Tony Thompson wrote: ". . . the real impetus in the beginning WAS with more modern modelers."
I was there too – we are ALL getting that old! – at the NMRA conventions and the earliest Naperville and Cocoa Beach meets, and in my experience Tony is exactly right.
As a sidelight, it's been interesting to observe several talented modelers who have shifted modeling periods, both forward and back, over the years of RPM. Perhaps they were influenced by the work others were doing in different eras.