Much has been said about the early days of Jaycees. Names such as Henry Giessenbier, Jr., Andrew Mungenast and John Armbruster are justly credited for the bold initiatives that started the Jaycees movement. Still, had it not been for one other man in particular, Jaycees would still be a dance club, if anything.
During the 1920s, young men had little credibility because of their inexperience in the business world and in social circles. There were virtually no organizations for young adults when Henry “Hy” Giessenbier originated his idea of an organization for young men.
With these difficulties facing “Hy” and his small group, it was important to have someone to provide a sustaining force to keep their idea alive and growing.
Clarence “Daddy” Howard was an imposing figure in St. Louis. He discouraged smoking, drinking and gambling and he had stern concepts of Americanism and morality.
Clarence H. “Daddy” Howard was a man of vision, principle and firm resolve. Like any father, he spent considerable time, money and influence to ensure that the young organization “under his wing” would get a firm footing to stand and face society with its challenge, “Young men can change the world!”
Howard renowned industrialist, was the owner and president of Commonwealth Steel in St. Louis Missouri. The company fabricated major equipment vital to the rail industry of the day. Significantly, the company was sold for approximately $35 million in the depression era of 1930.
Howard was a visionary who was deeply motivated by the betterment of ambitious young people. He fostered and supported generously the concept and the organization of private, religious higher education: the Boy Scouts of America and the forerunner of today’s Jaycees. Howard’s primary adopted cause was the Boy Scout movement, which he showered with several hundred thousand dollars and devoted attention.
Howard visualized a natural progression for America’s future leaders and citizens from the Boy Scouts through the Jaycees to the Chamber of Commerce. No official alliance ever materialized between the Boy Scouts and the jaycees.
There were three major influences that made Clarence Howard the man he was. His background as a Christian Scientist, together with wise advise form his mother, helped to shape his life and directions. One incident in particular is viewed as the major turning point in Howard’s life, and the one that shaped his penchant for youth.
While working as a fourteen-year-old apprentice in the railroad yards in North Platte Nebraska, Howard asked an older employee to explain how one of the big engines worked.
The man’s reply was, “Kid, it cost me a lot of money to learn that. If you pay me, I will tell you all about it. But, no pay – no information.
This incident became ingrained in Howard’s conscience and sense of fair play. It lit the fuse of his deep-seated commitment to one day provide on-the-job training for ambitious young men. That resolve never waned.
Howard also had a strong paternalistic streak that carried over into most of his activities.
Howard’s 1916 inaugural address as the president of the Business Men’s League of St. Louis highlighted the need for a young men’s group. After these comments, Giessenbier and Mungenast told Howard about their group and its goals. Howard readily offered his assistance.
During this critical early period, Howard was continually involved. He offered the auditorium on his home grounds for a meeting place; arranged for the beautiful David R. Francis mansion and the Memorial Art Museum for headquarters; and generally exerted favorable influence on behalf of the bold, new organization and its leaders.
His extensive philanthropies and capable leadership of Commonwealth Steel had earned him the position of director for the national Chamber of Commerce. It was a position he would use on behalf of the young men’s group. This lead to the eventual name change of the fledgling organization to The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Because of the difficulties in securing funding to support the organization, Andrew Mungenast, in his role as secretary of the group, would often approach Howard for assistance.
Clarence H. “Daddy” Howard being the individual he was, was always willing to help out. frequently, he would purchase a full-page advertisement in the organization’s first publication, entitled Expansion. However, instead of touting his own company, Howard would often use the space for messages about the benefits of virtuous living. He seemingly always was just around the corner as the sp ritual and financial “angel” of the movement.
“Daddy” Howard’s generosity, sense of fair play and strong conviction to live by the “Golden Rule” led to his development and implementation of “the Fellowship Plan” – a progressive set of fair employment practices he established for Commonwealth Steel.
Mrs. Minne Morey Howard saw the passing of her husband of some 47 years in 1931, when he was 68 year sold. His “paternity” extended beyond his family. It survived him in several organizations that today are dedicated as he was to the development of young people.
“DADDY” WAS AN ANGEL!
Clarence Howard (1863-1931) is without a doubt the most famous and powerful man that has ever become deeply inv loved in the Junior Chamber movement.
In retrospect there is no doubting the great assistance the president of Commonwealth Steel (later to be known as General Steel Castings and eventually renamed General Steel Industries) provided, especially from 1916 until the mid 20’s.
To use a Broadway term, Howard was the “Angel” of the Junior Chamber in its struggling years. When a financial boost was needed, we he would usually come thorough with a grant. More important, he lent his great prestige as an industrialist to the organization. His influence is the main factor responsible for early encouragement by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
In considering Howard’s participation in the jaycee movement, it must be remembered that it was not by any means the only organization or cause in which he was interested. Giessenbier, for all his other activities, was essentially concerned with the Junior Chamber but Howard was also a benefactor and member of the board of Trustees of Principia, a privately endowed school for the education of Christian Scientists and a backer of the Boy Scouts of America. He had many other pet projects and his total; contribution to the Jaycees, from a dollar and cents viewpoint, was small compared to some of his gifts for other purposes.
Based upon his own deep convictions and Christian Science doctrine, Howard also had stern concepts of Americanism and morality. A staunch conservative in some fields, he was progressive in other areas such as labor relations and the place of young men in civic life.
The popular nickname used for Howard by Jaycees was “Daddy” and this was an appropriate label for the St. Louis industrialist had a paternalistic streak which carried over into most of his activities.
As an example, Howard, a non-smoker and teetotaler, exerted pressure through the years to discourage smoking and drinking at Junior Chamber affairs! On more than one occasion, he indicated his disapproval of picture showing Jaycees involved in beer drinking or other such activities and at the 1927 convention in Jacksonville, Florida, Mrs. Howard even tried to ramrod through a resolution banning smoking at all sessions!
As mentioned, Howard was elected president of the Business men’s league of St. Louis in 1916 and in his inaugural speech pointed out the need for a young men’s group. henry-giessenbier and Andy Mungenast told him about the YMPCA and he offered his assistance. This resulted in the Memorial Arts Museum and the David R. Francis Home being secured as headquarters in 1916 and 1920 respectively.
During the period when the St. Louis boys were molding their organization, Howard was continually on the scene. He offered the auditorium on his home grounds as a meeting place, frequently appeared as a speaker and exerted favorable influence in the community on behalf of the Jaycees. He also fostered the nationalization of the movement and as a national Chamber of Commerce Director, helped obtain the Chamber of Commerce endorsement which was upcoming in April of 1920, just before the first convention.
Through the 1920’s, Howard maintained interest in the organization and an annual $1,000 from “Daddy” (approximately $12,000 in 2012 dollars) was almost a sure item of income. Frequently after the the founding of the first national magazine, EXPANSION, in 1925, Howard would purchase advertisements. Rather than plugging Commonwealth Steel, he would issue some message regarding morals or conduct.
Since he was vitally interested in the Boy Scouts, it was only natural that Howard should think of that a group as a logical predecessor to the Junior Chamber. He conceived of a logical plan whereby boys would move from the Scouts into the Junior Chamber and then into the Chamber of Commerce. Since the minimum age for Jaycees was 18 for many years, this process was theoretically possible though there is no indication it was ever widespread.
Although sharing headquarters with the Boys Scouts in both the Art Museum and Francis Home, there was never any official connection between the St. Louis Chamber and the Boy Scouts. There has also never been any affiliation between the USJCC and the Scouting movement, although Jaycee chapters have and still do serve in roles such as troop sponsors and Scoutmasters.
The later stages of Howard’s life, like Giessenbier’s was marred by a court trial in which Commonwealth employee, Andrew F. Howe, was awarded judgment against the firm on the basis of a claim that he had not been justly remembered for his patent rights which were the basis of much of the corporation’s business.
Commonwealth Steel’s products were large castings and Howe’s patents were important to their manufacture. The company remained for years the chief producer of frames for railroad cars. Since he had earned a reputation for enlightened labor relations policies, fine working conditions, training courses and other management innovations far ahead of his time, the awarding judgments against Howard and Commonwealth was particularly embarrassing to Howard.
The primary question of law to be determined was whether or not Howard was required to reimburse an employee for inventions developed on company time. It was finally decided that inventions, in Howe’s case, constituted work beyond the call of duty and this demanded payment. A large settlement was made.
The matter came up in 1930 following the sale of Commonwealth Steel to General Steel Castings Corporation for approximately $35,000,000 (close to 350,000,000 in 2012 dollars).
Jaycees close to Howard at the time all agree that the Howe case hurt him deeply and cut down his interest in outside activities. Since Howard was a man whose entire life was based on the “Golden Rule” and a set of precepts handed down by his mother, this is understandable.
He had received much favorable publicity in his lifetime for good works and then in the twilight days a legal matter endangered the respect that he was accorded. Critics of Howard took advantage of the Howe case to poke fun at his honest attempts at improving labor relations and claimed that while he said one thing, he would still deprive a worker of money due him.
Today the record of Clarence Howard remains clear, despite the Howe misunderstanding.
A complete biography of Clarence H. Howard, covering the years 1863-1929, is available. Written by Charles Albert Field Gilmore, it is entitled “Fellowship” the Biography of a Man and a Business. It has been found on WorldCat. Select “Books” then enter in the search box: Fellowship a Biography of a Man and a Business. A complete copy can be viewed but readers must register with Worldcat. There is no cost to register or read the document. Select the 2nd item on the list it is an an eBook version and click on the Hathi Trust Digital Library link. The section relevant to the Junior Chamber begins on page 172.
The term “Fellowship” is important in Howard’s life. His labor relations plan was designated the “Fellowship Plan” and “Fellowship clubs operated within his company.
Howard supposedly became interested in enlightened relations with employees as the result of an experience while still a youthful 14-year-old apprentice in the Union Pacific Railroad Shop in North Platte, Nebraska.
Spotting an older employee working on a locomotive Howard asked him to explain the working of the big engine.
“Kid” the man replied, “It cost me a lot of money to learn that. If you pay me, I will tel you about it, but no pay , no information.”
Howard earning less than $25 a month at the time had to go without the information but resolved if he ever had a business of his own to see than ambitious young men would receive on-the-job training.
The story of Clarence Howard’s participation in the Junior Chamber movement has already been mentioned in detail but it is also worth noting he employed a number of top Jaycees in the early years.
These included Harry Kruz, to become the first full-time paid executive secretary in 1928 and Ray Wilber the USJCC 3rd president. Even in those days, progressive firms saw the value of employing young leaders and allowing them necessary time for civic work. This of course is the basis of the concept perpetuated for years … Leadership training through community involvement.
Clarence H. Howard Obituaries
The story of Howard’s life and his beliefs helps clarify the positions held by the first honorary member of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. This title was conferred in 1922 at the third convention in Indianapolis. Biographical data is summarized in Howard’s obituary taken form the St. Louis Globe Democrat, December 2, 1931 with one section extracted form the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Clarence H. Howard, former president of the Commonwealth Steel Company, Philanthropist and Boy Scout sponsor died at the Christian Science Sanitarium at Boston, Massachusetts, yesterday, following an illness of several months, according to dispatches received here. Mr. Howard was 68 year sold. (Note: he was survived by his wife, Minne and a son Clarence, Jr.)
Mr. Howard rose form machinists helper to be one of the great figures in the steel industry in America. For more than 20 years he headed the Commonwealth Steel Company of Granite City, Illinois (just across the river form St. Louis), retiring last April, two years after the company merged with the General Steel Casting Corporation of Philadelphia and adopted the name of the firm with which it merged.
Under Mr. Howard’s management, the company had grown to be one of the most prosperous firms in the country and had become perhaps the leading manufacturer of cast-steel locomotive beds.
Mr. Howard’s labor policies and his wide philanthropies brought him even greater fame than his business achievements. He was a strong exponent of the golden rule system in industry and fathered many projects for the welfare of his employees and to give them a larger share in the profits of the industry for which they labored.
He was one of the leading members of the Christian Science Church in America and his religious benefactors were extensive. Always interested in young people, he was perhaps the largest benefactor of the Boy Scout movement in St. Louis, was president of the St. Louis Boy Scout Council, a position he had held for several years and was a member of the Executive Board of the national Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
In recent years, he was particularly interested in the “Cub Scout” movement and organization for boys 9 to 12 years old. Only last week he gave $10,000 (roughly $100,000 in 2012 dollars) to this movement but no mention of this gift was made to newspapers and it did not become known until his death yesterday. He is reported to have given more than $30,000 (roughly $300,000 in 2012 dollars) to the Cub Scouts in 1930 and 31.
Mr. Howard was the son of a master mechanic for the Union Pacific Railroad and was reared in Grand Island, Nebraska then in the midst of Indian country.
When he was 14-years-old, Howard left home and became a machinists helper in the railroad shops in North Platte, Nebraska.
Mr. Howard frequently attributed his later success to advice given by his mother when he left home.
“First, seek good company,” she told him. “Second, never drink.” “Third, never gamble.” “Fourth, smoking is not so bad, but it is expensive and if you use what money you would ordinarily spend on tobacco towards getting an education, it will prove more beneficial to you.” “Fifth, if you are asked to go anywhere, ask yourself if you would be willing to take your mother with you and if not don’t go!”
“These admonitions,” he related, “were the guiding influence of my life.
It was in his first job also that the seeds of the golden rule were planted. He asked a mechanic to explain how steam form the boiler was applied as motive power to the locomotive. The mechanic replied that it had cost him money to learn that and unless Mr. Howard would pay him, he would not explain. Mr, Howard’s earnings were too small to permit such an expenditure and he had to put aside his desire to increase his knowledge.
“But I resolved then,” Mr. Howard said, “If it was ever in my power to give information, I would do so.”
The result of the resolution was the establishment in 1906 by Commonwealth Steel of a school for apprentices and employees, the scope of which was gradually broadened to cover a high school course in technical subjects.
He explained his golden rule theory in this manner:
“We try to make fellowship a living vital force. This broadens our views, increases our abilities and unifies our character.”
Mr. Howard was born in Centrailia, Illinois, February 22, 1863 sharing a birth date with the country’s founding president. After leaving the North Platte shop he came to St. Louis where he was graduated in 1885 from the Manual training School at Washington University with highest honors. He married Miss Minnie Morey of Denver, Colorado on February 22, 1884.
Mr. Howard played an active role in the civic life of St. Louis. He was president of the St. Louis Business Men’s League when it became the Chamber of Commerce. He organized the Junior Chamber of Citizens, which became the Junior of Commerce, and at one time, was honorary president of both the St. Louis and the National Chamber of Commerce.
(Editor’s note: The above paragraph contains incorrect information. Howard suggested the name change of the YMPCA to Junior Citizens. He did not organize either the YMPCA or the Junior Citizens.)
(The next 5 paragraphs are from the St. Louis Post Dispatch of the same date:)
In the fall of 1914, when war orders form the Allied nations began to enrich American steel and chemical manufacturers, Mr. Howard announced the rejection of a $2,000,000 (roughly $20,000,000 in 2012 dollars) order for shrapnel which was offered to Commonwealth.
Business associates argued with him saying that the war orders would help keep American workers employed and that the munitions were for use not in aggressive warfare but in defending France and Belgium against invasion and that a speedy conclusion of the war would save lives.
“Would it be a laudable thing?” Mr. Howard asked in reply, “To make steel and send it abroad so that men might murder each other with it? I shall not permit my company to manufacture a dollar’s worth of steel to be used for the destruction of human life. The war is a shame to Christendom. As a Christian, I cannot be live in anything that abets war.”
He was able through his control over a majority of the company’s stocks to enforce his policy in which some of his stockholders did not concur.
After the United States entered the war, Mr. Howard joined in the Liberty Bond campaign and other war activities. “Our President,” he said, “has put the war on so high a plane that everyone can vigorously and conscientiously support it. The war, owing to President Wilson’s clear statement of our aims, has become a distinct issue between light and darkness, between democracy and autocracy. The admonition to “love your enemies” can be obeyed, for we are helping to free our so-called enemies form the bondage which also menaces ourselves.”
(The remaining excerpts are form the St. Louis Globe Democrat🙂
He served a term as Police Commissioner under former Governor Arthur Hyde and in resigning to leave Governor Samuel Baker, Hyde’s successor, unhampered in making new appointments, protested his hands as a commissioner had been tied and his constructive suggestions, notably the application of the golden rule to police administration, had been misunderstood and sidetracked.
Mr. Howard’s benefaction embraced such a wide field and so many of them were given under a stipulation of secrecy as to the donor and their full extent is unknown.
His gifts to the Principia College were numerous, among them being $200,000 (approximately $2,000,000 in 2012 dollars) last January for purchase of lands for the Principia’s senior college on the river bluffs north of Alton, Illinois. An official of the local Boy Scout Council estimated Mr. Howard’s donation at several hundred thousand dollars to support the Scout movement. (Roughly several million dollars in 2012 dollars).
A gift of $25,000 (about $250,000 in 2012 dollars) was announced in November of 1930 and was followed a month later by a $10,000 (about $100,000 in 2012 dollars) gift to the Cub Scout movement. He was elected vice president of the National Scout Council in November of 1930. In april 1928, the Council bestowed upon him the Order of the Silver Buffalo, its highest honor given to men who serve the Scout movement in distinguished fashion.
He was a leading contributor to the Community Fund, donating $100,000 (about $1,000,000 in 2012 dollars) in one campaign and this year was also one of the largest contributions.
He was a generous supporter of the Young Men’s Christian Association.
(Editor’s Note: Early United States Junior Chamber leaders make it clear that Howard did not feel the jaycee movement should be heavily endowed like the Scouts or charities. Since the Junior Chamber was an adult civic service organization, it had an obligation to finance itself, for the main part, through dues or other means which could not be considered “handouts.”)
A feature if the golden rule system in his company was the institution in 1921 of employee representation in settlement of wages, working hours and other policies directly related to the welfare of the worker. He also set up a department for extending building loans to his employees.
Mr. Howard’s labor policies, however did not meet approval of union labor, which contended the Commonwealth system precluded union representatives for the employees and the Central Labor Union of St. Louis protested his appointment as Police Commissioner.
Clarence Howard’s death left a big gap in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, both from spiritual and financial viewpoints and no single man of equal stature has been an integral part of the movement since that time.
Only his wife and one son survived Howard and Mrs. Howard died in 1937. Clarence Howard, Jr. was killed in an accidental fall from the Moolah Shrine Temple in St. Louis in 1943 at the age of 40.