Download A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of by Ted Gup PDF

By Ted Gup

An inspiring account of the United States at its worst-and american citizens at their best-woven from the tales of melancholy period households who have been helped through presents from the author's beneficiant and secretive grandfather.

Shortly earlier than Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper advert provided $10, no strings connected, to seventy five households in misery. readers have been requested to post letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author's grandfather Sam Stone used to be encouraged to put this advert and support his fellow Cantonians as they ready for the harshest Christmas such a lot of them could ever witness.

Moved by means of the stories of pain and expressions of wish inside the letters, which he came across in a suitcase seventy five years later, Ted Gup first and foremost got down to unveil the lives at the back of them, trying to find files and family members in all places the rustic who might support him flesh out the kin sagas hinted at in these letters. From those assets, Gup has re-created the effect that Mr B. Virdot's reward had on every one relatives. many folks yearned for bread, coal, or different prerequisites, yet many others got cash from B. Virdot for extra fanciful goods - a toy horse, say, or a suite of encyclopaedias. As Gup's investigations published, these kinds of issues had the facility to show people's lives round - even to avoid wasting them.

But as he exposed the agony and triumphs of dozens of strangers, Gup additionally realized that Sam Stone was once way more complicated than the cute- retiree character he'd regularly proven his grandson. Gup reveals deeply buried information about Sam's existence - from his impoverished, abusive upbringing to felonious efforts to conceal his immigrant origins from U.S. officers - that support clarify why he felt this kind of powerful affinity to strangers in desire. Drawing on his distinct locate and his award-winning reportorial presents, Ted Gup solves a unique relatives secret even whereas he pulls away the veil of 8 many years that separate us from the hardships that united the United States through the melancholy. In A mystery reward, he weaves those revelations seamlessly right into a tapestry of melancholy period the US, with a purpose to fascinate and encourage in equivalent degree.

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Extra resources for A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

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As the program notes to the 1916 production indicate, Grimké’s play had iconographic intent: It was “the first attempt to use the stage for race propaganda in order to enlighten the American people relative to the lamentable condition of the millions of Colored citizens in this free republic” (qtd. in Fehrenbach 91). For Grimké, the “lamentable condition” of millions crystallized in the image of the child abused by prejudice. Indeed, even the children in the play are not finely distinguished from each other; they function more as types than as fully developed characterizations.

8 Felix J. ” (289). The child’s domestic hegemony surfaces stunningly in this account. The gender implications are also suggestive. While by adopting “progressive” models of parenting, female children would advance the household, paradoxically young girls were thus forced to embrace gender roles that confined them to the home. Parallel “Little Father” movements, on the other hand, appear to be nonexistent. Female children were crucial to the success of the race, but only by inhabiting a static gender role that made them responsible for not only the younger child as signifier of bourgeois domestic success (and participation in middleclass health and parenting values) but also for reforming retrogressive adults.

In Hill’s poem, the father takes comfort at the end of a long day from the “blessed angels” of his home, an image that obviously recalls the celebrated “angel in the house” of nineteenth-century poetry and domestic fiction. The “blessed angels” presumably allude to the man’s children, as well as to his wife, which places an emphasis on the responsibility of children to oªer domestic comfort to their male parent. While they do not take the place of the mother, their presence is at least as central as hers.

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