Cover, March, 1964
motive (always spelled with a lowercase “m”) was the official magazine for the Methodist Student Movement from its founding in 1941 and, for a few years at the end of its life, for the entire University Christian Movement (UCM). Much celebrated even at the time for its avant garde editorial and artistic vision, in 1966 Time magazine said it stood out among church publications “like a miniskirt at a church social.” It was the single runner-up to Life as Magazine of the Year in 1965. Ultimately, its strong stands on civil rights, Vietnam, and emerging gender issues became more than the Methodist Church officials could take. They withdrew funding and it ceased publication in 1972. An entire generation of religious activists were shaped by its vision. On this site, we will explore what it was and what it meant.
Project Director: B. J. Stiles
The lecture 60′s-era motive editor B.J. Stiles gave at the School of Theology fall semester, “motive Magazine: Methodism’s Icon and Albatross,” is now available for viewing at BUniverse!
A new Washington Post story about Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State describes her as “a wonky Methodist who believes she is supposed to make good things happen.” Clinton has in the past credited motive magazine as an important formative influence. You can find the story here.
A cartoon by motive cartoonist Jim Crane in 1960 and a print by Robert Hodgell in 1968 both address the issue of income inequality and how people think about their money. Either could have been done yesterday. The Hodgell print was included in a recent Eckerd College exhibit, “Robert Hodgell in an Election Year.”
by Jim Crane, motive, April 1960
by Robert Hodgell, 1968
With support from the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, 1960s-era motive magazine editor, B.J. Stiles, and Ada Focer, Research Director of CGCM, were able to travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to meet with 1950s and 1960s-era motive artist Jim Crane, best known for his cartoons, and the people at Eckerd College where Crane, Peg Rigg, and Robert Hodgell all worked for decades after motive shut down, who are preserving and exhibiting these artists’ work.
B.J. Stiles and Jim Crane
Peg Rigg, 2009
Peg Rigg was hired as art editor in 1955 right out of seminary. She also had a M.F.A. at the Chicago Art Institute. She had interned at motive the prior summer so the editor, Roger Ortmeyer, had had a chance to see her at work. Although motive had been deeply involved with the arts since its inception, it was Rigg that gave it its distinctive look. Jim Crane today remembers that while the magazine did articles on well-known artists like Ben Shahn, most of the art was done by him, Robert Hodgell, or Peg herself, most often for very little pay. She also assembled a travelling collection of art that she took to colleges so students could actually see real art in person. Although she worked in many media, the work for which she is best known is her calligraphy.