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“ 'I broke the chains of bigotry and despotism. I made men free and equal. Every man feels the worth of his manhood.
"'I have touched the summit of history. I did for mankind what none of you did before. They are rich. They are wise. They are free.
"The Spirits of the dead Centuries sat silent, with troubled eyes. At last the Spirit of the First Century spoke for all.
“We all spoke proudly when we came here in the flush of our deeds and thou more proudly than we all. But as we sit and think of what was before us, and what has come after us, shame and guilt bear down our pride. Your words sound as if the redemption of man had come at last. Has it come? Do all children grow up fair of limb and trained for thought and action? Do none die before their time? Has the mastery of nature made men free to enjoy their lives and loves, and to live the higher life of the mind?
'You have made men wise. Are they wise or cunning? Have they learned to restrain their bodily passions? Have they learned to deal with their fellows in justice and love?
“ 'You have set them free. Are there none, then, who toil for others against their will? Are all men free to do the work they love best?
“'You have made men one. Are there no barriers of class to keep man and maid apart? Does none rejoice in the cause that makes the many moan? Do men no longer spill the blood of men for their ambition and the sweat of men for their greed?'
“As the Spirit of the Nineteenth Century listened, his head sank to his breast.
“ 'Your shame is already upon me. My great cities are as yours were. My millions live from hand to mouth. Those who toil longest have least. My thousands sink exhausted before their days are half spent. My human wreckage multiplies. Class faces class in sullen distrust. Their freedom and knowledge has only made men keener to suffer Give me a seat among you, and let me think why it has been so.'
"The others turned to the Spirit of the First Century, 'Your promised redemption is long in coming.' 'But it will come,' he replied.”
We may be depressed by this vision and wonder what tale will be told in the far distant years when the Spirit of the Twentieth Century passes on to the “vaulted chamber of the past” with the dawning of a new century.
But why be discouraged. We will go on doing our part in man's redemption by teaching him the value of constructive thrift and economy, by teaching him the value of the home, encouraging ourselves in strength, in hope, in these annual gatherings from which we should go forth to our millions of members all over this country, inspired by love to sing the song of cheerful hope, to clarify our lives and to gladden the heart of Almighty God, who watches over us.
Thirty-fifth Meeting of the Illinois League at Moline.
The thirty-fifth annual meeting of the Building Association League of Illinois convened at 10:30 a. m. Thursday, October 8, 1914, at the Commercial Club, and was called to order by President Mark D. Rider, of Chicago. Secretary B. G. Vasen, of Quincy, was at his post as usual.
President Rider then appointed the following Committee on Credentials: Frank J. Petru, Chicago, chairman; R. E. Brown, Anna; C. F. Zwick, La Salle ; Leon A. Wachowski, Chicago; N. L. Johnson, Batavia.
President Charles Eugene Clark, of the United States League, was the guest of honor and was escorted to the seat next to President Rider by Messrs. Lake W. Sanborn, of Galesburg; S. M. Owings, of Matoon; Frank H. Hajicek, of Chicago.
Mr. Wm. C. Sheppard, of Grand Rapids, Mich., also was present and delivered a most interesting address.
The address of welcome was then delivered by Hon. M. R. Carlson, Mayor of the city of Moline.
RESPONSE BY PRESIDENT M. D. RIDER. The delegates and visitors to the thirty-fifth annual meeting of the Building Association League of Illinois wish to thank you, Mr. Mayor, and citizens of Moline, for your kind words of welcome, and I can assure you for the delegates and visiting members of our organization, that we are delighted to be able to visit your beautiful city, and trust that our visit may be of mutual benefit and may be the means of advancing the thrift and home building interests of Moline.
Your large industrial business enterprises, manufacturing plants and offices are filled with many employes; some young, some middle aged and some advanced in years, all laboring for the subsistence of themselves and their families. Many have already learned the lesson of thrift, are owning their own homes and working toward future financial independence. Others again are still pursuing the plan of using their entire income as time rolls along, not having learned that no matter how small the beginning and no matter at what time of life we begin, to put away a dollar for a rainy day and continue to do so with stubborn persistence, that they can become financially independent, self-made men and women.
Our building association plan furnishes just such means of thrift and economy that the smallest depositor can have a voice in the policy of his association, and becomes a stockholder to the number of shares he or she subscribed for and sticks to.
We, the representatives of the Building Association League and the United States League of Local Building and Loan Associations, are her for the purpose of advancing the means of educating and encouraging the worker to save, encourage them to continue to save, urge the building of more homes, and create
more contentment, more independence, more efficiency and greater patriotism.
The employers of this vast army of workers are also invited to look into our saving plan and urged to co-operate and interest themselves on behalf of their employees. By the inoculation and fostering of the lessons in thrift and home ownership, they would insure for themselves more efficient and conscientious work on the part of their employees. Men and women who have learned to save their own money will have a deeper interest in the upbuilding of their employer's business, giving closer attention to details, with the result of saving time and materials for their employers.
We wish to say to the people of Moline, that the Building Association League of Illinois is ever ready to assist them in obtaining a better understanding of the plans and methods of the building and loan associations of Illinois as a medium of thrift and an inspiration to the people to become home owners. We also wish to thank you, your entertainment committee and the business men of your city, for the hospitality offered us and for the use of this beautiful hall, which your Moline Club has so graciously granted for our convention.
Roll call was then held.
With the passing of nineteen fourteen we have rounded out the thirty-fifth year of existence of the Building Association League of Illinois. As we look back at the history of the League we can do so with much pride, as it has in a measure kept pace with the times, steadily increasing in importance in the financial and economic life of our commonwealth, commanding the respect of other financial institutions, government and state, and the public, as never before. It also speaks in glowing terms of the untiring and vigilant interest on the part of its officers and members, many of whom have grown old in its service. But with all the progress we have made, I have felt during the past year that we must constantly be on the watch not only to guard, but to retain the position we have attained to, as well as to reach out, advise, pursuade and instruct the rapidly growing generations of the benefits and economic assistance our organization brings to those who are willing to practice economy and thrift. Each passing generation brings with it new needs and new ideals, and constant publicity and education to the building and loan plan of saving is necessary to the organization to hold her own and grow.
When, a year ago, you honored me with the highest office in your power to bestow, I accepted the position with much misgiving as to how I could best serve the League and our mutual cause. After a careful study of the situation and conference with the executive committee, it was proposed and decided that I prepare and send a letter each month from my office as President, to all League members, and at times to the non-members of the League also, for the purpose of creating closer co-operation and discussing the needs and ideals of our associations, with a view, ultimately, of increasing the membership of our Association and State League.
About five thousand letters have beer sent out. Considerable educational publicity has been placed in various channels, and through the courtesy of the Illinois Retail Merchants' Association, a series of interesting building and loan talks were run for several . months in their monthly journal, which no doubt have helped some. The monthly letters were all burdened more or less with the thought of the “need of wider general publicity.” In response many letters of appreciation and suggestions came from various associations throughout the state, showing what they are doing in their respective communities in the way of publicity and advertising. I wish to congratulate the officials of many of our local associations on the wide-awake and efficient methods they have pursued and the growth of their associations as the direct results of this publicity. Allow me to quote a few lines from a letter received from a secretary a few days ago, whose association has practiced systematic advertising for some time. He says: “We have got to get the building and loan business a little nearer the people. We advertise constantly and I am sure it pays. During the past ten years we have grown from $100,000.00 to $630,000.00, because we set out to educate the public to its benefits. Even then we have not spent over an average of $200.00 per year. We must progress; we must call attention to ourselves.”
That like results could be obtained in a measure by all associations is evidenced in the fact that there is hardly an institution that is so little known, outside of its own membership, as the building and loan association. In fact, a large number of members are not fully acquainted with the building and loan plan. This is found more particularly true in our larger cities, which contain a very great percentage of the population which might directly benefit by our associations. The main reason for this, as we all know, is the economical method on which our associations are managed, leaving little or no money to pay for advertising. These conditions could be bettered if we had an organized publicity department constantly at work, and that at a very small cost to each association. This is one of the reasons why I believe a monthly communication to the members of the League should be continued in a more elaborate form than now provided for, a medium for the exchange of ideas, plans and methods of our members; infusing new life and enthusiasm to the benefit of all League members, and the building association cause throughout the state.
A review of the past year's work of the League will be ably given by our Secretary, who I know has a complete report full of facts and figures, and it is not necessary for me to dwell on that.
According to the annual report of Mr. H. F. Cellarius, of Cincinnati, Secretary of the United States League of Building and Loan Associations, submitted at Washington, D. C., July 27th,
1914, the building associations of the United States continued their onward movement during 1913-1914, increasing their assets over one hundred and ten million dollars, a gain for the year of nearly ten per cent. The present number of associations is 6,429, with a membership of 2,836,433 and assets amounting to $1,248,479,139.00.
Illinois is in the front line with a material advancement for the year including an increase of assets of $7,549,767.00, a two million gain over the 1912-1913 increase, according to the U. S. League report; growth of membership, 15,323, and Illinois now stands in the fourth place of the states for number of associations, membership and assets, according to the statistical table 1913-1914. These facts, in view of the general business depression and unrest felt in all financial circles, bespeaks even greater advancement for our cause.
U.S. LEAGUE MEETING, JULY 27TH, 28TH AND 29TH, 1914.
Harmony and good-fellowship were the order of the day. Illinois was fully represented by sixteen delegates, many of whom denied themselves their usual summer vacation for the purpose of attending this meeting. Others took advantage of the bargain railroad rates to visit other Eastern cities, as the rate to Washington only was the same as various routed tickets, including other points of interest to Illinois people.
The entertainment committee of the Washington building and loan associations proved royal entertainers, sparing no pains or expense to make the sojourn of the delegates a pleasant and profitable one, notwithstanding the torrid temperature, the thermometer registering in the nineties for several days.
The paper prepared by your speaker on “The Education of the Public to the Building and Loan Plan of Thrift” was received as an entirely new proposition and was delivered just previous to adjournment of the second day's session, debate being postponed till the following morning session. After much animated discussion, the motion to create a Bureau of Publicity was voted down, but previous to the closing of the session the subject was reconsidered and the President empowered to appoint a committee of five to report at the next annual meeting in 1915.
Mr. Charles Eugene Clark, the newly elected President of the United States League, is an advocate of general publicity, and we can look forward to a year of active campaigning for the establishment of an Educational Bureau in 1915.
Through the courtesy of the American Building Association News, every association in the state has been a recipient of a copy of your president's paper, one thousand copies of it in pamphlet form having been furnished gratis.
It was the endeavor of the executive committee to distribute the delegates to the U. S. League meeting throughout the state at large to the number of twelve, leaving an allowance of four for the City of Chicago. After the acceptance and registry of the