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A secret gift : how one man's kindness--and a trove of letters--revealed the hidden history of the Great Depression

Author: Ted Gup
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2011.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The author's grandfather, Sam Stone, placed an ad in the Canton, OH, newspaper shortly before Christmas in 1933, offering cash gifts to seventy-five families in distress. Readers were asked to send letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author investigates a suitcase full of letters responding to these ads as he learns more about his grandfather's hidden past as well as  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biographies
History
Biography
Named Person: Samuel Stone; Samuel Stone; Samuel Stone
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ted Gup
ISBN: 9780143120001 014312000X 9781594202704 1594202702
OCLC Number: 706024218
Notes: Originally published: 2010.
"Updated with a new postscript"--Cover.
Includes index.
Description: 369 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 21 cm
Contents: I.A Christmas carol : The offer ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: the suitcase --
II. In consideration of the white collar man : A man of means ; Blizzard ; Hello Bill ; Gassed ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: the promise --
III. The bread of tomorrow : Beginning again ; Grief ; Bad company ; A lynching ; Legacy of lies ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: the crossing --
IV. If I would accept charity : Oppression ; Sooner starve ; Dandelions and pencils ; Shame ; The seeds of resentment ; Left behind ; Gumption ; So little for women ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: a foreigner no longer --
V. Families: the crisis that brought them closer : "As good as the best" ; The pump ; Plantation ; Asylum --
VI. Families: the crisis that pulled them apart : Black hand gang ; Defeated ; Nomad ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: betrayal --
VII. An opportunity to help : A dog named Jack ; The milk of human kindness ; "Too big-hearted" ; Shipmates ; Doctors ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: a second gift, 1940 --
VIII. A merry and joyful Christmas : The doll ; A special time ; The pony ; The unexpected ; Mr. B. Virdot's story: the bridge --
IX. True circumstances : Final reflections ; Epilogue: Canton revisited --
Mr. B. Virdot: a timeline.
Other Titles: How one man's kindness--and a trove of letters--revealed the hidden history of the Great Depression
Responsibility: Ted Gup.

Abstract:

The author's grandfather, Sam Stone, placed an ad in the Canton, OH, newspaper shortly before Christmas in 1933, offering cash gifts to seventy-five families in distress. Readers were asked to send letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author investigates a suitcase full of letters responding to these ads as he learns more about his grandfather's hidden past as well as the suffering and triumphs of strangers during the Great Depression. -- From publisher's description.

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