Journal-News, Monday, Sept. 7, 1992
World War II created job opportunities for women
By Jim Blount
World War II employment needs created opportunities for women, in factories and classrooms in Hamilton and on the cheerleading squad at Miami University.
At its Aug. 6, 1942, meeting the Hamilton Board of Education repealed part of a Depression-era action which had prohibited employment of married women teachers. It had adopted the single-only rule May 11, 1931.
The World War II military buildup in 1942 took men who had provided an ample labor supply for Hamilton's varied industries, many of whom were already in war production in 1941. As other local shops began switching to military-related work, many of the new employees were females.
In this war, the Journal-News explained, "women are putting their shoulders to the wheel, only this time it is not figuratively speaking. In World War I, women also did their part. They sold war bonds, knitted garments for soldiers and other sundry things to help the United States and her allies win the war. But this time it is vastly different."
The article said "if there is any doubt on this score, a visit to the National Youth Administration vocational training shop . . . will convince the most skeptic that the ladies can do a man's job and do it well."
In mid-May 1942, 95 of the 250 trainees at the center at the eastern end of Chestnut Street were women.
Albert C. Jacobs was superintendent of the shop and his staff of instructors included William Weber, J. C. DeRyan, James Purdy, Carl Soehner, Frank Foster, Charles Manny, Joseph Hottenroth, Lawrence Baskins, Roy Beaver and Wayne Shirley.
"The women are divided into two groups," the article said. "In one group, under supervision of the school board, the women are learning to operate lathes, planners, shapers and milling machines. In the other group, under NYA supervision, instruction in welding and machine shop work is given."'
Their training had started in April and they were to take jobs in industry by June 1.
"They should have little difficulty in finding employment," the newspaper said, "since 18 of the 20 defense industries in Hamilton have requested trained women for machine shop work."
The newspaper also said "some industrialists, especially those in the aeronautical field, declare that in several lines of work women are more efficient than men. They cite precision work, which requires delicate manipulation, as the field in which women excel."
The National Youth Administration had been created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in June 1935 as a Depression work-relief and employment program for persons between the ages of 16 and 25.
The NYA came under the direction of the War Manpower Commission in 1942 and its mission changed to training workers for national defense.
In February 1942, the Chestnut Street training had been placed on 24-hour operation with 250 trainees in machine shop, welding other programs under the direction of Homer Hage, Hamilton's supervisor of defense training.
The Hamilton Board of Education also approved expansion of the shop by moving portable buildings from Lincoln and Heitsman Hill schools to Chestnut Street to provide room for training an additional 182 persons.
In mid-July 1942, it was estimated Hamilton machine tool industries would need 1,500 additional workers within six months.
W. A. Betscher manager of the Hamilton of the U. S. Employment Service, announced plans to retrain some unemployed men and to train women and youth for jobs with classes operating 24 a day. By December Betscher estimated Hamilton factories would need 4,25S additional workers with only 1,577 available.
Meanwhile, four females participated in a change Sept. 26, 1942, when Miami University's football team opened its season with a 28-6 win over Centre College in Oxford, "the time girl cheerleaders have appeared at Miami football games."
# # #
Journal-News, Monday, Sept. 14, 1992
Raymond H. Burke composed Miami songs
(This is the first of two columns on Raymond H. Burke Oxford and Hamilton connections.)
By Jim Blount
Football season means bands and school songs, and when Miami University's team takes the fields this year it will be cheered by the words and music of Raymond H. Burke.
For more than 60 years, Redskins fans have been playing and singing the fight song attributed to the versatile Burke, who was successful in education, business and politics.
His name is synonymous with Miami music. Burke — who arrived in Oxford in 1906 — wrote both the words and music for the "Miami University Marching Song." He also composed the music for two other familiar university tunes, "Old Miami, Alma Mater Song" and the "Miami Scalp song."
After leaving Miami, Burke helped draft the Hamilton City Charter, was a six-term mayor of Hamilton and served in the Ohio Senate and U. S. House of Representatives.
Raymond Hugh Burke was born Nov. 4, 1991, in Nicholsville in Clermont County, a community located between New Richmond and Felicity. He was raised by grandparents after his parents died when he was six years old. He attended schools in Clermont County and in 1899 and 1900 he taught at Pendleton School, near Point Pleasant.
He attended Oberlin Academy (1900-1902) and Oberlin College (1902-1905), and earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Chicago in 1906, the same year he joined the Miami faculty in Oxford.
While attending summer school in 1907 at the University of Chicago, he worked on the composition of the "Miami University Marching Song."
"Following his return to Miami, the University of Chicago adopted a tune very similar to Miami's 'Marching Song,' which became very popular and well-known during Chicago's peak periods of Big Ten football competition," explained a Burke obituary.
Burke's words and music for the "Miami University Marching Song" — which begins with the words "Love and Honor to Miami, our college old and grand" — were first performed in March 1908 by a university chorus at the dedication of old Benton Hall (now Hall Auditorium).
Burke joined with Dr. Alfred H. Upham to write "Old Miami, Alma Mater Song" and the "Miami Scalp Song," which would become the background music for the Miami Indian dance at athletic contests.
Dr. Upham, a Miami professor and president, penned the words and Burke composed the music for both.
Burke was an instructor in geography and nature study during the 1906-1907 term and an assistant professor of geology in 1907-1908.
In 1908 Burke, who had been involved in music at Oberlin and Chicago, became the university's director of music.
He organized the school's first men's glee club, all-female chorus and mixed chorus.
Burke met his wife, Daisy Minnich, while teaching in Oxford, and left Miami in 1915 because of illness.
He moved to Hamilton, and worked for a local industry and in finance and insurance for almost 40 years.
Burke's interest in music continued while a Hamilton resident, and he served 39 years as choir director at the Presbyterian Church and wrote additional compositions. "He gave much of his time to promote good music in Hamilton," noted the Journal-News in Burke's obituary in 1954.
His 40-year political career began in 1927 with election to Hamilton City Council and concluded in 1948 at the end of a two-year term in the U. S. House.
After his political career ended, Burke returned to Miami as a lecturer in finance during the 1949-1950 school year.
Next week's column will detail Burke's business and political careers in Hamilton.
# # #
Journal-News, Monday, Sept. 21, 1992
Raymond H. Burke helped change Hamilton government
(This is the last of two columns on Raymond H. Burke Oxford and Hamilton connections.)
By Jim Blount
Raymond H. Burke died in 1954, but his musical and political contributions continue to serve Miami University and the city of Hamilton.
Burke held elected offices in Hamilton, Columbus and Washington for 20 years following his move from Miami. Before politics he had written the words and music for the "Miami University Marching Song" and had composed the music for "Old Miami, Alma Mater Song" and the "Miami Scalp Song."
A native of Nicholsville in Clermont County, he earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Chicago in 1906 and joined the Miami University faculty of Oxford that same year. Burke served in a variety of positions before leaving Miami in 1915 because of illness.
After that move the spend five years as personnel director at the Hooven Owens Rentschler Corporation, one of Hamilton's major industries and a leading employer. He later was employed by the Fort Hamilton Motor Company (1923-1926) and the Investors Service and Finance Company. In 1926 he became district agent for the Northwestern Life Insurance Company, a position he held until his death 28 years later.
Civic-minded Burke was a member of the board of directors of the Hamilton YMCA for more than 25 years. He continued his music interest in Hamilton, serving 39 years as choir director at the Presbyterian Church and writing additional compositions.
His political involvement began in November 1925 when Hamilton voters approved the formation of a charter commission to reform local government. Burke was one of 15 people elected to the commission responsible for drafting the document, which was approved by a margin of only 156 votes in November 1926.
He was elected to council in November 1927, the first election under the new charter. He was one of 30 people who sought seven at-large seats for the 1928-1929 term.
In an era when the office was based on election by members of council, Burke was chosen mayor of Hamilton for 12 years of his 14 and a half years on Hamilton City Council.
Five times from 1929-1937, when the number of candidates for seven seats ranged from 17-24, he was the leader in first-choice votes under the "PR" system (proportional representation).
This system, which was used to elect councils from 1927-1959, allowed voters to vote for as many candidates as they chose. Voters used numbers to designate the order of their choices. To be elected, a candidate had to meet a quota, which was determined by dividing the total vote by the number of seats to be filled and adding one.
Burke's 2,845 first-choice votes more than doubled the quota of 1,416 in November 1929 and he was the only candidate elected on the first count. He was re-elected in a similar manner in 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937.
After resigning from council June 2, 1942, Burke was elected as a Republican state senator and was returned to Columbus in 1944 where he was chairman of the agriculture committee and a member of the committees on finance, education, conservation and insurance.
In 1946, Burke was elected to a two-year term in the U. S. House of Representatives from the third Ohio District. His committee assignments included the panels on the Panama Canal and merchant marine and fisheries. He was chairman of the subcommittee on conservation and wildlife resources.
After failing to win re-election in November 1948, a Democratic year, Burke returned to Hamilton where the gifted musician and public servant died Aug. 18,1954.
# # #
Journal-News, Monday, Sept. 28, 1992
Paving Millville-Oxford Road monumental task in 1920s
By Jim Blount
It wasn't the first Butler County road to be paved, but, according to a 1921 newspaper report, Millville-Oxford Road was "completed under great difficulties," including railroad rates and federal regulations which complicated the delivery of materials.
The road, now a part of U. S. 27, "represents the highest type of paving in use today," proclaimed a February 1921 account. The 7.65-mile task was completed by the Andrews Asphalt Company, fulfilling a $288,308 contract which provided for a 16-foot wide pavement on a 26-foot right-of-way.
Employment ranged from 44 men with a weekly payroll of S973.65 to 217 men earning $7,639.50. The article said "it was necessary to pay highest wages, furnish transportation to and from Hamilton free of charge and to pay for labor each night. Laborers preferred to work in the city for less money then in the country."
The job included placing three inches of sheet asphalt on a six-inch concrete base, and the construction of culverts, bridges, banks and side ditches and excavations.
Preliminary work began in the spring of 1920 with the installation of a 8.5 mile — 45,000 feet — two-inch water line along the roadway. It was built in two sections, one providing water from Indian Creek in Millville, the other from Oxford water mains and stored in a 65,000-gallon cistern on a farm three miles from Oxford.
The railroad (now the CSX Hamilton-Indianapolis line) crossed the project at its midpoint, McGonigle, which was transformed into a construction center.
The newspaper described McGonigle in 1920 as "a community consisting of a station, blacksmith shop and five residences."
The contractor installed 1,000 feet of railway siding and a railroad crane to unload materials, plus "a field office, gravel and sand bins of 200 tons capacity, cement storage houses, barns and bunk houses, and a general store for the convenience of employees."
The article said seven rail cars of equipment were unloaded at McGonigle, one car each of cross ties and pipes and several cars of cinders and other materials, 450 cars of sand and gravel and 65 cars of cement. Railroad charges totaled $58,154 for 724 cars delivered to Hamilton and the McGonigle siding.
It required 100 working days, starting June 5, 1920, to complete the concrete foundation, using two large mixers. The six-inch foundation consumed 71,713.5 square yards of concrete while 525.6 cubic yards were used in building bridges and culverts.
"With the exception of the sand and gravel for one-half mile near the village of Millville," the article said, "all materials were received at McGonigle station by freight, unloaded and hauled to the mixers in heavy dump trucks."
An asphalt mixing plant built at McGonigle went into production Oct. 10. When freezing weather shut down the Oxford water line Nov. 10, Andrews had to bring water via rail from Oxford for the McGonigle asphalt plant boiler, which required at least 7,000 gallons daily.
"Never before in road building history has this been done," the Journal reported. "No railway tariffs had ever been established for hauling water for road construction." The railroad, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western, had to create an emergency rate for the project.
In its battle against winter, the Andrews company also hauled asphalt from a plant in Hamilton (an average trip of eight miles) in order to complete paving by Dec. 13.
Another problem was an Interstate Commerce Commission rule which "directed that all open top railroad cars be used for coal unless returning toward the mines on a direct line," a factor that increased the cost of materials.
Aug. 26, 1920 freight rates were raised an average of 40 percent, adding $10,417 to the cost of the project, described by the newspaper as "a monument to the contractors and engineers who built it."
# # #