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Chapter 4
1966-67 Centennial Activities

The Centennial Year will be one of the greatest Grange and Patron activity, on top of the regularly-scheduled Subordinate, Pomona, State and National programs which are extensive in themselves each year. The special Centennial events will make an even busier year than usual for Officers and members, as well as filling each with new satisfactions, new joy, and new realization of the justifiably important national and international position and prestige attained by the Grange-truly a broad and genuine base for pride in membership.

The Grange Family Meditation Center and Chapel at Gettysburg, Pa.

As a lasting reminder to the nation of the first 100 years of the Grange, there will be erected at the National Soldiers Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa., the Grange Family Meditation Center and Chapel.

This beautiful edifice, to be available for use by families or groups in connection with all types of ceremonies at the Cemetery, is an appropriate development at this Grange Centennial time!

Patrons will recall the great contribution that William Saunders, one of the Founders and the first National Master, made to the establishment of the Grange and to its early formative years.

One hundred years ago he was Superintendent of the Propagating Gardens of the United States Department of Agriculture. His office was a small brick building on the corner of Missouri Avenue .and 3y'2 Street, Washington, D.C. This became the first meeting place of the Grange Founders.

The Centennial Committee

Chairman: William J. Brake, Lecturer, National Grange, 5875 Montebello Avenue, Haslett, Mich.

Mrs. Sherman K. (Lida) Ives, Rt. 1, Morris, Connecticut

Mrs. Everett A. (Dorothy) Willard, Rt. 1, Newsport, Vermont

Matthias E. Smith, President, .Farmers and Traders Life Ins. Co., 960 James Street, Syracuse, New York

Kenneth P. Colby, Exec. Vice Pres., National Grange Mutual Ins. Co., Keene, New Hampshire

C. Dana Bennett, Foundation for American Agriculture, 1425 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Henry Roberts, President, Grange Mutual Life Company, Nampa, Idaho

Mrs. James W. (Agnes) Ingwersen, Junior Grange Superintendent, Rt. 2, LeRoy, Kansas

William J. Van Horn, President, Grange Insurance Association, 2717 3rd Avenue, Seattle, Washington

Herschel D. Newsom, National Master, The National Grange, 1616 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Consultant to the Centennial Committee: Dr. Raymond W. Miller, 1005 Dupont Circle Building, Washington, D.C.

National Master Saunders was an outstanding landscape architect, and when the National Cemetery at Gettysburg was conceived, he was called to the task of planning it. At President Abraham Lincoln's request he spent an evening at the White House going over the entire proposed layout. The President enthusiastically approved Mr. Saunders' recommendations, and early in October, 1863, interments began. Mr. Saunders was formally thanked by the Government, and received the personal thanks of President Lincoln for his great work.

Thus, it is appropriate that his name be linked with the Grange in the erection of this Memorial Meditation Center which will be dedicated on November 12, 1967, by Grange officers and thousands of members.

Plan Conceived by Alvin E. Hanson

The idea for this Family Meditation Center and Chapel was originally conceived and promoted by Alvin E. Hanson, late president of the Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Company, of Syracuse, N.Y.

As one of the original members of the Grange Centennial Celebration Committee, Mr. Hanson visited Gettysburg Cemetery. He was inspired to suggest that the Grange seek authorization from the U.S. Department of Interior to erect a suitable memorial to Mr. Saunders as one of the Centennial projects.

Mr. Hanson had studied, in the Grange Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., the hand-written Memoirs of Mr. Saunders "relating to my participation in the planning, and installing of the soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg." The details of Mr. Saunders' development of the cemetery plans intrigued Mr. Hanson, as did President Lincoln's personal interest in the topography of the area. Mr. Saunders related how he was invited to the dedication ceremony, and sat on the platform when the President delivered his famous address.

Mr. Hanson's dream was to have the Family Meditation Center and Chapel built in time for the Centennial observance. The Centennial Committee obtained approval from the U. S. Department of Interior to erect such a memorial, subject to the Department's approval of the final architectural plans for the structure.

On Mr. Hanson's untimely passing in December, 1965, his associates led by the then Executive Vice President Matthias' E. Smith, now President, of the Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Company, pledged that they would work closely with the Grange in carrying to completion the product of Mr. Hanson's ideas.

Law Essay Contest

Another Grange Centennial feature has been the preparation by law students of papers explaining the origin and history of the Granger Laws and their significance. Title of the National Contest sponsored by the Grange to obtain the cooperation of the certified law schools of the country was "The Impact of the Grange on Social Legislation." (See Chapter 6) .

The National Master and the Centennial Committee were greatly aided in developing rules for this contest, as well as procedures for properly announcing and conducting it, by a distinguished Advisory Committee of Law School Administrators:

Vernon X. Miller, Dean, School of Law, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C.

Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr., Dean, School of Law, Howard University, Washington, D. C.

B. J. Tennery, Associate Dean, Washington College of Law, The American University, Washington, D. C.

Richard Alan Gordon, Assistant Dean, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D. C.

Charles B. Nutting, Administrator, National Law Center, The George Washington University, Washington, D. C.

John G. Hervey, Dean, School of Law, Oklahoma City University, Advisor to Council, Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Members of the Board of Judges:

Judge Thurman Wesley Arnold, former Assistant Attorney General of the United States, in charge of Anti-Trust; for five years Associate Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals Washington, D. C.

Dr. Robert E. Goostree, Professor of Law, American University, Washington, D. C.

Father (Dr.) Joseph M. Snee, Professor of Law, Georgetown University, Washington, D. C.

Following announcement in November, 1966, of the winners of the $1000, $500, and $250 awards, the National Grange will publish these outstanding winning essays, as another Centennial feature.

Grange Caravan

The Grange Caravan is expected to include thousands of Grange members in a motorcade pilgrimage to the Nation's Capital, thence from Washington, D.C. to Gettysburg and on to Syracuse, N.Y. for the 101st Centennial Sessions of the National Grange opening on Monday, November 13, 1967.

Included in plans for the huge "celebration" will be special events in Washington, D.C. on November 10 and 11, 1967; the dedication of the Grange Family Meditation Center and Chapel at Gettysburg on Novem12, the full-scale meetings as well as Degree work at Syracuse. It is expected that the Seventh Degree will be conferred there on the greatest number of candidates ever assembled at a Grange session.

Among the additional Centennial projects are the:

Centennial Playwriting Contest

Conceived to provide plays to be used by Granges during the Centennial Year, this contest is sponsored by the Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Company, through the Lecturers Department.
Judging will be at the 1966 National Grange Session.

Centennial Songwriting Contest

This contest has been under way for several years. The ten best of each of the two classifications as selected by the judges each year will be eligible for the finals to be held at the 1966 National Grange Sessions.

U.S. 5c Centennial Postage Stamp

The design, consisting of a rural scene in the background with the Grange emblem super-imposed in foreground has been approved. The first issue of this 5c postage stamp is planned for the centennial year.

The Grange 1867-1967-First Century of Service and Evolution

In compliance with my assignment from the Centennial Committee to prepare this 128-page booklet briefly summarizing the "First Century of Service and Evolution," it becomes crystal clear that there is a wealth of important material and information available in various libraries, including the Grange Memorial Library in the Nation's Capital, to make a highly significant, comprehensive history of the Grange for this 100 years which will close, as this Centennial Celebration itself comes to a climax-in November, 1967.

Listing of Grange Monuments and Markers

This appropriate activity to build the "bank" of historical information about the Grange is being developed through the Grange Lecturers across the nation. Such information will prove of great value in development of another Centennial project to come in the next few years-the Comprehensive Grange History.

Comprehensive Century History

This will be a detailed history of the first 100 years of the Grange. Publication date is planned after the Centennial Year to encompass the full 100 years of Grange service. In connection with this, a plan is being developed to collect and safeguard Grange historical material, including preservation of historical material in Subordinate Granges in Archives and indexing of this material utilizing a specially-designed uniform indexing system so that all of the local material will be indexed in the same way for convenient reference. It is also planned that a pamphlet be prepared and distributed so that Grangers may be able to recognize and help preserve these historical materials.

Rebirth of National Grange Monthly Magazine

With evidence mounting of the need to improve communications within the Grange, to furnish more information to all members, to stimulate better discussions, and to reach influential nonmembers whose understanding and support are essential, the last Grange Annual Session voted to reactivate the official National Grange Monthly Magazine, thus adding a very significant feature to the Grange Centennial Program.

Its first issue will inaugurate the Centennial Year in November, 1966, and appear just ahead of the 100th Annual Session.

This reactivated publication will help build a closer relationship between members and the national unit of their Grange, and will carry on the traditions of the early Grange Weekly and the late Monthly that were strong, progressive, and vigorous advocates of Grange principles, and live exponents of the policies and national activities of the Grange.

Early in this century, when Vol. 1, No. 1 of the first Grange publication was started, the then National Master made this comment, which is as true today:

We are cognizant of the tremendous responsibility attached to the establishment and maintenance of a paper, national in scope, and representing an organization as this paper will represent, but the possibilities in such an undertaking are so great that we enter upon the task without hesitancy.

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