In the Spring of 1911, thirty-two young men, under the leadership of Benjamin M. Day, a Manhattan lawyer, noted the lack of any Republican association especially appealing to younger Republicans in New York City. They sought a forum for expressing views which might on occasion be at variance with those of the party leaders. In order to work within and for the Republican Party, yet be free to criticize party policies and leaders and to champion candidates and causes independent of organization control, these men, in April 1911, resolved to form the New York Young Republican Club. The Club's first public appearance was a dinner held in December,1911. The guest of honor was the President of the United States, William Howard Taft, and the principal speaker was Senator William E. Borah. The Club's auspicious debut was attended by the leading politicians and office-holders of the day and was well publicized. Throughout the intervening years the purposes of the Club have not changed, and today the New York Young Republican Club, Inc. ranks as the largest, most renowned, and oldest active Young Republican Club in the country. Although the founders anticipated the enfranchisement of women by omitting the word "Men's' from the Club's name, membership in the Club was exclusively male until the mid-1970's when women were admitted. In 1927, under the leadership of its President, Thomas C. Desmond, a tremendous upsurge in the strength and effectiveness of the Club took place, and the membership expanded from less than one hundred to over two thousand. Desmond initiated the Honor Roll, which has provided an important source of revenue for the Club. Highlights that followed included the election, in 1932, of its own candidate, Herbert Brownell, Jr., as Assemblyman from the old 10th Assembly District, a Tammany stronghold. In 1933 the Club took a leading role in the creation of a Fusion ticket which, with the election of Mayor LaGuardia, ousted a long-entrenched Tammany regime in New York City. In that year also, the Club spearheaded the creation of the Association of New York State Young Republican Clubs, Inc. to act as a state-wide umbrella organization for Young Republican Clubs in New York State. However, the most significant event to take place in 1933 for the Club was the election of Chase Mellen, Jr., a member of the Club's Board of Governors, to the position of Chairman of the Republican County Committee in New York County which ushered in a golden era in the history of the New York Young Republican Club.
In the early years of this period. the Club was in the forefront of many campaigns, including the successful gubernatorial campaign in 1942 of Thomas E. Dewey, who had been Chairman of the Club's Board of Governors in 1931. In 1948 the Club actively supported one of its members, Jacob K. Javits, in his winning race for the 21st Congressional District seat. In 1952 the Club was among the first Republican organizations to go on record in favor of Dwight D. Eisenhower as Republican candidate for President, and from its ranks were formed the first citizens movements for "IKE". Many capable Club members joined the Eisenhower administration, among them, the late John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, Winthrop W. Aldrich as Ambassador to the Court of St. James who was succeeded by another Club member, John Hay Whitney and Herbert Brownell, Jr., as Attorney General. Former Board Chairman Harold H. Healy, Jr. was Executive Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, replacing former Club Presidents Charle s M. Metzner and John V. Lindsay. This period saw many former officers and members of the Club achieve prominence. In an attempt to broaden the base of the Republican party, the Club was influential in founding the United Young Republican Club in upper Manhattan through its sponsorship of the first Lincoln Day Dinner held in Harlem in over 25 years. In 1957, the Club was instrumental in the election of Stanley M. Isaacs to the New York City Council. In addition, the Club's initiated "Operation City Budget", a study and analysis of the City's Expense Budget which culminated in a well-documented appearance of Club members before the City's Board of Estimate. Two main issues dominated the Club's agenda starting in 1960. The first issue involved the question of whether to admit women to membership in the Club. All Club members supported running joint social events with The Young Women's Republican Club of New York, Inc. which was organized in 1934. However the Club was bitterly divided over the issues of whether and how to admit women to membership. Every year for the next decade, this issue was debated and voted on by the Club's membership.
Each year, the Club narrowly voted to keep the Club's membership exclusively male. The second issue which dominated the Club's agenda from 1960 to 1964 was the attempt to expose the malodorous aspects of the New York City administration and to bring them to public atten
In 1965, the efforts of the Club were rewarded with the election of former Club President, John V. Lindsay, as Mayor of New York City. Many Club officers accepted positions in the Lindsay administration and many of Mayor Lindsay's Commissioners were Club members. This intricate symbiotic relationship between the Club and the Lindsay administration gave the Club the opportunity to realize its ideal of bringing good government to the City of New York. The years 1970 through 1975 mark some of the most difficult days in the Club's history. Early in this period, Mayor Lindsay left the Republican Party and registered as a Democrat. As a result, almost all of the Club members and officers working in his administration similarly left the Republican Party and the Club. Those Lindsay supporters who remained were ineffective as Club leaders because of the perception that their support for the reelection bid of Mayor Lindsay on the Liberal Line made them disloyal to the Republican Party. Club membership continued to decline every year during this period. This happened primarily because Republican leaders in the city were angry at the Club for not supporting the Republican candidate for Mayor. Under normal circumstances, the Club would have been able to recover from this episode. However, this period was an especially difficult one for the Republican Party in New York City. The main reasons for this were because of "white flight" to the suburbs, the anti-war movement and Watergate. All these factors resulted in the Club becoming almost totally inactive by the time 1975 rolled around.
In an attempt to revitalize the Club, members finally supported an amendment to the bylaws allowing women to apply for membership in the New York Young Republican Club, Inc. To further improve its image, the Club elected Ellen Tencza to be the first woman to serve as President of the Club. Ellen Tencza served as President until 1978. During her administration, she worked hard to rebuild the Club's Board of Advisors and to enable the Club to once again provide support for Republican candidates running for office. In 1978, Carole Trimble became President backed by those who sought to bring the Club into a closer affiliation with New York Republican County Committee Chairman Vincent Albano. President Trimble turned out to be a very strong and independent leader for the Club. She pursued an independent course for the Club, tripled membership, built up the Board of Advisors and provided significant support for Republican candidates running for office. She was reelected President but resigned in the middle of her term to take a position in Washington D.C. Phyllis Friedman then became President for the remainder of President Trembles term. President Friedman presided over an administration which concentrated on supporting Republican candidates for office and on running activities for the Club membership. However, during this period, the Club became increasingly dependent on the New York Republican County Committee. In 1980, Lee A. Forlenza was elected President of the Club. Soon thereafter, JoAnn Albano Cohen, the County Chairman's daughter, became Chairman of the Board of Governors. This created an immediate political quandary for President Forlenza since the New York Republican County Committee Chairman was supporting George Bush for the Republican Presidential nomination while most of the Club's membership was supportive of Ronald Reagan. Despite President Forlenza's personal support for Reagan, the Board of Governors was pressured to support Vincent Albano, who was running as a Bush Delegate, over Maxwell Raab, who was running as a Reagan Delegate. Widespread resignations followed from the Board and from the Club's membership. Vincent Albano lost the delegate race. Thereafter, President Forlenza steered a more independent course for the Club. He presided over an administration that was able to unify the diverse elements of the Club. His administration laid the groundwork for the future growth of the Club.
in 1982, Thomas Robert Stevens was elected President of the Club. President Stevens was a resident of Queens County and was committed to rebuilding the Club into a strong independent city-wide republican organization. President Stevens proposed "Operation:Phoenix" which was a detailed proposal of the steps necessary to be taken to achieve this goal. The next six years were a period of near total unity and uninterrupted growth for the Club. From 1982 to 1984, the Club sponsored an issues oriented cable television show called "In Focus". In 1982, the Club played an active role in the campaign of Lewis Lehrman to become Governor. In 1984, President Stevens was named New York State Youth Coordinator for Reagan/Bush '84. Over 40% of the positions in the Youth for Reagan/Bush campaign were held by members of the Club. During the Stevens administration, the Club began to once again charter college chapters of the Club. Five independent Young Republican organizations merged into the New York Young Republican Club within the first two years of the Stevens administration. Membership soared, diplomatic trips were taken by Club members abroad and the Club once again began encouraging its own members to run for elective office. Chairman of the Board, Salvatore Calise, ran for Congress in both 1984 and 1986 in the 9th Congressional District. The Club took an active role in these and other campaigns. The years from 1984 - 1988 were marked by two significant developments. The first development began with the realization by President Stevens that New York City was fast becoming a one-party city, there being only one Republican left on the entire City Council. As a result, President Stevens sought to place the Club in the forefront of broadening the base of the Republican Party. To achieve this goal, Stevens established three outreach special committees of the Club in 1984 which were authorized to run programs and activities specifically for groups that were deemed to have become alienated from the Republican Party. The special committees which were formed were the Susan B. Anthony Republicans (for women), the Stonewall Republicans (for gays) and the Liberty Republicans (for African-Americans). In 1992 President Stevens formed a volunteer campaign force known as the Bush Brigade to help reelect President George Herbert Walker Bush. President Stevens committed his administration to the independence of the Club and to its restructuring in order to enable it to become an effective political force on an Assembly District level. Under his leadership, the Club championed good government. President Stevens committed his administration to rebuilding the Club so as to do honor to the memory of all of the former members who have served the Club with distinction.
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