Thursday, February 01, 2007

The President In Action

Here's the front page of the Cow Bell, July 1, 1915, wherein President R.V. Brown gives his state-of-the-union speech.

The obvious question being, despite the rhyming jive-- "what's wrong?" -- as the headline begins "SIT TIGHT". There must have cash crunch -- since the essay concludes with reference to the Treasury Box and a "last request" to be "shoved off without being blindfolded"

Possibly the war in Europe has affected the advertising budgets on which so many P&C commercial artists depended.

And note that there's some kind of "entertainment" every other week!

But the most fascinating event was the "Abstract Show" -- which I think was not intended to just be a joke -- and which, thanks to newspaper publicity, drew a greater attendance than any other exhibit. This was two years after the 1913 A.I.C. Armory Show -- so I guess abstract art was still newsworthy.

The Cow Bell July 1, 1915

Writes Half Year’s Brief,
Big Things in Store is His Belief
Fast Pace is Set
Big Problems met,
High Praise Bestowed on Cabinet
Keep Bombs” Says He,
Will Smile Upon Us,

When the present handsome, honest, and intelligent administration was placed in office, we opined that the judgment of the voters would be vindicated, and now that the half-way mark has been reached it is only fitting and proper that mere art news should be kicked from its exalted perch on the front page to give way for a modest review of the may big things that have been accomplished to date.

When a politician can stand up, six months after election and point with pride to his campaign promises the world at large should stop and give him a look, for as the game is usually played, it seems to be a matter of “animal instinct” with politicians to forget their pre-election promises rather than to remind the voters of them.

The big plank in our platform was labeled “Action and Results” regardless of personal sacrifice on the part of the administration, collectively and as individuals and I believe that we have more than made good. In six months, seven successful exhibitions have been held, making an average of more than one a month. Twelve entertainments have also been given and attended in this busy half-year, or an average of one every other week. The evening of May 3 is incidentally worthy of special mention for on this occasion it will be remembered we had as our guests the Chicago Society of Artists.

John Carlsen has done big things as head of the exhibition committee. When one stops to consider that 100 more or less peculiar individuals must be satisfied in the hanging of the year’s output of art, one realizes that this is some job.

The models furnished this year have been far above the average; and the poses arranged have shown study and thought. The supply of draperies and hangings on hand is so extensive that it would be well worth while to cover them with a health fire insurance policy. And Sheffer likes his job !

Pete can prove that the Associate membership not only has a wonderful moral influence upon the active members but that it is also paying about 900 per cent profit to the cubic inch, which is “some” financial investment as well.

The Active membership committee has brought in a bunch of mighty good new material.

Our many entertainments have been run off just as my friend Belasco assures me he would have them run off had he been here on the job.

Kleitsch has become quite a nut on sanitation and is taking much better care of the clubroom than he does of his own studio.

The Cow Bell has come back to stay and Timmins assures us that it is strong enough now to travel on its own momentum for many years to come. All records for publicity have been broken. We have received twice as much newspaper space in the first six months of this year as we have ever received in any previous two years combined. This record is all the more remarkable when one stops to consider that we have been given this unusual amount of space in the papers while the big European fuss is on and while the world in general is “gum-soling” about in quest of its equilibrium.

The opening day of our Abstract show alone drew a larger attendance than may entire exhibits of the past, and the complete show by far broke all records for attendance.

The camp situation has been cleared up, and the Club now has a house to be proud of, one really worth while, beautifully situated, with many comforts that we have never had before in our summer quarters.

These things have all been accomplished in spite of depressing business conditions that have existed since the outbreak of the war. It is true that we have spent big money, but we have done “big things”. My one request of the reader of the Cow Bell is that you “sit tight” until we pull our big show in the Fall This event will positively be a grand success, and after it has been given, if there is not more money in the treasury than the poor old strong box has ever seen before, then and then only will it be time to bring out your gas bombs and thumbscrews, and the last request of the administration will be that we get pushed off without being blindfolded.


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