The Advertisement

This advertisement—from an invented man—appeared on only one day in the Canton Repository at the height of The Great Depression on December 18th, 1933. What followed was hundreds of letters, dozens of changed lives, and one 75-year mystery.

The text of the advertisement:

In Consideration Of The White Collar Man!

Suppose if I were confronted with an economic situation where the bread of tomorrow is the problem of today—there is a question in my mind if I would accept charity directly offered by welfare organizations. I know there are hundreds of men that are confronted with economic problems and think, feel and act the same way.

To men or families in such position the maker of this offer, who will remain unknown to the very end, will be glad if he is given an opportunity to help from 50 to 75 such families so they will be able to spend a merry and joyful Christmas.

To such men or families that will request such financial aid, the writer pledges that their identity will never be revealed. Please write:

B. Virdot, General Delivery, Canton, Ohio

In writing, please familiarize me with your true circumstances and financial aid will be promptly sent.


View some of the responses to this ad.

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2 Responses to “The Advertisement”

  1. Deborah Brucato says:

    I throughly enjoyed your book. The history of your family and the story of the gift was very interesting. I went searching for the advertisement on NewspaperArchive.com, because I wanted to see the placement of it in the paper. I also, wanted to read some of the articles that would have surrounded it. This site did have it, however it did have the following newspaper article (the writer makes it sound like he actual talked with B. Virdot):

    The Circleville (Ohio) Herald
    29 March 1934

    Once Hit by Hard Time,
    He Now Opens His Purse
    Canton. Ohio.— Seventy-five Canton
    residents—the higher type depression
    victims—who once held responsible
    positions but lost them in
    the tide of economic backwash, each
    received a $10 money order from an
    anonymous business man here who
    once was In the same plight.
    The donor, a Canton man who
    had lost a large fortune and had
    been made almost penniless, but
    who fought back to prosperity,
    chose the recipients by announcing
    his plan through a daily newspaper.
    Applicants were asked to familiarize
    the donor with their true circumstances,
    with the understanding
    that their Identity would be held
    confidential. The man asked that
    letters be sent to B. Virdot, the
    name he assumed, general delivery.
    “Virdot” said that he set aside the
    $750, which he divided 15 ways, because
    he realized that there are
    men, “like the giver, who have once
    held high positions but have been
    deprived of their income, who hesitate
    to knock at charity’s door.”

    Again thank you for the most enjoyable book. It has inspired me to look closer at my family tree and share it with my family.

  2. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

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