Sunday, 01 March 2015 17:23

A History of Founder's District

Written by Roy D. Graham, DTM, PID
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[The text below is reprinted verbatim from articles published in The Founder during 1985-1986 by Roy D. Graham]

The most important matter coming out of the annual convention of Toastmasters International at San Diego in 1934, was the decision to provide better supervision of the forty clubs through the formation of Districts.
All of the clubs in California and Arizona were to be assigned to District One, and those in Washington and Oregon, to District Two.
The rapid growth of the movement created districts three, four, and five out of the District One. At an eastern division council meeting of District One on February 19, 1944, Graham J. Albright, Lt. Governor, appointed a committee to study the advisability of again dividing District One. At a meeting of the International Board of Directors, James Barnet, Governor of District One, moved the approval of a request for final division. The motion carried.


One great difficulty arose over the numbering of the new districts. The men of the Los Angeles Area, constituting the western division of the district, were quite determined to retain their title of District One, while those of the eastern division, centering on Santa Ana, thought they should have that number.
A compromise was worked out when Graham Albright came up with the suggestion that we relinquish number one to our Los Angeles neighbors, and call ourselves “Founders District” in view of the fact that Ralph C. Smedley lived in this area view of the fact that Ralph C. Smedley lived in this area. The idea appealed, and the controversy was settled to the satisfaction of all. It was approved by the International Board of Directors and Founders District began operations on July 1, 1944, under the leadership of Graham J. Albright as Governor.
There were 18 clubs in the District, divided into three areas simply one, two, and three with six clubs in each area. Six new clubs were charted during 1944-1945 and Area-4 was activated.

That Fall Council meeting also voted to separate the District in “Eastern” and “Western” divisions for the purposes of selecting speech contest participants.
The first District Humorous Speech Contest was held during the year 1954-55. The District winner was determined immediately after the noon luncheon at the Spring Council Meeting.
The first District Bulletin, called “ALL POINTS BULLETIN” began publication in 1954. The Editor was Richard Michter. This Bulletin was discontinued after several years. Regular publication of a new District Bulletin was resumed in 1963 under the guidance of District Governor Donald F. Foss, DTM. It was named “The Founder”.
At the Spring Council meeting in 1956, the District was again divided by the formation of Division “C”, and the office of “Lieutenant Governor” for the District was changed to “Administrative Lieutenant Governor”. The District officers elected were:

  • Paris S. Jackson, Administrative Lt. Governor;
  • John B. Zimmerman, Lt. Governor, Division “A”;
  • Maurice A. Shenbaum, Lt. Governor, Division “B”;
  • and Horton Swisher, Lt. Governor, Division “C”.

At the 1963 Spring Conference, the District Council voted to add Division “D”. William W. Irwin was elected as the first Governor of that division.
In 1965, under Governor H. Al Richardson, the District grew to 118 clubs, the largest increase in the District’s first 35 years.
The title “Administrative Lt. Governor” was changed to Senior Lt. Governor, at the 1968 Spring Council Meeting and Vance J. Mingus was elected as the first Senior Lt. Governor.
Later, at the request of Toastmastes Internaional, all districts adopted uniform titles for the three top district officers. The titles of District Governor, Educational Lt. Governor, and Administrative Lt. Governor were approved by the District Council at the Spring Conference on May 15, 1971 and became effective July 1 of that year.

The Silver Anniversary of Founders District was celebrated March 22, 1969, with a dinner-dance at the Grand Hotel in Anaheim. Past Governors, Paris S. Jackson and Maurice A. Shenbaum, were co-chairmen, and Governor C.A. (Bud) Welch, presided. During the program the new District insignia, designed by Past District Governor Max R. McVay, DTM, was displayed for the first time.
Three Past Governors of Founder’s District were elected Directors of Toastmasters International: Glen E. Welch in 1953; Paris S. Jackson in 1960 and Amos W. Randall in 1964.
Two of these were also elected to senior offices in Toastmasters International during that period.: Paris S. Jackson was elected Vice President for Education in 1962, Senior Vice President in 1963, and President in 1964. Amos W. Randall was elected Third Vice President in 1968.
The Constitution and By-laws of Toastmasters International were amended at the International Convention in 1972 to permit the induction of women members, a change which had profound and beneficial effects on the membership growth and officer makeup of Founder’s District in subsequent years.
The 1974 Toastmasters International Convention was hosted by Founder’s District, under District Governor A.W. Hoffner, from August 13 through August 17 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Past District Governors C.A. (Bud) Welch, ATM, and Vance J. Mingus, DTM, served as Co-Chairmen for the event. More than 100 Toastmasters from Founder’s District volunteered their services fro the five-day period.
Under the leadership of Governor John S. Latin, DTM, Founder’s District received recognition as a Distinguished District in 1975-1976.
Past District Governor John S. Latin, DTM, was elected to the International Board of Directors in 1976 and served with distinction for his two-year term.
Founder’s District reached the top in 1976-77 as a President’s Distinguished District under Governor Walt Hamilton, DTM.
Recognition as a Distinguished District came again in 1978, under Governor Howard R. Clark, DTM. During the same year, “THE FOUNDER” was awarded the distinction of “Top Ten District Bulletin,” under the editorship of May C. Lee, CTM; and only one year after its chartering, Rockwell Bicentennial Club 3798 became the first club in Founder’s District to be designated as one of the Top Ten Clubs in Toastmasters International.

The period from 1981 to 1985 was one of the most memorable in the history of Founder’s District because of the great honor bestowed on many of its members.
John S. Latin, DTM, was elected President of Toastmasters International; D. Adele Stagner, DTM, PDG, elected to the International Board of Directors; Roy Fenstermaker, DTM, declared the “World’s Champion Speaker” at the International Convention; Hoyt Curtis and Kermit Ekegren, DTM, received a “Presidential Citation” and Roy D. Graham, DTM, PID, continued to host the annual luncheon of past officers and directors of the International at the yearly convention.
At the fall conference of Adele Stagner’s administration, Ed Cargile, DTM, was elected Governor for the 1982-83 term, and Roy Fenstermaker was awarded the Gene Beckwith Memorial Trophy while we again became a “Distinguished District”.
The Ed Cargile, DTM, administration saw Peggy McMahon, DTM, and Kermit Ekegren, DTM, awarded the Gene Beckwith Memorial Trophy for outstanding achievements. Both fall and spring conferences were well attended and a special committee was established to survey the operations of the District and some changes recommended, while most operations were commended.
Myra Obert, DTM, was elected Governor for the 1983-84 term and had a gratifying year. The spring conference of 1984 at Palm Springs surpassed any previous year, with over 600 present as Eddie Dunn, DTM, President of Toastmasters International paid the official visit to the District. His wife, Beverly, accompanied him.
Jacqueline De River-Daniel, DTM, and Vance Mingus, DTM, were awarded the Gene Beckwith Memorial Trophy at Palm Springs and we were again declared a “Distinguished District”.
Herb Stockinger, DTM, was elected Governor for 1984-85 and during his administration, the “Speaker Evaluation Contest” was activated at the club, area, division, and district level. At the close of his administration, there were 217 clubs in 44 areas and more than 4500 members, making Founder’s District the largest in all of Toastmasters International, all of which again earned the title of “Distinguished District”. Sam Donaldson, DTM, and Colette Gardner, DTM, were awarded the Gene Beckwith Trophy for their continued efforts on behalf of the membership.
Myra Obert, DTM, PDG, was the host chairman for the Region II conference held in Irvine, California.

[In 1985, Roy D. Graham was tasked with recording the history of Founder's District to date, and his research was published in The Founder of that year. The result of his research was eventutally compiled into a document which included a listing of past District Governors, awards winners, and the Distict operations which is now known as the District Polices and Procedures Manual. Each year a committee is given the responsibility of updating and maintaining this important document. The history and awards portion is now being moved to the Founders District web site for easier maintenance. You can find the current version of this document here.]

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