Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, September 27, 1908, HALF-TONE SECTION, Image 21

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    un day Bee
bsorlbe rr
Best '; West
The Omaha
Birth and Scope of the Organization and Something About the Men Who Will Make the Omaha Meeting One of the Most Important in the History of the League
MEN who are making history In America will meet In
Omaha next week for a convention under the name of
the twelfth annual convention of the League of Ameri
can Municipalities. Majors, fire and police commis
sioners, heads of city departments, treasurers, clerks,
auditors, engineers, of what America considers the "best cities on
earth," will be in attendance and the discussions will be more than
profitable to Omaha they will be the first premier of city govern
ment In many ways.
Citlea which are conducting their governments along practical
reform lines and those which propose new reforms will be placed
aide by aide with those which look toward theoretical forms of city
government. Mayors and mayors' policies, burgomasters and their
schemescity fathers and their dreams, will be placed on the operat
ing table and a grand clinic held for the benefit of those interested
and all others who care to see and hear the analysis of city govern
ments, which will doubtless portray the progress since the first or
ganization of clans, tuns, villas, burgs, manors and urbs.
In 1907, when the convention was held at Norfolk, Councilmen
Zimman, Bridges, Funkhouser and Bedford were sent by Omaha, and
by hard work, persistent advertising and boosting by Ak-Sar-Ben
and other local organizations, succeeded In getting the convention
for Omaha in 1908. The fame of Ak-Sar-Ben had much to do In
getting the convention for this city, and the delegates were told that
the king would welcome them. For this reason the dates for the
convention were set during the time of the festival, and the delegates
to the convention of the league will be honored guests of King Ak-Sar-Ben
XIV and the princes of his realm.
The meeting this week will be the twelfth annual convention of
the League of American Municipalities, the organization having been
formed in 1897. The first meeting was held "in Columbus, O., and
was attended by some two hundred delegates. An organization was
perfected by electing officers and adopting a constitution, the first
section of which sets forth In succinct language the object of the
league, as follows:
"The object of this organization shall be the general Improve
ment and facilitation of every branch of municipal administration
by the following means: First, the perpetuation of the organization
as an agency for the co-operation of American cities In the practical
study of questions pertaining to municipal administration; second,
the holding of annual conventions for the discussion of contem
poraneous municipal affairs; third, the establishment and mainten
ance of a central bureau of Information for the collection and com
pilation and dissemination of statistics, reports and all kinds of In
formation relative to municipal government"
Membership is Large
Most of the Important municipalities In this country and in
Canada have enrolled as members of the league, and its twelve years
of service has proven its worth to the municipal official. Whether he
represents a Tillage or a metropolis, the newly elected official .finds
embarrassment in the fact that on many matters of Importance,
which he is called upon to determine, he is not well Informed and
that he baa no reliable data which will enlighten him. But few
cities maintain a department of statistics, and untU the forming of
the league there was no help for the beginner In municipal (govern
ment. This la now overcome in a large measure, for the league sup
plies all municipalities with this Important service through the
medium of tta bureau of Information.
The first convention was held at Columbus, the second at De
troit, the third at Syracuse, the fourth at Charleston, the fifth at
Jamestown, N. T, the sixth at Grand Rapids, the seventh at Balti
more, the eighth at East St. Louis, the ninth at Toledo, the tenth at
Chicago and the eleventh at Norfolk.
At all of these oonTentlons Important subjects have been dis
cussed, and instructive papers, prepared by men of experience, read.
Municipal government in every phase has been gone into carefully
and an attempt by means of discussion and conference has been made
to find out the best means of governing the municipalities, which
was left out when the American government was framed.
In a recent address. Governor Hughes of New York said:
"The three essentials to successful municipal government are leader
' ship, public- opinion and expert service. This leadership must un
derstand politics the science of government. if it Is to appeal to
an Intelligent publlo opinion." The conforming to these three essen
tials and the understanding of the science of government are the
prime motives of the league and its members.
Topics for the Convention
Men Who Will Take Part in Program at Omaha Convention
Mayor, Baltimore
Mayor Fort Worth.
- ,,
Dps Moines.'
f t "Y
A- 7
Mayor East St. Louis, 111.
- -' ' v V
Norfolk, Va.
. . ;- j1"' 1
y i, '
Mayor Newark.
Mayor Wichita.
Mayor Atlanta, Qi
Mayor Mlddletown, N. T.
Shaffer of Rock Island, Mayor J. H. Graham of Wichita, Mayor Jos
eph Oliver of Toronto and Mayor H. A. Schunk of Dubuque.
Friday afternoon the officers for the next year will be elected
and the place for holding the 1909 convention selected.
Interspersed between the business sessions of the league, the
local entertainment committees will show the delegates a good time.
The Board of Governors of Ak-Sar-Ben have extended an invitation
to all delegates to visit the King's Highway and to make themselves
at home there, all the delegates will be given tickets to the grand
Ak-Sar-Ben ball and a special reviewing stand has been built for the
accommodation of the delegates, that they may witness the parade
and the triumphal entry of King Ak-Sar-Ben XIV with his retinue.
This parade will be Interesting to the delegates, as a special float
representing the league has been prepared.
In the parade the title float will come first and following will
b floats reptesenting the states of Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah,
Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Nebraska, the city
of Omaha, the second section of the title float, four floats represent
ing current topics, and then the float dedicated to "Our Guests, the
League of American Municipalities." This will be the seventeenth
float In the grand pageant.
Omaha as an Instructress
The float will represent Omaha as an Instructress In cap and
po n, before whom will be arrayed other cities diligently engaged In
learning of the Gate City of the Golden West. Among the cities to
be represented ore St. Louis, St. Joseph, St. Paul and San Krancisco,
all portrayed by men in monkish garb with halos above their heads;
Milwaukee as a fat Dutchman seated on a beer keg; New York as a
Knickerbocker, and Chicago in the Indomitable pose of "I Will. ' In
the rear will be a canopy, on the portals of which will bo pictures
of the city hajl and of the court houso to be. Three other floats will
follow this dedicated to the league.
After passing the reviewing stand in front of the city hall, the
parade will pass under the new welcome arch, which will blaze forth
the letters "L. of A. M." the tlrst U tters to be placed on the new
arch which will bespeak Omaha's welcome to the delegates.
Other entertainment for the delegates will include a ride in the
new McKeen motor cars over the Lane cut-off; a trip through the
plant of the American Smelting and Refining company, the Union
Pacific railway shops and the packing houses of South Omaha; s
ride on the interurban to Bellevue and Fort Crook; a ride to Fort
Omaha; and a trip to Florence, where the Minna Lusa water pump
ing station will be Inspected. At Fort Crook a special review of the
United States Infantry will be given for the entertainment of the
delegates, and at Fort Omaha, the headquarters of the United States
Signal corps, the wireless telegraph station and the war balloons will
be exhibited.
The convention closes Friday afternoon, but invitations are ex
tended to all the delegates and women remaining to witness the Cin
derella ball at the Ak-Sar-Ben Den Saturday afternoon.
Badges have been procured for all the delegates and handsome
souvenirs for all the women attending. The badges are of oxidized
silver, and consist of a bar and the seal of the city, upon which are
appropriate inscriptions. The bar and seal are attached by a ribbon
in the Ak-Sar-Ben colors. The souvenir for the women are leather
card cases.
Entertainment for Women
On all the excursions the women will be guests, Mrs. M. F.
Funkhouser being chairman of the women's reception committee.
This committee will see to It that every wish of the women from out
of the city is anticipated, and no stone will be left unturned to show
them a good time.
W. H. Bucholz Is chairman of the general committee, the other
members being Councilmen Funkhouser, Lee Bridges, Dr. J. C.
Davis, H. B. Zimman and G. F Brucker, together with George F.
West, George H. Kelley, John teel, H. J. Penfold and W. L. Yetter.
The general reception committee Is composed of the following:
G. W. Wattles, L. L. Kountze, F. W. Judson, Mayor J. C. Dahlman,
E. P. Berryman, John A. nine, Robert Cowell, Dr A. H. Hippie,
Bryce Crawford, F. A. Nash, C. M. Wilhelm, F. P. Hamilton, Dan B.
Butler, George Rogers, Harry E. Burnam, W. M. Glller, Dr. R. W.
Connell, Waldemar MIchelsen, William Wallace, A. C. Smith. O. M.
Hitchcock. J. P. Crick. Charles H. Wlthnell, E. C. Page, David
O'Brien, Thomas J. Flynn, Harry McVea and Frank A. Furay.
It is expected that fully 600 delegates, with many others who
will not be delegates, will attend the convention. These will come
from cities in every part of the United States and Canada, Invita
tions having been sent to every city of the continent having a popu
lation of 5,000 or more. In Nebraska, Iowa, 'South Dakota, Wyom
ing, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado Invitations have been sent to
smaller cities.
The malls every day bring the information that large delegations
will attend the convention. So far, Baltimore and the state of Mary
land have signified the intention of sending the largest delegation,
a special train to be run from that city. Another special train will
carry the delegates from the New England states. St. Paul will
send twenty-seven delegates, headed by Mayor Lawler, Mayor Haven
of Duluth will head a delegation of twenty-five from that Minnesota
city, Mayor Crittenden and ten delegates will come from Kansas
City, and larger or smaller delegations will be sent by other municipalities.
Of the topics to be discussed at this year's meeting of the league,
the first one on the program is the most Important and 1b intended
to draw out the most discussion. This is that of uniform reports and
accounts, the object being to have the reports of various classes of
cities compiled so ss to make them susceptible of comparison. The
committee having this In charge during the year is reported as hav
ing been especially active. The committee held a meeting last May
in Washington, and with the co-operation of L. G. Powers, chief
statistician of the bureau of the census, laid out a plan of action.
This plan promises tangible results and assures an exhaustive report
on the subject at the convention. The committee will recommend
that the schedules of the bureau of the United States census be
adopted by the league as a common basis for municipal reporting.
This, it is thought, will result in the league addressing a communica
tion to the mayors and councils of American cities, requesting that
the budgets as well as the reports of the the various departments
of cities be formulated, as tar as practicable, on the lines of this
Mr. Powers, the chief statistician, will take a leading part in
the discussion of the subject of uniform reports and accounts, while
the discussion will be In charge of the committee's chairman, Hugo
B. Grosser of Chicago. Others who will discuss the question will be
Frederick A. Cleveland, technical director of the bureau of municipal
research of New York; Comptroller H. F. Hooper of Baltimore, and
Mayor James G. Reddick of Norfolk.
Uniform reports and accounts will come up for discussion on
the afternoon of Wednesday, September 80.
Thursday morning the toplo of consideration will be "Home
Rule tor Cities." This is a movement to place before the legislatures
of the various states the desirability of larger discretionary powers
of municipalities in matters pertaining to local government. This
will be of especial interest to the people ot Omaha at this time, on
account of the agitation of the home rule question and the hope of
amending the city charter of Omaha to give this city the right to
govern itself, instead of being under the legislature.
Omaha, being the host, will have no part in this discussion or
in any discussion. The topic will be in charge of Mayor Jacob
Hausslins of Newark, N. J.. and will be discussed by Mayor Robert
Lawrence of Mlddletoa, N. Y., Mayor Anthony O. Douglas of Niagara
Falls, Mayor John IL Croaln ot Jollet and several other prominent
Commission Plan of Government
Thursday afternoon municipal government by commission will
be discussed, and the Galveston and Des Moines plans of government
will be brought up. While he is not on the program, it la probable
that John MacVlcar ot Des Moines, former mayor and at present
superintendent ot the department ot streets and public improve
ments, will tell ot the workings of the Des Moines plan. Mr. Mac
Vlcar has been secretary and treasurer of the league tor nine years.
N. Lafayette Savay of Nw York; C. H. Huston, superintendent ot
the department of streets and public Improvements ot Cedar Rapids;
Mayor Henry M. Scales of Oklahoma City, and Mayor W. D. Harris
of Fort Worth are on the program to discuss this question.
'The Liquor Problem in the Cities" will be the last subject to
come before the attention ot the delegates at this year's meeting,
it being on the program for Friday morning. Mayor W. R. Joyner
of Atlanta will lead in the discussion of this tople-, others on the
program being Mayor Daniel Lawler ot St. Paul, Mayor David S.
Boss X Milwaukee, Major Ellas Cook of East M. Louis, Mayor IL a
Part Played by the Button in National Campaigns
IF YOU should ask an authority on campaign
buttons how many buttons were being man
ufactured daily be would tell you at least
half a million. This he would consider a
conservative estimate a steady, cheerful
production every minute of about 340 smiling lit
tle Tafta and grimly meditative little Bryans.
There are three remarkable things about cam
paign buttons that so many, many millions of
them are put In circulation, that so few of them
are visible to the casual observer and that the
process of getting them on the market involves a
prophetic quality that actually picks the candidate
before the conventions have nominated them. On
the day that Taft was nominated several million
Taft buttons were delivered in Chicago on the day
that Bryan was nominated several million Bryan
buttons were delivered In Denver. A large
share of these buttons had been manufactured as
far away as New Jersey. Roughly speaking, they
were worth about half a cent apiece at wholesale,
and their total value reached somewhere in the
neighborhood o $40,000 or $50,000 which may
well serve as a mode6t hint at the. financial aspect
of this apparently trivial business.
Thousands and thousands of dollars in short
are thus practically wagered on the opinion ct a
few Individuals as to the outcome of the conven
tions. The largest company behind these eight
or nine million smiling little Tafts and,, grimly
meditative little Bryans guessed right. But some
of the other button people guessed wrong. As a
result we read soon afterward of a small dealer
who committed suicide because he had invested
his whole small fortune In the wrong button. He
had guessed that Roosevelt and Johnson would be
the nominees of the two great parties.
But why, you wonder, should a button man
take such desperate chances ou anything so doubt
ful as the result of a political convention? Be
cause the precise moment for disposing ot buttons
Is the moment ot greatest popular excitement: the
button seller, like the newsboy, aims to profit by
catching the crowd even while it is still gazing at
the bulletin board. But to do this he must take
longer chances. The Jobber who orders buttons
of the manufacturer assumes all the risk after the
buttons have been delivered. The fakir who buy
his buttons of the Jobber pays on delivery and
must stand or fall by his own Judgment. The
manufacturer who makes up a vast number of but
tons In order to be ready to supply the market in
competition with other manufacturers at the In
stant of the rush of orders that follows the de
cision ot the convention must take bit chances ot
providing himself with a vast number of buttons
for which there will be no demand whatever.
Naturally the button manufacturer meets this
condition in the most economical way possible.
He reduces the risk by bringing to bear upon the
political situation the keenest available Judgment.
In one large button factory a salary of $12,000 a
year Is paid to the man whose voice is most in
fluential in deciding which of the possible candi
dates is likely to become the real one, and this
man has his several lieutenants who are only a de
gree less influential. Concerning the future of a
national convention It would be difficult to find
anything more acutely authoritative than the
council of war of a group of these button generals.
Each of them, one might fairly say, Is a person
ification of the consensus of political opinion, and
yet they are not professional politicians. They
are the living proof of the value of euch little
things as an "if," "but" or "and" in reaching
specific conclusions. They are men who travel,
who read the newspapers with conscientious avid
ity, who talk with business men, professional men,
politicians and the "man in the street" and their
business Is to And out not what men think, but
what they feel Instinctively about the chances of
such and such a possible candidate.
In other words, the wind of politics Is too
fickle to be determined very long In advance by
argumentative discussion and the exhibition of
comparative statistics. It can be determined more
accurately by Instinctive feeling. The button man
who has heard "if." "but" or "and" tagged to the
name of a possible candidate knows at least that
the speaker instinctively feels that certain dangers
lie in the way of that particular candidacy, and
cares more for this knowledge than for any
amount of carefully-thought-out argument one
way or the other. He is not Interested In the
relative value of platforms. He will produce you
in due season several million buttons bearing the
legend "Vote for Taft and Prosperity," and sev
eral million more bearing the legend "Vote for
Bryan and Prosperity." But he is busily and
delicately accumulating specimens of the polit
ical atmosphere of different communities out ot
which his own Instinct and experience will later
draw conclusions. The process has its analogy to
the chemical laboratory. The Instinct of the ex
pert acting on all these accumuated samples of an
Intangible "something In the air" produces a pre
cipitate of innumerable buttons. An expert in
this delicate business, says our button authority,
must be born with an Instinct for it, and to this
Instinct must be added a wide experience ot poll-
tics and humanity In their relation to buttons.
This process on a smaller scale is worked out
by local agencies of the button manufacturers in
the local political campaigns and by the Jobbers
who make no buttons themselves ,but buy ot the
manufacturers and sell to the fakirs. Naturally
the risk is smaller for the larger manufacturers
because there is more capital to offset Inevitable
errors of Judgment, and in each case a certain
amount of capital must be sunk In the preparation
of buttons that are bound to prove worthless. The
stress of production comes on the favored candi
date, but smaller battalions must be held in re
serve to represent each of the others. But many
a "favorite son" gets much talked of In the news
papers whom no button expert considers important
enough to be given one of the preliminary buttons.
These p1 oil t leal buttons are merely one item in
the button business which originated some thirty
odd years ago, not in the rivalry of two presiden
tial candidates, but in the grim determination of
one cigarette to drive another out ot business. It
may or may not be significant, but the cigarette
that got the button is still popular and the one
that didn't has since practically got the hook. The
very beginning of the button business still holds
the record for the largest order ever given a but
ton manufacturer. To order a million or more
buttons at a time is a commonplace with the man
agers of presidential candidates, but the reckless
cigarette ordered buttons to be manufactured un
til further notice. Before the campaign was
ended millions and millions ot them poured over
the country on their way to the oblivion that
eventually engulfed them. Since then one might
almost imagine that the gulf of oblivion has be
come half full of buttons. But here, in the very
beginning, was success as an advertising medium
for the button is but one expres&Jon of the enor
mous triviality known as specialty advertising
that made the idea permanent. Buttons may
come and buttons may go, but the Idea continues
with a steady determination to focus a certain
amount of public attention on a specific object
now on a department store, or again on the sig
nificance ot a trade union label, on the excellence
of a brand ot beer, on the desirability of this man
for sheriff of Podunk county or that man for pres
ident of the United States. Nothing is too small
or too large to get put on a button; we may an
nounce our poltlcal candidate, show ourselves
members of the Don't Worry club, hint to whoever
may be interested that we "are afraid to go home
In the dark," identify ourselves by name and resi
dence, or even, like a knight of old, indicate our
preference for a certain lady. And in this we
have a distinct advantage over the middle ages,
for ancient chivalry knew not the secret of mak
ing a button with the lady's lovely countenance
Indisputably photographed on it. Designers, and
In some cases very able ones, are kept busy all the
year around producing the designs. Clipping
agencies, maintained by the manufacturers,
everlastingly searching the newspapers for
prophetic hints of places where there is likely to
be a demand for buttons.
But although the political button Is only one
among many, the frequency of elections of one
kind and another, taking the country as a whole,
gives to It something the character of an endless
stream that develops once every four years into a
raging Niagara. - Then the millions and millions
of potentially presidential faces come In strips
from the printing press, are cut Into little round
portraits by a sort of mechanical doughnut cutter,
are whisked over a disk of metal and under an
other round sheet of transparent celluloid, fas
tened In place with a clasp and there you are
ready for the bosom of the potential partisan.
"Vote for and Prosperity" Is a motto that fits)
just as well around the countenance of Candidate
Taft as around that of Candidate Bryan but If .
the button man has any Inclination at all It tends
at present a little toward the cheerful Ohioan, for
so far Taft enthusiasm seems to be absorbing the
larger number of buttons. As for the socialists
confound 'em they hardly order any buttons at
all, even when they are printed In red Ink and
decorated with a flaming torch. Nor are the pro
hibitionists as enthusiastic in this matter of but
tons as might be hoped of them.
Competition naturally brings Into the field at
election time a wide variety of buttons for each
candidate, but public taste selects from among
them with a conservatism peculiar to the season.
The political button is a button apart, a button,
apparently, to be taken seriously. However dec
orative may be his designs, the manufacturer re
ceives his largest orders for the simple unadorned
portrait of the chosen candidate. Thousands and
thousands and thousands of button wearers go In
for decoration preferably something with a
touch of red, white and blue but many more
thousands and thousands and thousands prefer the
undecorated portrait. The reason, according to
the manufacturers. Is that many a man will adorn
himself with a political button who would'nt vol
untarily appear in any other kind ot a button
(Continued on Page Two.)