Progress in Kansas

About the Magazine

The first issue of Progress in Kansas was published December 1934. Roy F. Bailey, President of what was then known as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, explained the magazine's purpose in "A Medium of Service," the lead article in that issue:

     In presenting this first issue of Progress in Kansas, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, frankly, is trying an experiment. Experience in the organization field has demonstrated the need for some regular means of contact with the membership and the Headquarters Office. Progress in Kansas has been established with the view of meeting that necessity, and the board of directors of the State Chamber has authorized its publication each month for a period of six months. If it appears to answer the need, it will be continued indefinitely; if it does not, it will be discontinued at the end of the trial period.
     As we conceive Progress in Kansas in the beginning, it will function as a medium of both service and information to the members of the State Chamber. It will be a house organ and, yet, something more than a house organ. It will keep the membership informed on State Chamber activities -- its first and most important objective; it will not overlook opportunities to publicize the resources and advantages of Kansas; and will furnish a forum in which the manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, labor, legislative, social welfare and other probems may be discussed, in an effort to reach a solution which will be of the greatest benefit ot hte greatest number of citizens of the state.
     In addition, it will be the aim of Progress in Kansas to serve as a clearing house for information dealing with the activities of local Chambers of Commerce thruout the state. To this end, news articles and suggestions are solicited from secretaries and officers of all local Chambers.
     Progress is, then, dedicated to the welfare and best interests of Kansas, to the advancement of the local Chambers and to the particular service of the members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Progress in Kansas did survive the six month trial, and the unexpected death four years later of its editor, Harold C. Place. In 1950, the format was changed to be more like a newspaper, and it was not until 1972 that the magazine finally ceased publication.

The magazine did report dutifully on Chamber activities, business trends, and other economic and business news of interest to Chamber members, as Mr. Bailey envisioned. But Progress offered much more than that. The regular feature "It Happened in Kansas" provided a place to note the unusual and humorous events in the Sunflower State, and "Kansans Say" provide thought-provoking remarks from written and spoken statements by well-known Kansans of the day, such as the Editor of the Wichita Eagle, Victor Murdock ("Each American should accent less on the material side of his existence and more on the spiritual side") and the Commander of the Kansas Department of the American Legion, Harrison Glidden ("Profiteering as a result of war is truly a form of treason").

Other articles, such as "Television Nears Reality," "Unusual Kansas Women," and "Football -- The Modern Game Compared with 50 Years Ago," provide a tantalizing look at the world Kansans lived in during the 1930's.

But most remarkable are the number of stories about Kansas history. From ancient civilizations to Indian heros to John Brown to constitutional conventions, Progress in Kansas almost always included one such article in each issue. Sometimes excerpts were provided from published works, sometimes the editor provided original articles, and at other times guest writers contributed stories, such as Kirke Mecham, then President of the Kansas State Historical Society and a neighbor of Mr. Place.

In these issues, then, are a legacy of history, not only about the Kansas of the 1930's and the economic and business concerns of that time, but also of the early days of civilization, settlement, and statehood. It is a most remarkable record!

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