Detail View: World War I Collection: Purpose and plan of the Four Minute Men

Collection Name: 
World War I Pamphlets Collection
Title: 
Purpose and plan of the Four Minute Men
Subtitle: 
a national organization of volunteer speakers for government presentation of topics of national importance to motion-picture theater audiences
Name Part: 
United States. Committee on Public Information. Division of Four Minute Men
Type of Resource: 
text
Place Term: 
Washington, D.C.
Publisher: 
Government Printing Office
Date Issued: 
1918
Issuance: 
monographic
Form: 
electronic
Internet Media Type: 
application/pdf
Extent: 
8 p. 28 cm
Digital Origin: 
reformatted digital
Note: 
Committee on Public Information. Division of Four Minute Men
Subject Topic: 
World War, 1914-1918 -- United States
Subject Authority: 
lcsh
Subject Name: 
United States. Committee on Public Information. Division of Four Minute Men
Subject Geographic Code: 
n-us---
Subject Geographic Code Authority: 
marcgac
Classification: 
D570.15 U58 1918
Related Item: 
General bulletin no. 7A
Related Item: 
Bulletin (United States. Committee on Public Information. Division of Four Minute Men) no. 7a
Identifier: 
i7175216x
Physical Location: 
University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Archives Dept.
Location URL: 
Access Condition: 
All rights reserved
Text: 
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION DIVISION OF FOUR MINUTE MEN November 25,1917 General Bulletin No. 7A 4 MINUTE MEM 4 10 JACKSON PLACE WASHINGTON, D. C. PURPOSE AND PLAN OF THE FOUR MINUTE MEN A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF VOLUNTEER SPEAKERS FOR GOVERNMENT PRESENTATION OF TOPICS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE TO MOTION-PICTURE THEATER AUDIENCES AUTHORIZED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THROUGH THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, TO COOPERATE WITH THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS FOR PUBLICITY ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE WAR ESTABLISHED JUNE 16, 1917 WASHINGTON GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1918 THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON November 9, 1917. TO THE FIFTEEN THOUSAND FOUR-MINUTE MEN OF THE UNITED STATES: May I not express my very real interest in tho vigorous and intelligent work your organization is doing in connection with the Committee on Public Information? It is surely a natter worthy of sincere appreciation that a body of thoughtful citizens, with the hearty cooperation of tho managers of moving picture theaters, are engaged in the presentation and discussion of the purposes and measures of these critical days, Men and nations are at their worst or at their best in any great struggle. The spoken word nay light the fires of passion and unreason or it nay inspire to highest action and noblest sacrifice a nation of freemen. Upon you Four-Minute Men, who are charged with a special duty and enjoy a special privilege in the command of your audiences, will rest in a considerable degree, the task of arousing and informing the great body of our people so that when tho record of these days is complete we shall read page for page with tho deeds of army and navy the story of the unity, the spirit of sacrifice, the unceasing labors, the high courage of the men and women at home who held unbroken the inner lines. My best wishes and continuing interest are with you in your work as part of the reserve officer corps in a nation thrice armed because through your efforts it knows better tho justice of its cause and the value of what it defends. Cordially and sincerely yours, (2) PURPOSE AND PLAN OF THE FOUR MINUTE MEN. PURPOSE. The Four Minute Men, a nation-wide organization of volunteer speakers, was organized June 16, 1917, for the purpose of assisting the various Departments of the Government in the work of national defense during the continuance of the war, by presenting messages on subjects of vital national importance to motion-picture theater audiences during the intermission. The subject matter is prepared and the speaking is directed from Washington under' the authority of the Government. AUTHORITY. The Four Minute Men organization is a Division of the Committee on Public Information. This committee was created by Executive order of the President of the United States, dated April 14, .1917. This committee, as appointed in the Executive order, consists of: George Creel, Chairman. The Secretary of State. The Secretary of War. The Secretary of the Navy. The Four Minute Men was made a Division of the Committee on Public Information on June 16, 1917, with the personal approval of President Wilson, who requested that the work of the organization be extended as rapidly as possible throughout the country. PLAN OF ORGANIZATION. The Division of Four Minute Men is in charge of a Director, William McCormick Blair, appointed by the Committee on Public Information. He is assisted in the work at national headquarters of the organization by a staff of assistants, and the cooperation of the other divisions of the Committee on Public Information. In each State there is a State Chairman of the Four Minute Men, cooperating with the State Councils of Defense, Public Safety Committees, Chambers of Commerce, or other recognized public bodies. The State Chairman is appointed by the Director. In each city o'r community where the work is organized there is a Local Chairman of the Four Minute Men who is appointed by the State Chairman, the appointment being confirmed by the Director at Washington. The Local Chairman enrolls a sufficient number of volunteer speakers to cover the motion-picture theaters in his city or community. The State Chairman, Local Chairmen, and. Speakers are governed by standardized instructions issued by the Director in Washington. The individual speakers are also governed by any special instructions that may be issued by the Local Chairman in accordance with the authority vested in him. SPEAKING PRIVILEGES. The privilege of speaking in motion-picture theaters during the intermission is held by agreement with the owners and managers, who grant this permission as a matter of patriotic service to the Government. 41950°-18 (3) 4 The Government considers all moving-picture theaters of the United States a part of the Four Minute Men organization. Therefore when they cooperate with this one Government organization they are not asked or expected to allow other speakers to use their theaters. Speakers enrolled as Four Minute Men are permitted and freely encouraged to accept miscellaneous speaking engagements, provided that they speak as individual citizens, and not as speakers authorized by the Government. This organization has no authority to speak as a representative of the Government except in accordance with the standard plan which has the approval of the Government. In certain communities where there are no motion-picture theaters, or where there are other gatherings suitable for the purpose, the privilege of speaking is a matter of mutual arrangement between the Local Chairman and the proper authorities in charge of such meetings. The material and subject matter furnished to Four Minute Men, being matters deemed worthy of being made public, may be used, as any other correct information may be used, at the discretion of the speaker. TOPICS OF SPEAKERS. The topics spoken upon by Four Minute Men are matters of national importance connected with the war plans of the Government. They are assigned to the speakers, by the Director in Washington, for a given period of time, usually from one to four weeks. The topic to be used at any given time is determined by a consideration of what is uppermost at the time, and represents an agreement between the Director of the Four Minute Men and the various Government authorities who may be concerned. At the beginning of each new topic a Bulletin of Instructions is issued, and sent to the Chairmen, in quan-ities to cover the list of speakers. These Bulletins are immediately distributed to the speakers in ample time o allow for thorough preparation. Accompanying the Bulletin of Instructions is a Budget of Material conaining the facts necessary to the preparation of an effective speech upon the topic, and an outline of the essenial points which the speaker is expected to establish in the minds of his audience. PREPARATION OF SPEECHES. When a new topic is announced for a given period each Speaker receives from his Local Chairman a copy of the Bulletin issued from Washington containing all necessary instructions and a Budget of Material. Within the limits necessarily fixed to insure the adequate presentation of essential points, each speaker prepares lis own speech. A Four Minute Speaker appears before the public as an authorized representative of the Government. He should therefore adhere to the subjects and to the manner of approach of these subjects as outlined in the 'Budget of Material." He selects from the budget that material which is backed by his strongest convictions: hen his presentation will be all the more forceful. Extraneous comments, however, and personal viewpoints of speakers supplementary to those given should not be expressed on an occasion when the speaker is publicly onnounced as a Government representative. GENERAL POLICY FOR THE ORGANIZATION. The attitude of the speaker toward his audience should be that he is privileged, as one of the community, o present a message of national importance upon which the Government deems it wise that the public should e informed. By their direct contact in Washington with all branches of the Government the Four Minute Men re in a position to obtain correct information on war plans and policies which the public is entitled to know. The speakers volunteer to render a national service by conveying this information to the public. The speaker has a right to assume that the people in his audience are eagerly interested in the message which, he brings them, and are loyal Americans, ready to respond to the needs of the Nation so far as they may e able. He will never take the attitude that he is intruding upon an evening's pleasure at the theater and lust beg their indulgence. He has a supreme right to be there and should feel this to the utmost. But, under he definite agreement with the motion-picture industry, that right expires in exactly four minutes. 5 HOW TO ORGANIZE LOCAL BRANCHES. It is desired to have Local Branches of the Four Minute Men established in every city and community where there are motion-picture audiences. In any community where the work is not yet established, and the matter comes to the attention of any person who appreciates its importance sufficiently to help organize a Local Branch, such person is requested to write to the State Chairman, whose name and address will be found on page 7 of this Bulletin. The State Chairman will take such steps as are expedient in establishing the work at that point, and will appoint a Local Chairman to organize and carry on the work. There are three ways in which a Local Chairman may be appointed to undertake the work in any given community, and for each there is a standard method of procedure, as follows: 1. He may be appointed direct by the State Chairman. The State Chairman is often assisted in this work by County Chairmen, who recommend the Local Chairmen and supervise the activities of their respective counties. 2. The State Chairman may request that an appointment be made by some responsible local business organization or public official, subject to confirmation. 3. Three or more citizens in any community may indorse a man for Local Chairman and secure his appointment by the State Chairman, whose name is given on page 8. This procedure presupposes local provision for necessary expenses, such as office and clerical assistance. The State Chairman will furnish the necessary blanks required by the standardized plan. When the proper papers concerning the appointment of a Local Chairman are received in Washington, and approved by the Director, the requisite number of introduction slides, bulletins, and speakers' material will be promptly forwarded to the Local Chairman. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO LOCAL CHAIRMEN AND SPEAKERS. 1. All speeches must be absolutely limited to four minutes. There must be no deviation from this rule, even if the theater management is lenient. Our general understanding with the motion-picture exhibitors is most explicit upon this point, and to hold the platform longer than four minutes constitutes a direct breach of contract. 2. Speakers who do not conform to this positive time limit should be relieved of further assignments. Much experience has made this a matter for strict action on the part of the Local Chairman. It is the duty of the Chairman to make this point clearly understood by speakers. 3. The speaker should be on hand in ample time to make all arrangements and get to the platform at the moment previously assigned to him. Experience with local theaters and audiences will guide the Chairman as to whether it is best to have the speaker appear immediately following the last reel or to allow the orchestra to start and to have the advertising slides shown in order to give the audience time to settle down. 4. Unless there are special instructions or special reasons to the contrary do not speak in any one theater on the same subject more than twice a week. 5. Do not assign the same man continually to the same theater. 6. The speaker should know exactly when the intermission comes in the theater to which he has been assigned. The arrangement for him to speak should have been previously made with the theater management. The speaker must arrive promptly, in ample time to complete all arrangements, giving his introduction slide to the operator with the proper instructions. The speaker will be ready at the platform when the slide is shown. When the slide has had time to be read, say 15 seconds, the speaker steps immediately upon the platform and begins speaking. He speaks for exactly four minutes, and immediately leaves the platform. He secures the return of his slide, and repeats this procedure according to his further appointments. 7. If a speaker is interrupted by a question from the audience he should either ignore it, or state that he has no understanding with the theater management that he is to take time to answer questions. 6 8. It is imperative that all friction with motion-picture theater owners and managers should be avoided. Preserve the very best of cordial relations with them. They are voluntary contributors to the work of the Four Minute Men, and their interests must be protected. Never hesitate to omit a speech, even if permission has been previously given, if for any reason this is suggested by the theater management. 9. Bulletins are sent direct to the Local Chairman several days in advance of the opening of a speaking campaign upon a given topic. These bulletins should be distributed to the speakers immediately so they will have ample time to prepare their speeches. 10. In addition to the Bulletins, Budgets of Material, and Typical Speeches sent out to Local Chairmen for distribution to the speakers, there are sent from time to time, other official publications of the Committee on Public Information. It is also possible to obtain, on request, copies of other documents issued by the various Departments of the Government. Many articles about the war plans of the Government appear in the leading periodicals of the country. Numerous books are obtainable which show important facts and points of view relating to the war. All these sources of information should be utilized by speakers in preparing a background of solid information which will add force to their speeches. 11. It is assumed that the Local Chairman will call to his assistance such committees as he requires to accomplish the work in hand. These will necessarily vary with the number of theaters and speakers enrolled. In large cities it has been found expedient for the Local Chairman to appoint three committees: (a) The Executive Committee, for general counsel and assistance; (6) the Speakers' Committee, to hear the speakers and advise the Chairman as to their qualifications for the work; (c) the Theater Committee, to include at least one motion-picture theater owner or manager. In smaller communities the Executive Committee may cover the functions of the other two. Important.—We can not emphasize too strongly the necessity of enrolling good speakers only; a poor one is worse than none and lowers the standard of your organization. Speakers should be continually checked up as to their message, delivery, and time limit. 12. The final or closing impression made by a speaker is of the utmost importance. Many good speakers and authorities on the art of speaking agree that it is advisable to write out and memorize the closing paragraph. CREDENTIALS. MEMORANDUM. This memorandum formally records the approval of the Four Minute Men as a Division of the Committee on Public Information. It is the only officially recognized organization of speakers to operate in motion-picture theaters in behalf of the Government during the war. Committee on Public Information. George Creel, Chairman. June 16, 1917. EXECUTIVE ORDER. I hereby create a Committee on Public Information, to be composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and a civilian who shall be charged with the executive direction of the committee. As civilian chairman of the committee I appoint Mr. George Creel. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy are authorized each to detail an officer or officers to the work of the committee. Woodrow Wilson. April 14, 1917. 7 STANDARD INTRODUCTION SLIDES. The authority of each speaker to speak as an accredited representative of the Government is shown by an introduction slide which is thrown upon the screen immediately prior to his appearance upon the platform. The slide is furnished to the speaker by his Local Chairman, with his name properly filled in. The Local Chairman receives his supply of slides, with a blank space for the speaker's name, from the national headquarters of the organization in Washington. An emergency supply of blank slides is also held by the State Chairman. The wording of these standard slides as now used is similar to the following: 4 MINUTE MEM 4 Washington, D. C. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT Presents DONALD M. RYERSON Who will speak four minutes By authority of THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, Appointed by the President. Important.—The Local Chairman will send the blank slides to a slide maker, show-card writer, or sign painter, who will either write in the name of the speaker in india ink on the outer surface of the slide (in which case it can be erased for use by another speaker) or he can cut the paper binding and carefully write the name on the gelatine surface of the inside slide and replace the binding. (This last method is most permanent.) TYPICAL TOPICS. The general topics which have been covered by Four Minute Men are typical of those to be used. Those used prior to this writing have been as follows: The Liberty Loan________________________May 22 to June 15, 1917. The Red Cross Hundred Million Dollar Campaign_ _″____________________________June 18 to June 25. Food Conservation________________________July 1 to July 14. Why We Are Fighting_____________________July 23 to August 5. The Nation in Arms_______________________August 6 to August 26. What Our Enemy Really Is________________August 27 to September 23. Unmasking German Propaganda___________August 27 to September 23, supplementary topic. Onward to Victory________________________September 24 to October 7. The Second Liberty Loan of 1917__________October 8 to October 28. The Food Pledge Card Campaign___________October 29 to November 4. Maintaining Morals and Moral ___________November 12 to November 25. Carrying the Message______________________November 26 to December 22, 1917. War Savings Stamps______________________January 2 to January 19, 1918. The Shipbuilder (securing recruits)_________January 28 to February 9. Eyes for the Navy (requests for binoculars, etc.)___________________________________February 11 to February 16. " Danger to Democracy_____________February 18 to March 11. 8 NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS. The national headquarters of the Four Minute Men is with the Committee on Public Information, 10 Jackson Place, Washington, D. C. The officers in charge are: "William McCormick Blair, Director. E. T. Gundlach, Associate Director. Philip L. Dodge, Associate Director. Keith J. Evans, Business Manager. NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL. Samuel Hopkins Adams, Ensenore, N. Y. Mac Martin, Security Building, Minneapolis, Minn. Wm. H. Ingersoll, 315 Fourth Avenue, New York, N.Y. Samuel F. B. Morse, Crocker National Bank Building, Prof. S. H. Clark, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill. San Francisco, Cal. THE LIST OF STATE CHAIRMEN. The State Chairmen of Four Minute Men, in office on February 15. 1918, are as follows: Alabama..........................John S. Tilly, Montgomery. Arizona............................George J. Stoneman, Phoenix. Arkansas...........................Hon. H. L. Remmel, 921 Southern Trust, Little Rock. California........................William V. Cowan, care State Council of Defense, Sacramento. Colorado.........................Senator William R. Eaton, First National Bank Building, Denver. Connecticut........................Rev. Morris Ailing, 26 State Capitol, Hartford. Delaware..........................Clarence J. Pyle, Fourth and Shipley Streets. Wilmington. District of Columbia............... Florida............................Curtis R. Kessler. Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. Jacksonville. Georgia...........................Harrison Jones, care State Council of Defense. Atlanta. Idaho..............................Harvey Allred, State Council of Defense, Boise. Illinois...........................George R. Jones, 120 West Adams Street, Chicago. Indiana............................P. T. White, C, C, C. & St. L. Ry., Indianapolis. Iowa..............................E. B. Wilson, 701 Locust Street, Des Moines. Kansas.......-....................Curtis W. Myers, State Capitol Building, Topeka. Kentucky..........................Davis W. Edwards, Louisville Trust Building, Louisville. Louisiana.........................Delvaille H. Theard, 624 Gravier Street, New Orleans. Maine..............................Paul Nixon, care Public Safety Commitlee, Brunswick. Maryland..........................Henry W. Williams, Park Avenue and Lexington Street, Baltimore. Massachusetts....................A. D. Converse, Winchendon. Michigan...........................M. J. Phillips, War Preparedness Board, Lansing. Minnesota.........................D. R. Cotton, 1414 Pioneer Building. St. Paul. Mississippi..........................J. L. Neill, Agricultural College. Starkville. Missouri..........................E. M. Grossman, 718 Rialto Building, St. Louis. Montana..........................R. O. Kaufman, Helena. Nebraska.....................___Prof. Miller M. Fogg, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Nevada............................Hon. P. A. McCarran, Carson City. New Hampshire................... Harry F. Lake, State House, Concord. New Jersey........................Ben E. Chapin, 494 Broad Street. Newark. New Mexico.......................Laurence F. Lee, Albuquerque. New York.........................J. C. Auchincloss, 53 East 44th Street, New York < 'ity. North Carolina....................Col. Santford Martin, care State Council of Defense, Raleigh. North Dakota....................H. H. Wooledge, Fargo. Ohio...............................Harry L. Vail, City Hall, Cleveland. Oklahoma.........................N. R. Graham, acting chairman, Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa. Oregon........._________.........Sherman R. Hall, Lewis Building, Portland. Pennsylvania......................Henry B. Hodge, Finance Building, Philadelphia. Rhode Island......................Edward J. W. Proffitt, care of Proffitt-Lareher Advertising ('o., Providence. South Carolina..................Joe Sparks, 701 Union Bank Building, Columbia. South Dakota.....................H. F. Brownell, Sioux Falls. Tennessee...............- -........Porter Dunlap, State Treasurer, Nashville. Texas..............................Joseph Hirsch, Corpus Christi. Utah.............................. J. S. Critchlow, Salt Lake City. Vermont...........................Mason S. Stone, Vermont Committee of Public Safety, Montpelier. Virginia...........................Lewis H. Machen, care of Legislative Reference Bureau, Richmond. Washington.......................M. P. Goodner, State Council of Defense, Olympia. West Virginia ._______............William Burdette Mathews, P.O. Box 1233, Charleston. Wisconsin.......:___..............Roger Y. Flanders, First National Bank Building, Milwaukee. Wyoming..........................Henry G. Knight, State Council of Defense, Cheyenne. Alaska..............-.............Ralph E. Robertson, 200 Seward Building, Juneau. Canal Zone........................ Rev. Russell J. Pirkey, Balboa Heights. Hawaii____........................Royal D. Mead, Bank of Hawaii Building, Honolulu. The present enrollment of speakers is over 20,000. These figures are increasing daily Washington : government pkinti.nu office : 1918