned the official editorship, soon after his election, she was appointed Official Editor of the National, and issued the National Amateur in a capable manner.
Frank A. Kendall of Milwaukee had been elected Official Editor in 1908, and the excellence of his work in this capacity and of his own paper the Torpedo, naturally put him in line for the presidency, and he gained strong support. Ex-President James F. Morton, always noted for smashing precedent and proposing changes, had long cherished the idea that the chief offices of the Association should not always be continued in the male line and for some years had had Mrs. Miniter in mind as the one best fitted to be the pioneer in the matter. Conceiving the time to be now ripe, he succeeded, after considerable persuasion, in gaining Mrs. Miniter's consent to be a candidate. As the campaign went on, it developed largely into a battle between the East and the West. There was some personal feeling against Mrs. Miniter resulting from her activity as a member of Peltret's campaign committee some years before, and this caused a loss of united support by the members from the convention city, New York. Of course, the very fact that she was the first woman to contest a presidential election made some to hesitate to accept the innovation.
But shortly before the convention met, Kendall withdrew from the race, and left the field clear for Mrs. Miniter, who was elected, receiving 79 of the 115 votes cast. During her administration amateur journalism was passing through one of its periodic times of depression, papers were comparatively few, and many amateurs lapsed into inactivity. Several of the important officials elected with her neglected their duties, refused cooperation, and in some instances openly opposed the plans and legitimate orders of the President. But through it all Mrs. Miniter manifested good executive ability, enterprise and industry, and forever shattered the belief that it was not safe to entrust the reins of government to a woman. Mrs. Miniter's own activity during her term of office was remarkable. Besides her official duties, messages and correspondence, she published an issue of Aftermath, giving interesting comments upon the convention, 12 numbers of a paper called True Blue, and four issues of a literary quarterly of high quality called the Varied Year. When she called the Cleveland convention to order, her term ended with nearly universal approval.
Mrs. Miniter achieved considerable success in the professional field, being for some years one of the editors of the Boston Home Journal, and a frequent contributor to the Century and other leading magazines. Her novel published by Henry Holt & Co. in 1916, entitled Our Natupoki Neighbors, was a keen analysis of the feelings of the first and second generation of Polish immigrants in the midst of a slowly dying New England community. It received high praise from William Lyon Phelps and many other critics at home and abroad. She was one of the shining literary lights kindled by amateur journalism.
YOUTH TAKES THE HELM IN 1910
CANDIDATES FOR THF PRESIDENCY in 1910 were few. Edward F. Suhre, of St. Louis, editor of the Missourian, was nominated, and although the nomination did not receive wide approval it developed no opposition. At the Cleveland convention he was elected. With him was chosen as Official Editor a bright young amateur from Milwaukee named Walter F. Zahn. Zahn became an amateur printer at the very early age of five, having found an old press in the attic and being presented with some type by his father, who sought to amuse him.
When eight years old, he issued his first paper called the Journal, which he published weekly for some time. Later, when 15, he started a monthly journal named the Advocate. His volume of the National Amateur brought him much praise, and at the Chicago meeting in 1911 he was elected President, receiving 78 votes to 9 scattering ballots. He gave a strong, constructive administration, and was aided in turn by his Official Editor, Edward H. Cole, of Somerville, Mass.
Cole entered amateur journalism at the age of 12, his first paper being called the Hustler. A year later he began the publication of a beautifully printed and ably edited magazine called the Olympian, which he issued for 12 years. It was printed by himself on a 7 x 11 foot press, and was a model of fine typography. In 1909 it was awarded the "Fossil Cup," donated by William C. Snow, of that organization of "Amateur journalists of the Past," for the best amateur journal of the year. Cole's magazine received great praise from the committee of award, composed of professional experts in business management, typography, and editorial and literary work.
Cole had one of the brightest minds in amateur journalism during his decade. Young, industrious, thoughtful, he combined high ideals with practical insight. He won at various times the editorial, history and essay laureateships, and was for several years chairman of the National's Bureau of Critics. Never a politician in the ordinary use of the term, he was more a statesman in amateur affairs. He made a complete revision and a greatly simplified and workable version of the National's constitution, which was unanimously adopted, and remained unchanged for many years. The impress of his mind can be traced in the affairs of the Association for a long period.
His work as Official Editor was so excellent and his own magazine so greatly admired, his election as President at the Boston convention in 1912 seemed assured. When nominations were called for, George W. Macauley of Grand Rapids , Mich., was named against him. But Macauley withdrew in favor of Cole, who received the unanimous vote of the convention, and 27 of the 40 proxy ballots. His administration was not sensational, but showed the effect of steady, intelligent, effective work. In the early part of his official year he suffered from several serious handicaps, including a depleted treasury, the resignations of several officers, and the interlacing of affairs connected with a rival association, the United, the history of which is dealt with elsewhere. President Cole closed his administration with all debts paid, a substantial balance in the treasury, an increased membership, and a bright outlook for the future. Young blood had been tested and not found wanting. But one of the practical and important results of Cole's administration was the amicable relations between the younger and older elements of the institution. Cole's position was clearly stated in his own words: "The platform upon which the present board of officers was elected is that helpful cooperation of old with young is the desideratum."
DEATH IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR
PRESIDENT COLE WAS FOLLOWED by another talented member who had begun his amateur printing career at an early age. Frank A. Kendall, of Prairie du Sac, Wis., had a genuine love for typography and all branches of the printer's art, which never lessened all through his life, although he never followed it professionally. He entered amateur journalism when ten years old. His Torpedo was undoubtedly the finest example of strictly amateur printing ever known in amateur journalism. Beautiful and unusual printing was his passion, and throughout his career he was constantly adding to his printing equipment. His old hand press was eventually exchanged for a foot-power press. His issue of the Torpedo for February, 1907, known as the "Old Cloister Edition," was never excelled, from a printer's view-point, by an amateur joumal. It consisted of 36 pages and cover, printed in six colors in the beautiful type called Cloister Black. The cover was of leather. The Inland Printer, the leading exponent of professional printing, devoted a lengthy and appreciative article to this issue, and reproduced one of its pages. The literary contents were excellent.
As we have seen, Kendall was elected Official Editor of the National Association in 1908, and his volume of the National Amateur, containing over 100 pages, was well printed and well edited. He was the natural candidate for the presidency the following year, and would without question have been elected had he not withdrawn in favor of Mrs. Miniter. Four years later he was induced to accept the nomination for the office, and at the Grand Rapids convention in 1913 he was unanimously elected. He entered upon his administration with great zeal. He made plans for the recruiting of new members, and set an excellent example of activity by publishing not only his Torpedo but two papers called the Booster and the Odd One. But in four months his work ended, for on November 23 he died of a sudden attack of spinal meningitis. He was loved and honored as were few amateurs of his time; his death was a severe blow to the fraternity.
Mr. Kendall had married another prominent amateur journalist, Miss Jennie Irene Maloney of Chicago. She had been elected Corresponding Secretary of the National in 1905, and the year Kendall was Official Editor she served as Historian. She had won the story and history laureateships. Upon the death of President Kendall the Executive judges appointed Mrs. Kendall to serve out the balance of his term, and she thus became the second woman to hold the office of President of the Association. She had the confidence and cooperation of the entire membership and conducted the Association's affairs with much skill and success.
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS IN THE ASSOCIATION'S HISTORY
FOR SEVERAL YEARS the Association maintained a rather uneventful existence. Periods of depression alternated with what might be called "boom" times. These latter, true to their nature, were short lived. Much depended upon the vigor, judgment and policy of the leaders. Some very fine journals were issued, some excellent literary work done, and some officials reached a high water mark in results achieved, whereas other neglected, or were compelled to relinquish their duties. Through it all were proved the inherent vitality of the institution and the hold amateur journalism has upon the American youth.
At the Grand Rapids convention which elected Kendall, the Official Editor chosen was Leston M. Ayes, of New Jersey, editor of the Amateur Arena. Ayres had been elected Treasurer the first year of his membership, and had been active in many local and sectional associations. He made a reputation for himself as Official Editor, his volume of 70 pages being exceeded in size up to that time by only a half dozen others, and being noted for its large amount of interesting live news matter. The 1914 convention was held in Bridgeport, Conn., the first, and, with one exception, the only time the Association has met in New England outside of Boston. Ayres was elected President on his record. Hubert A. Reading was chosen Official Editor, but resigned, and Edna Von der Heide was appointed, the third woman to hold this high office.
George J. Houtain of Brooklyn, N. Y., editor of Zenith, was known as the “stormy petrel" of amateur journalism. Energetic, impulsive, full of plans and propositions, eager to win success for friend and object, he had an active career. He acted as Recording Secretary during the famous New York convention of 1902, and his minutes were challenged as being inaccurate. In 1909 he was elected Official Editor, but was removed from office by the President. The next year he was chosen First Vice-President, but resigned almost at once. At the Brooklyn convention in 1916 he was elected President, and at Boston the next year he was re-elected, the first President to serve a second term. It should be said, however, that other Presidents have had that honor tendered them, but have refused to break the precedent set by President Reeve in 1882, who declined re-election, believing fresh view-points necessary every year. President Houtain's administrations were active and lively. He endeavored to carry out an elaborate system of recruiting, meeting some obstacles not of his making, and if his plans did not put the Association very greatly forward, they at least prevented it from going back. Official Editor Von der Heide, appointed in 1914, was elected in 1915 but resigned almost immediately, and Ernest Dench was chosen in her place. At Boston in 1916 Hazel Pratt Adams was chosen Official Editor, the fourth woman to hold this office.
Meeting in New York City in 1917 the Association chose as President Harry E. Martin of Ohio. He had successively published the American Star, the Sprite and the Buckeye. He served the Association well, and was succeeded by Graeme Davis, elected at Chicago in 1918. Davis had received his first printing press at the age of 11 and almost at once he had begun to issue small papers. Later he published El Gasedil, devoted at first to the international language, Esperanto, in which Davis had always been interested, but in 1905 the paper became an all- amateur journal. In 1910 he issued the Lingerer, one number of which contained 50 beautifully printed pages of first-class literary matter. In 1917 he was elected Official Editor, and in addition to the National Amateur he published the National Amateur Review of Reviews as a supplement. President Davis was ordained a priest and served a church in Cleveland, Ohio, and one in Wisconsin, but, his health failing, he returned to his old home in South Dakota. Later he became chaplain and professor of languages at the State University.
When but five years of age W. Paul Cook began to print papers, at first with a pen and then with a rubber stamp. He obtained his first printing press when nine years old, and published a number of small papers, one of them called Tom Thumb. He was 19 when he started one of the famous magazines of amateur journalism called the Monadnock, having for its motto the words: "For Love Only; You Can't Buy It." For size and for excellence of its contents it had few equals. Later he published another magazine called the Vagrant, also noted as one of the finest of journals. In 1918 he was elected Official Editor of the National, and astounded the members by issuing a giant volume of the official organ containing 332 three-column panes of well edited matter. With this record he was unanimously elected President at the Newark convention in 1919.
The 1919 NAPA Convention at Newark
At that convention occurred one of those incidents which illustrate the enthusiasm and enterprise characteristic of the true amateur journalist. John Milton Heins was the son of Ex-President Charles W. Heins. He was 11 years old. On the morning of the convention John, unbeknown to his father, taking the grip he had packed the day before, stole away at daybreak from his home in Ridgefield Park and made his way to Newark, determined not to miss a moment of the anticipated convention joys. Arriving at the Continental Hotel, he asked for a room. The clerk, noting his size and age, exclaimed: "Who? You?" and was about to deny him admission, when the youthful editor took out his money and proudly declared: "I am a delegate to the National Amateur Press Association." The clerk stared in wonder, but alloted him a room. For three days John enjoyed himself every moment, and, returning home, in his paper printed by himself, Arrows, Junior, he gave a remarkably frank and delightful account of the gathering, freely describing persons and incidents as seen through his own clear, bright eyes. He closes his report as follows: "Maybe I didn't sleep when I got home that Sunday, the happiest, but most tired boy in Ridgefield Park." The enterprising boy was elected Second Vice-President by the convention, and performed his duties well.
Working against many obstacles President Cook's administration was one of progress, especially in directing the activities and ambitions of the Association's members into sound channels. He did not believe in indiscriminate recruiting, such as had sometimes been done in the past. Emphasis was placed upon quality rather than numbers. Toward the close of his year he wrote:
There has been no organized recruiting plan, and as far as possible soliciting for new members has been discouraged. The idea has been to bring the Association to the knowledge of large numbers of people by the distribution of amateur literature. Desirable recruits will need no urging to join us once they are aware of our existence. The dollar collected from a recruit who does not possess the amateur spirit is not needed. In other words, the policy of this administration has been "publicity," but not "recruiting."
Anthony F. Moitoret was another boy who evinced a desire to publish a paper at an early age. Printed with a pencil, at different times miniature papers appeared, all named the Boys' Sun. When 16, having bought a press and type, he issued the San Francisco Sun. Soon afterward he was elected President of the Pacific Coast A.P.A. Removing to Ohio he published the Cleveland Sun, specializing in the news of amateur journalism. He was Corresponding Secretary of the National Association in 1909; in 1919 he was elected Official Editor. At Cleveland next year he was promoted to the presidency, being elected over William T. Harrington of Vermillion, S. D., editor of the Coyote, bv a vote of 61 to 27, with eight scattering ballots. Miss Marjorie H. Outwater of Roxbury, Mass., was chosen Official Editor, the fifth woman to hold the office. Her paper the Obo, of odd shape, was judged to be one of the best five journals of the year. President Moitoret devoted most of his time to recruit work, personally bringing in more than 20 new members. The political campaign began early that year, and was fought with great vigor, and much bitterness, not only for the presidency but for a number of minor offices. This was very disturbing to President Moitoret and interfered with the solid work he tried to carry on. Recruits were secured in many cases for the sake of their votes rather than for their value to amateur journalism. Moitoret married Miss Dora M. Hepner of Columbus, Ohio, an amateur journalist of note, who had been President of the United Amateur Press Association. Moving to Oakland, Cal., Moitoret again revived the name he used when a lad of seven, and issued the Oakland Sun. His four children have carried on his love for amateur journalistic endeavor, have published papers of their own, and have been members of the National's official board.
Elsie Dorothy Grant, a native of Greenwood, Mass., entered amateur journalism when 17 years of age. She became prominent in the affairs of the local Boston organization, the famous Hub Amateur journalists Club, and was for a time Editor of its official organ the Quill. She edited the National Tribute, and won the editorial laureateship in 1922. The contest for presidential honors at the Boston convention of 1921 was between her and Miss Edna Hyde of New York, editor of Inspiration, a talented author, who had won the poet laureateship in 1919, and in the judge's opinion would have won it again in 1920 but for the constitutional provision that no person could hold the title two successive years. Miss Hyde, formerly known as Miss Von der Heide, was Official Editor in 1914. After a keenly fought campaign Miss Hyde was defeated. The new President, the third woman to hold the office and the second to be elected to the position, soon after her election, on August 31, married George J. Houtain, who a few years before had served two terms as President. Her administration was a rather stormy one, but on the whole successful, and at its close she was presented with a loving cup in recognition of her work. One of her difficulties was over the official organ. Young John Heins, as we have seen, was elected Second Vice-President at Newark. He was made First Vice-President the next year at Cleveland. He did well in office, and at Boston he was elected Official Editor. Thirteen years old, he was by far the youngest amateur ever to hold the office. He started out well and showed much ability in the editorial chair, but he was a boy, and evidently wanted to have his own way. He became involved in a controversy with the President, was threatened with removal, and resigned after issuing two numbers of the National Amateur. William Dowdell of Cleveland, Ohio, was appointed in his place.
Dowdell, enterprising, enthusiastic, was the only candidate for the presidency. He stepped from the Official Editor's desk to the presidential chair, receiving all the proxy votes but seven, and 66 of the 81 total votes. Much was expected of the new President, but changes in his business life interfered, and he resigned in November. The Executive judges appointed Howard P. Lovecraft of Providence, R. I., editor of the Conservative, in his place. President Lovecraft, excelled by no President in intellectual power, laid great stress upon the literary side of amateur journalism and sought diligently to arouse a spirit of honest, intelligent criticism of the work of author and editor. In this he was greatly aided by Ex-President Cole, a member of the Bureau of Critics. Recruiting was not largely carried on, but the general tone of the whole institution was changed for the better. President Lovecraft's position is well realized by the perusal of this extract from his farewell message:
Our primary purpose, if we are to claim a place of unique merit in the world, must be to promote artistic self-expression for its own sake. I believe every effort should be made to keep the National to its proper goal of aesthetic and intellectual encouragement.
Ex-President Harry E. Martin served as Official Editor during the year. Hazel Pratt Adams, who edited an excellent volume of the National Amateur in 1916, was the fourth woman to serve as President, being elected at Cleveland in 1923 by an almost unanimous vote, lacking one proxy ballot. She was editor at various times of the Brooklynite, the National Cooperative, the Hazel Nut and other publications. President Adams labored under serious difficulties, personal and otherwise. Throughout her entire term illness in her family added to her burdens. But she set an excellent example of activity by publishing 15 papers, and although the institution was entering upon one of its periodical times of depression, she maintained the high standard of work established by her predecessor.
Clyde G. Townsend, of Pontiac, Mich., editor of the Oracle, was Official Editor in 1923-4; at the Boston convention in 1924 he was advanced to the presidency. He struggled hard against the adverse tides of inactivity and general lack of interest. At the Detroit convention in 1925 he stood for re-election. Opposed to him was the Official Editor, Harry R. Marlowe, of Warren, Ohio, editor of the Searchlight. The election was one of the closest and most stubbornly fought contests in the history of the Association. Marlowe had 26 proxy votes and Townsend 20, with 5 for Ex-President Cook. The first ballot gave Marlowe one more vote than Townsend, but not a majority. On the second ballot Townsend received the entire vote of the members present and had now one more vote than Marlowe, but no majority. On the third ballot, the candidate receiving the least number of
proxy votes having been dropped according to the constitution, Townsend received
27 votes to Marlowe's 26, and was elected. The year that followed was one of
intensest bitterness, personal hostility and ill-will. Cries of fraud in the close
election were raised, some proxy votes that had arrived late not having been
counted, and several applicants for membership being refused admission. It should
be recorded here that an investigating committee, composed of three former
Presidents, Cole, Moitoret and Adams, reported that the proposed members were
rightly excluded, that no intentional dishonesty had been proved, and that there
was no authentic evidence that President Townsend was not duly elected.
The year 1926 marked the semi-centennial of the National Association's organization, and great preparations were made to celebrate the anniversary at the convention at Philadelphia. On July 3, the first day of the convention, The Fossils commemorated the survivors of those who founded the N.A.P.A. in 1876, by a dinner at the Poor Richard Club, attended by 40 amateur journalists of olden time, including ten of those who had attended the Centennial convention. These ten survivors were: James M. Beck, J. Edson Briggs, James F. Duhamel, J. Austin Fynes, Charles C. Heuman, John Hosey, James D. Lee, Evan R. Riale, Robert W. Smiley and Will W. Winslow. Mr. Riale, who was the first to propose the organization, presided as toastmaster, and James M. Beck made the principal oration.
The N.A.P.A. convention met in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, named in honor of the patron saint of the printers, and was called to order by President Townsend, the third successive convention he had presided over. The attendance was one of the largest the Association has enjoyed. Addresses of welcome were made by five of the delegates to the 1876 convention, 50 years before.
Anne Kuliquc Kramer, of Massachusetts, a poet and essayist, had been elected
Official Editor at Detroit in 1925, had edited an excellent volume of the National
Amateur. At Philadelphia she seemed to be the common candidate for the presidency, receiving 58 votes, with It scattering proxy ballots. Jacob J. Moidel, of Warren, Ohio, editor of Justice, was chosen Official Editor. President Kramer carried on the policy of Presidents Cook and Lovecraft, paying more attention to suitability of prospective members than to their number. She also tried in every way to introduce an era of good feeling, when all bitterness and animosity should cease, and all should work together in a common loyalty and love for the Association. This feeling largely prevailed at the convention in Warren, Ohio, in 1927, when Moidel was promoted from the official editorship to the presidency, receiving 76 votes to 18 for Miss Caddie M. Whitsitt. His vote was the largest received by any candidate up to that time. The campaign had been a warm one, but after the election harmony seemed to reign. Miss Whitsitt, a poet from Auburndale, N. Y., was elected Secretary, and William T. Harrington, editor of the Coyote, of South Dakota, Official Editor.
Niagara Falls was chosen for the convention seat in 1928. The result showed the mistake of meeting in a city, however great its natural attractions, which had no resident amateur journalists. Only four delegates attended. The proxy vote was large, however, and Vincent B. Haggerty, of Jersey City, N. J., editor of Leisure Hours, was elected President by a vote of 59 to 6. The banquet was at the Clifton Hotel, on the Canadian side, and a brief session was held there, the only time a session of the Association has been held outside of the United States. The next year's history shows what an energetic and able President, devoting himself whole-heartedly to the work, can accomplish. More papers were issued than in any of the immediately preceding years, and greater regularity of many journals was maintained. The officers elected at Niagara Falls all served, except Damon S. Stanford, of Vermont, who felt unable to accept the official editorship. Edward J. Hollahan, of Brooklyn, was appointed in his place.
The 1929 convention met in Paterson, N. J. President Haggerty could have been re-elected, had he so chosen, as he had a majority of the proxy ballots, but he withdrew his name, and Harry R. Marlowe, who had been Official Editor in 1924-5, was chosen President, with Helm C. Spink, of Washington, Ind., editor of the Hoosier Amateur, Official Editor. A feature of the convention was the radio broadcast over Station WODA by Ex-President James F. Morton. A special exhibit of amateur papers and books at the Paterson City Museum attracted much public attention. Next year the Association met in Boston for the tenth time. In the absence of the President it was called to order by Laura A. Sawyer, widely known as "Mrs. Dooley," one of the few genuine humorists amateur journalism has known. By vote Ex-President James F. Morton presided throughout the session. The Association was addressed by an honorary guest, Miss Marshall Saunders of Toronto, author of Beautiful Joe, the Humane Society prize book, of which one and a half million copies have been sold. Victor E. Bacon, of St. Louis, editor of Bacon's Essays, was elected President, and Helm C. Spink was re-elected Official Editor by a practically unanimous vote. The constitution was amended so that the size of the official organ was changed from that in use almost constantly for over 50 years, 9 x 13 inches, with three columns, to the so-called Century size, 7 x 10, with two columns to a page. Such it has remained. At Boston the members organized an Alumni Association of Amateur Journalism, the purpose of which is to band together the ex-members of the National in an association where they can keep up their interest and can receive the official organ without being active. I,ouis C. Wills, brother of Ex-President Anthony Wills, was elected President, and Edwin Hadley Smith, Secretary.
President Bacon, for various reasons, was not able to give a large amount of attention to amateur affairs, but the enthusiasm and vigor engendered by the Boston convention and the industrious efforts of those charged with recruiting campaigns, together with the excellent official organ issued by Spink, made the year memorable. Over 50 new members were added, the largest number admitted in any recent ycar, and the finances were placed upon a substantial basis. A mailing bureau was organized by which papers could be mailed in one bundle, thus saving much expense to the several editors. The St. Louis convention of 1931 was an efficient one, going about its business seriously and with business-like dispatch. Earle C. Kelley, of Burlington, Vt., editor of Ripples From Lake Champlain, was elected President by a vote of 61 to 15 scattering. George A. Thomson, of Fairhaven, Mass., editor of the Bay State Advocate, received all but seven of the 70 proxy votes and all of the convention votes for Official Editor. The Association met in 1932 for the second time in New England outside of Boston, and the meeting at Montpelier, Vt., was largely attended. Official Editor Thomson had so capably performed his duties that he was elected President by a nearly unanimous vote. The members were saddened by the death of Ex-President Kelley on July 11, just one week after he had presided over the Montpelier convention. He had, in the meantime, issued a paper called the Interim, telling of the events of the gathering.
The 1933 convention in New York was one of the most largely attended in the Association's history. On the eve of the assembly a reception was given by 60 amateurs to Willard O. Wylie upon the 50th anniversary of his term as President. Three other delegates to the 1883 convention were present, Homer M. Green, M. F. Boechat and Joseph Dana Miller. Harold Segal, of Philadelphia, 17 years old, editor of the Sea Gull, had made such a fine record as Official Editor during the year that he was a strong candidate for the presidency. Many, however, were in favor of honoring Edwin Hadley Smith for his long years of activity in various fields. He positively declined to accept when nominated at the convention, but he was nevertheless elected by a vote of 59 to 31 for Segal. His name was thus added to the list of Presidents, but next day he resigned the office, and the convention unanimously elected Segal in his place.
At Chicago in 1934 the younger element were in control and elected as President the impulsive, energetic, aggressive Ralph W. Babcock, Jr., of Great Neck, N. Y., editor of the Scarlet Cockerel. It was printed by the editor, and some of its later issues were among the finest examples of amateur printing ever sent out by an amateur journalist. His administration, a tempestuous one, was filled with excitement. Elected to the highest office without experience in the minor offices, he broke all precedents. Impatient of results, he paid little attention to personal feelings or constitutional law. Disagreements with his fellow officers, demands for resignations, heated arguments, were common. He removed the Secretary and combined the office with that of Treasurer. He himself at one time resigned, and then withdrew his resignation. Chester P. Bradley, of Eaton Rapids, Mich., editor of the literary magazine called the Perspective Review, had been elected Official Editor, and filled the office creditably, but he was continually in hot water with the President and offered his resignation, which was not accepted. At one time President Babcock announced that he was a candidate for re-election, and at another that he would never accept another office in the Association. Finally he became a candidate for Official Editor. His administration was lively; the members were not allowed to sleep.
The 60th convention of the Association, held at Oakland, Cal., in 1935, was the most successful of any held on the Pacific Coast. The attendance was good, and the general arrangements and program were very attractive and well carried out. There were two candidates for the presidency. The most prominent was Hyman Bradofsky, of Pomona, editor of the Californian, one of the largest of all amateur journals. Helm Spink, twice Official Editor in 1929-31, was also named, but he sent a letter which was read to the convention withdrawing his name. The convention vote was thereupon cast unanimously for Bradofsky, who received in all 99 votes. There were 20 proxy ballots for Spink, and one for Bradley, the Official Editor, the total vote of 120 being among the largest ever cast at an amateur convention.
President Babcock had finally decided to become a candidate for Official Editor. There were two other principal candidates, O. W. Hinrichs, of Arapahoe, Neb., editor of an attractive little magazine called the Goldenrod, and Margaret N. Martin, of Jackson, Mich., a poet and literary critic. Three ballots were necessary for an election, the first giving Hinrichs 48, Babcock 43, Mrs. Martin 19, with 10 scattering. The second ballot gave Hinrichs 48, Babcock 43 and Mrs. Martin 18. On the third ballot, proxy votes being dropped except those for the two leading candidates, Babcock gained one, but Hinrichs was elected by a majority of one. It should be recorded here that Hinrichs promptly started to put a National Amateur to press, but the sudden rising of the Republican River, causing the most disastrous flood known in the region, costing a hundred lives and millions of dollars in property, so interfered that the issue was delayed, and the editor could not even telegraph the facts of the situation. President Bradofsky, impatient over the non-appearance of the official organ, removed Hinrichs from office, and appointed Helm Spink once more as Editor. Mr. Hinrichs shortly afterward sent out the September National Amateur, but Spink finished the year.
A feature of the Oakland convention was the daily publication of the Oakland Sun by Ex-President Moitoret and his two sons, presenting the news of each day, with comments upon the proceedings.
President Bradofsky gave a very active and progressive administration, emphasizing particularly the literary side of the institution. One hundred and twelve new members were added. The President set a fine example of literary encouragement by publishing his quarterly Californian, containing 43, 107, 104 and 94 pages in its several issues. The Californian undoubtedly holds the record for number of pages in an amateur journal, totaling during its publication over 1,000, many printed in color.
The 1936 convention at Grand Rapids, Mich., was very successful, having 63 delegates from 13 States. The candidates for President were Mrs. Martin and Mr. Spink, the former being elected by a vote of 69 to 28, with 10 scattering. There were five candidates for Official Editor. Friends of Hinrichs, mindful of the excellent issue of the organ he had sent out, wished to give him a chance to serve an entire term. He carried nearly half of the convention vote against President Bradofsky, who sought the editorship. Ex-President Babcock was also a candidate, and Spink and George W. Trainer had support. But Bradofsky, receiving 56 votes, was elected by the precise number necessary for a choice. He resigned almost immediately after the convention, when he found he was limited by constitutional decree in the number of pages he could give to the organ. Former Editor Townsend, twice President of the Association was appointed in his place.
Following the example of the Oakland Sun at the preceding convention, Ex-President Babcock with Roble Macauley, editor of Pine Needles, Segal, Spink and others as assistants, issued from Macauley's print shop a daily issue of the Wolverine, printed at night and delivered to the delegates at the opening of the morning sessions. The news was up-to-the-minute and was written in breezy style.
One of the memorable features of the Grand Rapids convention was the dedication of Presidents' Field. George W. Macauley, editor of a prominent journal entitled O-Wash-Ta-Nong, had set apart six acres on the Macauley ranch at Pine Springs for the purpose. Here he had planted a pine tree for each of the Presidents of the National Association, agreeing to replace any loss, and to add a tree for each new President as elected. Each tree is marked with the name of the President whom it honors. The trees as a whole are so planted that they form the letters "N.A.P.A." At the entrance a marker in natural stone bears the words: A pine tree is here planted in honor of each President of the National Amateur Press Association. Founded Philadelphia, July 4, 1876. Dedicated July 3, 1936.
Willard 0. Wylie, the oldest living Ex-President, made the dedication speech, drawing tears to the eyes of many by his tribute to departed executives. President Bradofsky responded for the Association. Two of the Ex-Presidents had died during the year just one day apart, William R. Murphy and Edwin B. Swift. Gathering around the trees marked with their names Mr. Wylie spoke in memory of Dr. Swift, and Edwin Hadley Smith in tribute to Mr. Murphy.
Meeting again in Boston in 1937 the Association enjoyed a convention devoted to earnest and constructive work. For President, George W. Macauley received the unanimous vote of the convention, 60 votes in all, Mr. Spink receiving 16 proxy ballots. A feature of the convention was the broadcast over WEEI, arranged by Burton Crane, and participated in by many prominent amateurs. An unusual number of former Presidents, 13, were present at the annual banquet, although the younger element was very much in evidence.
Mrs. Felicitas C. Haggerty, wife of Ex-President Haggerty, was elected Secretary at Boston, and made a remarkable record in the office, having detailed reports in each issue of the official organ and presenting a printed yearly report of 44 pages. She was nominated for President and at the 1938 convention in Cincinnati she received 78 proxy votes, with 12 scattering, and the unanimous vote of the convention, the sixth woman to be President of the Association. Miss Elaine Jorgensen, of Salt Lake City, editor of a beautifully printed little journal called Inklings -- her own handiwork -- had been an unsuccessful candidate for Official Editor at Boston, but at Cincinnati she received 101 votes for the office, with only four scattering votes against her. The literary features of this convention made ii one of unusual interest.
Miss Jorgensen made so good a record as Official Editor that at Berkeley Cal., in 1939, the Association followed one woman President with another by electing her to the executive office by a vote of 57 to 20 scattering ballots. Ex-President Babcock, who for years had cherished a strong ambition to be Official Editor, but had been defeated at the Oakland convention in 1935 by one vote was given the office at Berkeley by one majority. He was also awarded the George W. Thomson Cup for the best amateur printing of the year.
Babcock issued a National Amateur in December, three months late, and then was not heard from until the following May. During this silent period President Jorgensen seemed oblivious to the duties of her office. All this resulted in a period of depression in amateur affairs. In May, however, Babcock came to life and issued two numbers of the official organ. Miss Jorgensen, also, edited several issues of her sprightly paper, Inklings, but they were delayed in being mailed, and the effect of much of her efforts was lost during her administration.
Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Association, was chosen for its 65th annual convention in 1940. The attendance was large, and the delegates, while enjoying all the social delights of the gathering, were in a serious mood during business sessions with a firm determination to elect an active, industrious board of officers and to give the Association a renewed season of prosperity. This purpose was successfully carried out. Robert Telschow, of Hawthorne, N. J., editor of an excellent little magazine known as Reverie, was chosen President, and George W. Trainer, of Brooklyn, N. Y., editor of the newsy Sun, Official Editor. In many respects this convention was one of the best in its history, and inspired bright hopes for the future of amateur journalism.
With this gathering, in the city where in 1876 the National Association was organized, this account of its varied history comes to a close. Its future seems bright.