Amateur Editors Lyceum, 1878


THE FIRST organization to be a direct competitor of the NAPA was the Amateur Editors Lyceum founded in 1878. The idea originated with Thomas G. Harrison of Indianapolis, who in his paper, the Visitor, suggested the formation of an association of active editors, its membership being confined to those who edited amateur journals, as the name implies. The idea was much discussed in the amateur press, and was generally favorably received, although there were some dissenters who claimed that such a society would injure the National A.P.A. Harrison corresponded with a number of editors upon the subject. One whom he especially interested was Arthur J. Huss, of Tiffin, Ohio, then publishing the Buckeye Boy, later editor of the famous Stylus. Huss and Harrison compiled a constitution and by-laws, and decided that the primal purpose of the organization should be to prevent early electioneering for office. The coming meeting of the N.A.P.A. in Chicago was agreed upon as the fitting time to launch the new organization.


On July 17, after the National’s banquet, a group of amateur editors met in the room of Joseph P. Clossey, editor of Our Free Lance. Harrison called the meeting to order, and was chosen temporary Chairman, appointing Arthur Huss as Secretary. Twenty-eight active editors, joined and paid dues. Huss read the prepared constitution, which was adopted. Clossey was unanimously chosen Presi­dent; George W. Hancock, of Chicago, editor of Club, was made First Vice-President, and Frank M. Morris, of Indianapolis, editor of Aldine, Second Vice President. Huss and Morris had been elected Vice-Presidents of the National A.P.A. the preceding afternoon.


Huss contributed to the first issue of the National Amateur an article upon “Early Campaigning,” in which he quoted this section of the Lyceum’s by-laws:


Knowing as the society does that much of the ill-feeling in amateurdom is caused by political differences, it prohibits members from nominating officers in their papers, circulating printed papers or tickets appertaining to the nomination of officers, more than one month in advance of election. A violation of this law will be treated with severe fines, suspension, or expulsion.


“This law,” Huss added, “the Lyceum intends to enforce. It has under its control about 25 papers, and next year these journals, instead of indulging in slanderous and bitter abuse of every candidate for office they oppose, will maintain silence, and on their part no enmities and no ill-feelings will be engendered because of campaign slander.” And Huss called upon all N.A.P.A. members not members of the Lyceum to recognize the wisdom of this law and act accordingly.


But most of the Lyceum’s officers became inactive, and Morris assumed the presidency, appointing Charles H. Young, of New York, editor of Our Own Journal, Vice-President, and Will W. Winslow, of Punxsutawney, Pa., editor of the Amateur Herald, Secretary and Treasurer. Following the meeting of the National A.P.A. at Washington in 1879, the Lyceum met and elected Winslow President, Frank N. Reeve (two years later President of the N.A.P.A.) Vice-President, and Charles S. Elgutter, of Omaha, editor of Excelsior, Secretary and Treasurer. But little was heard of the Lyceum afterwards.


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