The Pittsburgh Press (October 26, 1944)
President credited with originating plan
By Peter Edson
Details of a plan to raise an extra million dollars to support the reelection of President Roosevelt through the formation of “The 1000 Club of the USA,” made up of 1,000 members, each contributing $1,000, have been announced by Frank J. Lewis of Chicago, national president of the club.
Organization of this club, which now has a paid-up membership of “over 100.55” is partially Mr. Roosevelt’s own idea, and the President is a paid-up member, having given his check for $1,000 to National Treasurer George K. Bowden of Chicago and received in return his red-enamel or engraved copper-plate lifetime membership card.
NOTE: This story was written and received prior to Governor Dewey’s address of last night in which he read a letter soliciting membership for the club, stating the idea originated in the White House and promising special favors for the contributors.
To buy radio time
The million-dollar club fund will be used to buy radio time and for other campaign activities which the 1000 Club will sponsor, independently from the activities of the Democratic National Committee which is limited by law to $3 million expenditures in a presidential campaign.
The fact that the 1000 Club was Mr. Roosevelt’s own idea was stated by Democratic Committee Chairman Robert E. Hannegan at a meeting of businessmen in Chicago on Sept. 11, when the club was formed. Minutes of this meeting have just been made public.
Quoting the President, Mr. Hannegan told the Chicago dinner meeting that the President had said to him:
I think it would be a good idea to have a list of 1,000 persons, banded together all over the United States, to act as a liaison to see that facts relating to the public interest are presented factually to the President and members of the Legislature.
Mr. Hannegan arranged for the Chicago meeting, but having tossed the assembled businessmen this flaming torch, they picked it up and went on from there.
Edwin W. Pauley, treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, who was also present, said the President’s idea could develop into a powerful interest for good.
Made up of admirers
The club, it was stated, would be made up of admirers of the President and would be an organization of business and professional men he could call on for advice and counsel, not only during the campaign but also after the election.
Irwin Walker was named temporary chairman of the Chicago meeting, and a committee consisting of George K. Bowden, Marshal Field, Richard S. Reynolds of the Reynolds Metals Company, James Shepard of Los Angeles, Hunt Walter and C. V. Bay of Chicago was named to draw up a constitution.
Oklahoma Governor Robet S. Kerr spoke briefly in support of the objectives and William G. Johnstone, Oklahoma City oil and cattleman, proposed a club motto of “1000 members for the 1000 Club in 1000 hours,” which was received with such acclaim that Charles Bidwell of Chicago made out his check for $1000 on the spot, thus becoming really the first member of the club, although the President officially holds membership No. 1.
National head elected
The Chicago chapter was the first to be organized, with the election of Mr. Lewis as national president and George D. Crowley heading up the local chapter.
Organization has been directed mainly from Chicago. Plans call for setting up a chapter in every state.
Oklahoma was the first state to fill its quota of 25 members, through the efforts of Mr. Johnstone. The California organization is headed by Sam Goldwyn.
The Washington chapter is headed by Joseph E. Davies of Mission to Moscow fame.
Party chiefs invited
The Washington chapter of the 1000 Club is expected to be one of its strongest. Alfons B. Landa, one of the Davies law firm partners, has been doing most of the active organizing work among Cabinet officers – excepting Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Under Secretary of War Robert B. Patterson, who are Republicans.
Other high party chieftains and government administrators will be invited to join.
Assisting in the national organization work as executive directors in Washington are six Congressmen who have no contests for election in their districts:
Estes Kefauver of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Robert L. F. Sikes of Crestview, Florida; F. Edward Herbert of New Orleans; Oren Harris of Dorado, Arkansas; Eugene Worley of Shamrock, Texas; and John J. Sparkman of Huntsville, Alabama.
The Board of Trustees of the 1000 Club, who are empowered by the club constitution to administer its affairs, are, in addition to President Lewis and Treasurer Bowden, Charles Ulrick Bay of the Bay Petroleum Company of New York; Marshall Field, New York and Chicago heir and publisher, Richard S. Reynolds of Virginia and Mrs. Jean Tuerk of Chicago.
The 1000 Club has no connection with the Business Men for Roosevelt, Inc., whose honorary president is Andrew J. Higgins of New Orleans. Mr. Higgins is, however, a member of the 1000 Club.