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.