Ohio History Journal

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CLUB, 1912-1962. By Thomas F. Camp-

bell. (Cleveland: The City Club, 1963.

128p.; frontispiece and index. $3.50.)

The occasion for this book was the cele-

bration of the golden anniversary of the

City Club of Cleveland in 1962. The phrase

"Freedom's Forum," incorporated in the

title, underscores the spirit and purpose

of the club. Its dedicated adherence to free

speech has been the key to its vigorous

life and survival. It was founded during

the progressive era, when city clubs

sprang up throughout the country in re-

sponse to an awakened civic conscience

which aroused Americans to action along

many fronts in that period. The list of

founding members is a roster of the young

men who were in the forefront of reform

in Cleveland in 1912--adherents of the

progressive Wilsonian wing of the Demo-

cratic party, led by Mayor Newton D.

Baker, and the partisans of Theodore

Roosevelt's Bull Moose party. But the

club's membership was not confined to

those actively engaged in reform; it spread

to attorneys, stockbrokers, doctors, clergy-

men, and college professors, who were

eager for enlightenment on the political

and social issues of the day. At the outset

the founding fathers set the policy of "in-

formation, not reformation" and of giv-

ing a hearing to minority points of view.

In this slim volume Thomas F. Camp-

bell, who is a Clevelander by adoption and

currently an instructor at Ohio State Uni-

versity, has sketched the themes and major

episodes in the club's many forum activi-

ties, for which it is best known to the

public. He has aired the dissensions that

arose over freedom of speech during the

Red hysteria of the post-World War I

years, dramatized by the invitation in 1923

to Eugene V. Debs to speak. Although the

episode caused forty-seven members to

resign, it established the club's reputa-

tion as a forum for free speech. Perhaps

because of this early test of the strength

of its convictions, the club weathered the

McCarthy period of the 1950's without vio-

lating its ideals or dividing its ranks. Also

here are the history of the Anvil Revue,

which yearly lampoons prominent men

(particularly the "stuffed shirts" among

them), and an account of the founding and

activities of the celebrated luncheon

"tables," including the Soviet Table (named

as a joke when a florist sent a centerpiece

of red roses and a wit quipped, "At last

you have shown your true colors -- the

Soviet Table"). In a separate section are

brief biographies of twenty-four members

who have been leading figures in the club,

as well as "movers and shakers" in the

community, and a list of the club's officers

since its founding.

The author has shown praiseworthy re-

straint in selecting the material for a

book of this kind and has produced a his-

tory which is a model of brevity.


Kenyon College




Lincoln Straker. With a preface and

an introduction to the Antiochiana Col-

lection in the Olive Kettering Library

by Louis Filler. (Yellow Springs, Ohio:

Antioch Press, 1963. 106p.; illustrations.


In his preface to this little volume, Pro-

fessor Louis Filler pays tribute to the late

Robert Lincoln Straker--editor, textbook