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Depression-Era Generosity Still Resonates Today

December 22nd, 2010 No comments

41q88YMX-XL._SL160_During the summer of 2008, as journalist Ted Gup sifted through the dusty contents of an old suitcase once belonging to his grandfather, he made a surprising discovery. A trove of letters, heartfelt pleas for help written during the dark days of the Depression, was uncovered. Further investigation found that Gup’s grandfather, Sam Stone, had placed a small ad in a Canton, Ohio newspaper days before Christmas in 1933 calling on people to write to him about their need, and offering “Financial aid”. Stone used the alias, B. Virdot, and promised all the letter writers confidentiality. Good to his word, the man sent $5 to 150 families, about $12,400 translated into today’s money. These honest, raw letters and his grandfather’s simple act of kindness served as the impetus for Gup’s book A Secret Gift (The Penguin Press HC, 368pgs). Read more…

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