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The Depression Causes Community Funds to Struggle to Meet Increased
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The economic hurricane has wrecked homes, disrupted family life, destroyed health, lowered morale, crushed the spirit of courage and stifled enterprise and ambition … It has made more pitiful the plight of those many hundreds who continually are charges of the chest agencies.

This small archive of pamphlets for the public and subscription cards, guidelines, and suggestions for fundraisers illustrates the tactics local Community Fund and Community Chest organizations employed across the United States from New York to Utah.

[GREAT DEPRESSION]. Archive of 18 pamphlets and pledge cards and 7 typed lists, drafts, and guidelines, all related to Community Fund campaigns in Utah, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York, 1933-1934. 110 pp., 4 x 6 in. to 8˝ x 11 in.

Inventory #22789       Price: $950

Items and Excerpts:

- HUNGER that asks for more than food, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1933, 4 pp.

Human Needs remain the same—whatever the plight of the unemployed, although greatly intensified by the extraordinary conditions that have prevailed for the past three years. The economic hurricane has wrecked homes, disrupted family life, destroyed health, lowered morale, crushed the spirit of courage and stifled enterprise and ambition. It has forced increased leisure time, which must be properly employed. It has made more pitiful the plight of those many hundreds who continually are charges of the chest agencies.


- “Suggestions for Members of the Advance Guard,” typescript, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1933.


- “Instructions for Firm Captains 1934 Campaign,” typescript, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1933, 8 pp.


- Pledge cards for Community Chest or Fund of Salt Lake City, Utah, 1934 (3); South Bend [Indiana], 1933 (3); Springfield [Missouri], 1934; Butler [Pennsylvania], 1933-1934 (2)


- It Takes More Than a Grocery Order – Will You Help!, South Bend, Indiana, ca. 1933, 6 pp.

YOU Have a Job! There are still thousands of people in South Bend who have not.

A Man’s a Man When He Does HIS Share!

The money you spend for one-fourth of a tank of gas would make a fine weekly pledge. The price of one movie a week would be a splendid gift. The price of one soda or stein of beer a week would help the Community Fund to help others marvelously.

President Roosevelt Says: ‘I want to tell you definitely and clearly that it would be nothing short of a calamity to have private social and relief work collapse at this time.’


- The Community Fund School Contest, South Bend, Indiana, ca. 1933, 4 pp.

The Community Fund, itself, does not give ‘charity’ or take care of orphans, or sick people, or help poor mothers to take care of their babies, or operate hospitals, or feed hungry homeless men and women, or help boys and girls, or prevent tuberculosis, or aid ex-soldiers. But its 19,000 members do make possible all of these services to the needy people of South Bend, by contributing to the annual Community Fund.

The Community Fund has 17 member agencies, and they do thousands of fascinating, interesting things. We want the young people of South Bend to know about these things, and that is the reason for this contest.


- Untitled Pamphlet, South Bend, Indiana, ca. 1933, 6 pp.

‘Obviously there could be no business recovery in South Bend without these essential social services.’—John N. Hunter, General Chairman, South Bend’s Mobilization for Human Needs.

Customarily, the Community Fund appeal in this city has been conducted in May. Due to the bank moratorium a Spring appeal this year was impossible. The result is that all of the Community Fund agencies are now without funds with which to maintain their work.... For these reasons, the Community Fund appeal is being rushed to completion just as rapidly as possible. In my opinion, this situation constitutes a major crisis in the affairs of this city.

This is an unusual year—a year in which most of us have had to readjust ourselves to an entirely new set of conditions. The number of people who can give to the Community Fund this year will be limited; for giving implies that the donor is parting with a portion of his surplus resources. Most people, however, can share—for sharing is simply dividing up what you have with someone who has less than you do.

This booklet … was printed on wrapping paper and newsprint to save expense.


- “Ammunition for the Sales Army,” typescript, South Bend, Indiana, ca. 1933, 4 pp.


- We Do… OUR PART! Suggestions to Community Fund Workers, Springfield, Missouri, November 1933, 4 pp.

This whole campaign has been developed on the thought of success. You have been asked to serve because we know you will contribute to that success.

You are selling the work of fifteen essential welfare agencies. Submit the individual list to your prospect—determine his interest—and sell him on the combined support of this concrete interest rather than on any lump sum to an abstract general movement.

Try to secure from previous subscribers at least as much as was subscribed last year.

STOP! 1. Do not solicit school teachers or school employes. 2. Do not solicit colored prospects.


- Untitled Pamphlet, Springfield, Missouri, ca. 1933, 3 pp.

Those of Us Who Still Have a Job Have Had the ‘Breaks’ We should feel so THANKFUL we should share what we have with our less fortunate neighbor.

ALL industrial and commercial wage earners or salaried employes are being asked to subscribe on the following standard: 2 days pay if earning $2,000 a year or less / 3 days pay if earning $2,100 to $2,900 a year / 5 days pay if earning $3,000 to $3,900 a year / 6 days pay if earning $4,000 to $4,900 a year

Help Put Your Company Quota Over the Top


- Springfield must not go down on the public record as a PAUPER CITY: WE CAN AND MUST TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN!, Springfield, Missouri, ca. 1933, 4 pp.

We have been told very emphatically by our President that Springfield citizens MUST, through the Community Chest agencies, continue to help their own unfortunate and continue to aid those ineligible for Government help.... Federal aid will come to Springfield only in the proportion to which Springfield cares for its own.


- “Suggestions for Captains – Employee Division / 1934 Community Chest Appeal,” typescript, Kokomo, Indiana, ca. 1933, 2 pp.


- “Strategy Board List,” typescript, Lansing, Michigan, ca. 1933, 3 pp. & 4 pp. (2 copies)

The Great Flood of March 23-26, 1913[1] was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killing approximately 650 people and leaving more than 250,000 homeless. Residents and businesses in Lansing sent more than $2,300 in relief supplies to Cincinnati, Youngstown, Columbus, Dayton, and other Ohio cities damaged by the flood.


- “Secretary” to Robson Bro’s Carpet Co., [Lansing, Michigan], March 31, 1913, unsigned carbon copy of typescript, 1 p.

Your favor … with enclosed remittance for flood sufferers has been received and turned over to the treasure. We wish to thank you at this time for your prompt co-operation and take particular pride in the fact, that you and many other members have so generously helped in this cause.


- Welfare Council of New York City, How to Secure Service for Those Who Need It, November 1, 1933, 16 pp.

To save time, effort and money, both of the person needing help and of the agencies providing health and welfare services, read instructions carefully before sending a person to an agency.

Historical Background

The first “Community Fund” was founded in Cleveland, Ohio. During World War I, “War Chest” fundraising campaigns were held nationwide to help provide relief for the armed forces, their families, and European refugees. In 1919, a group in Rochester, New York, employed the name “Community Chest” for their fundraising campaign that allocated money to local agencies providing social services. Over the next decade, 353 such organizations were founded.

With the unprecedented challenges of the Great Depression, local relief organizations struggled to meet the increasing demands of cities and towns where more needed relief and fewer could give in support. Overwhelmed state and local governments, historically responsible for the poor, looked both to the federal government and to private aid groups for help. Rather than having so many individual charities vying for support during the Great Depression, some towns and cities organized a combined appeal. By 1948, there were more than 1,000 Community Chest-type organizations, and by 1963, after several name changes, the term United Way became standard.

[1] Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan), March 28, 1913, 1:1, 14:1-2.

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