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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  AAA


The New York Times
December 5, 1909

Creation of Active Offices and Proposed Enforcement of Rules of the Roads Meets Approval.


A. G. Bachelder and Samuel E. Butler Will Put New Life Into American Organization.

More matters of importance were accomplished last week at the two days' session of the American Automobile Association during its annual meeting at the Hotel Belmont than ever before in the history of the National organization.  Over fifty directors representing ten states were present at the sessions, and the results accomplished mean that the work of the National body during the coming year, in everything that makes for the best interests of motoring both as a pleasure and a sport, will be carried on in a broader and more effective manner than heretofore.

President Lewis R. Speare's annual report, illustrating as it did a thorough understanding of automobile conditions in all parts of the country, and his complete grasp of the work of the various boards, met with unanimous approval.  While Mr. Speare has been well known in automobile circles for many years, it has only been since his accordance of the A. A. A. Presidency at the resignation last year of William H. Hotchkiss that Mr. Speare has become widely known in National automobile affairs.

Not the least of the important results accomplished was the consolidation of the more important offices of the association in New York City.  The Contest Board under the Chairmanship of Samuel M. Butler, the official headquarters of the A. A. A. publication under the editorship of A. G. Batchelder and the Touring Information Board, although the latter still remains under the Chairmanship of Powell Evans of Philadelphia, will hereafter be located at the National headquarters, 437 Fifth Avenue, New York, additional room having been secured to accommodate this accession to the working force of the main office. The Legislative Board under the Chairmanship of Charles Thaddeus Terry has had its headquarters in New York for some time, so that now every important phase of the A. A. A.'s work, with the exception of the Good Roads Board, under the Chairmanship of George C. Diehl of Buffalo, will be centred in New York City.

The work of the Legislative Board, which in many respects is of a technical nature and therefore not so readily understood by the automobilists at large, having some of the more spectacular phrases of motoring, was treated at considerable length by Mr. Speare.  He urged that the hearty support of the different State associations be given to the legislative work during the coming year and showed that the time was ripe for evidences of this co-operation in rendering the assistance so necessary to make the first National Legislative Convention in Washington next February a success, when the Federal Registration bill will be brought before Congress and the necessity of uniform State automobile law will be presented to all the State representatives and delegates in attendance.  Mr. Speare in speaking of the Massachusetts State law said that while not exactly perfect it is one of the fairest to be found in the country.

"I would like to urge upon all automobilists," he said, "the necessity of standing squarely for fair and impartial legislation, as I believe the best interest of motor car users can only be obtained by fair and equitable laws.  Reckless driving, especially through our large cities, should not be countenanced by this association, and the most vigorous steps should be taken to see that this condition is changed.  To this end I most heartily recommend the licensing of all drivers."

The association ratified without a dissenting voice this firm stand for proper observance of all that is best in automobiling.  Mr. Speare referred in terms of hearty appreciation to the earnest support given by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers to the American Automobile Association, the governing body in America.

Among the important recommendations, all of which met with favor, as shown by the consolidation of the offices and the creation of the new office of Chairman of the Executive Committee, which originated with the President, was one that will probably materially change the methods, although not the objects of the annual Glidden tour.  Mr. Speare suggested that instead of this annual event being known hereafter under that name the National tour should be conducted as the American Automobile Association National Endurance Run, and that the Manufacturers' Contest Association be requested to draw up rules for such a run at the close of which every entrant shall be given a certificate of performance with the rules adopted by the manufacturers, but that no trophy be awarded to any contestant.  This met with general approval, and a special committee of three was appointed to confer with Mr. Glidden regarding the disposition of his trophy.  The subject has been discussed with Mr. Glidden, and he has stated his hearty accord with any arrangement for the disposition of his trophy which may be for the best interest of the motorists.

In referring to Chairman Diehl's work on the Good Roads Board, Mr. Speare spoke of the necessity of supporting the third annual Good Roads Convention next Fall in St. Louis, and he referred with enthusiasm to the work of Mr. Evans of the Touring Information Board, noting especially the invitation to membership largely through Mr. Evans's efforts of the A. A. A. in the International League of Touring Clubs.  The evidences of growth as noted in Secretary Elliott's report demonstrated conclusively that public interest in automobiling has by no means reached its limit.  The present membership of the association is now upward of 25,000, an increase during the year of over 50 per cent.  Six new State associations were added, and the total number of clubs now affiliated with the National body is 225.

Treasurer H. A. Bonnell's report was particularly gratifying, showing a balance approximately of $12,000.  The report of Mr. Terry's special committee to dissolve the A. A. A. as a New Jersey corporation and reorganize it as a membership body under the laws of Connecticut was unanimously adopted.  The papers have been prepared for this change and will be filed in Connecticut at an early date.

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