Letters from readers in response to newspaper's poorhouse crusade, 1922
Scrnggs-Vapdervoort-Barney. dark- by-Chief includ- J a a Hutrlr-t .tinule- thereeeived a copy of your paper of yes Letters From Readers Who Are Interested in Poor Farm Problem The heart of St, Louis and Missouri is a big, generous heart which beats with a thVtmn of compassion. Letters from readers commenting on the plight of men and women in Missouri's poorhouses as disclosed by The Star indicate a sympathy and willingness to lend a and in the correction of conditions Which exist in every section of the city and state. The; Star set out to tell the story of conditions as they exist to tell it without growing hysterical or overemphasizing what was found. The plain facts are "sufficiently graphic and startling to arouse Missourians to a realization of the need for corrective actios, y Women's' organizations are now swinging into line to carry the message of needed reform throughout every village and hamlet in the state. Fraternal organizations taking The fetar- articles for their text -are preaching the gospel of aid and "assistance. Social welfare groups have gotten under way. Municipal and county newspapers and officeholders of the better . type in communities where the iniquities of the poor-house system prevail have heard the call and are bestirring themselves so that the hadigent men and women still to find helr way to Missouri porgpiouses snail, at least, not suffer the fate of others who have gone before in recent years. Scores of Letters. Letters by the' score are coming to The Star.. Money from readers is being turned over by this newspaper to Homer Talbot, secretary of the State Board of Charities and Corrections, undr whose auspices.the poorhouses are inspected and supervised. The state board, incidentally, -possesses no power to do more than lay bare conditions as they are found. In the reports ' on county almshouses published bj" Tiie Star it has been plainly evident that the board long ago knew of conditions and sought assistance in correcting them, but without the aid of powerful publicity until The Star took the matter in hand, was unable to arouse public sentiment. One ofthe purposes of this campaign is to induce the' legislature, in whatever manner may be best, to eradicate conditions now existing. If new legislation is needed, The Star proposes to try and get that legislation in co-operation with the state's law makers and various organizations which will be willing to line up in behalf of age anc poverty against the present condition of ofticial dia- I interest. Governor Hyde and Attor ney General Barrett went on record in statements to Thie Star last week as favoring remedial action through whatever means are best. Soro letters typical of the great mass being received are printerl to day and others wiil be published from day to day as The SW goes forward with its task. The letters follow: A Client Sent to Charities Board Editor The St. Louis Star: I have ead Withjnty and horror your poor-'farm reports. One cannot understand how the county offcials of Missouri wouldpermlt suchi a state of affairs to exist. I feel that all who read this report would want to correct this terrible condition and help immediately those poor unfortunate beings who were forced to take shelter ln'the county poorhiouse. I am sure there will be many who will offer assistance that immediate helpmay be given.V If you are starting a subscription, please put me down as 'Cash, $10.' I am herewith enclosing my check for that amount." "J. G. F." Wants Red Cross at Galena. . Editor The Sr. Louis Star: Your description of the poorhouse at Galena, Missouri was, I think, quite a revelation to most St. Louisans. L for one, had no idea that smch conditions existed pny where in the United States, in this, supposed to be, civilized age. This is a very op-portuneStime for calling the public' attention to sbcH cases, as funds are now being solicited by the Red Cross for the relief of sutering hiumanity and your article may Inspire the people, when donating their dollar, to suggest to the Red Cross that they visit Galena, and any other such places that might exist in our United States, before going abroad.' TOM KENNY. Order of F-agles Interested. Editor St. Louis Star: I have Just terday (November 23) with the astounding stories about the poor-houses in your state. The conditions in the almshouses in Missouri are in- 1-deed shocking, and we have known it for some time. I wish to congratulate you heartily for the splendid services iyour paper is rendering in arousing the public to the conditions of the poor. I am writing now to kindly ask you to be good enough to send us an original copy of the photograph used in your Issue of the 23d. as well as any other pictures you may have. - I shall, of course, follow every story that will appear in your paper and trust you will be good enough to see that I get copies of the same. If at all possible, I should also appreciate a full report of the conditions made by your reporter as well as Mr. Miller's report, if you have it. We have written several times for Mr.. Miller's report, but have, not been able to procure it so far. I am certain you will have no objections to our using your splendid write-ups in our campaign in behalf of the aged. Trusting to hear from you soon in regard to the matter, and assuring you of our esteem of the excellent services you are rendering in behalf of the worthy and aged poor, I am, FRANK E. HE RING, Chairman Old Age Pension Commis- sion of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. South Bend. Ind. One Dollar From Mrs. Kelly. Editor The St. Louis Star: Enclosed find $1 for the Jefferson County Poorhouse fund. MRS. E. KELLY. 1628 Belt avenue. Falling to Hcel Clirtsfs Teaching. Editor The St. Louis Star; Please odd this dollar to the fund for the state poor. It is deplorable that in our great and Christian state such conditions can exist. We are failing short of the teachings of our clear Savior to help the helpless. REXE E. FISCHER. 3514 Caroline street. C. White Sends Money. Editor The St. Louis Starr Enclosed find $2 for those poor people at the county farms. My- heart aches for them. Where is the humane society and the Red Cross? The Red Cross had a big drive last week. Hoping evyyone that can pare a few dollars will help those poor sick and blind people. The Star did a wonderful thing to expose their plight and I wish you every success. 'I C. WHITE. 4821 Labadic avenue. AVilling to Help Itelmild Farms. Editor The St. Louis Star: I am glad to know that we have one paper that is not afraid to tell the truth to the public about the condition in which they found the poorhouses. It seems impossible .''that this state Would tolerate such a horrible condition in which your reporter found the county homes for the poor. The people ought to rebel against the men who brought on this deplorable condition and out them , out of the offices they hold in these different coujities. They should be replaced by men who would see that these poor unfortunates are looked after and treated with some degree of humanity. The Red Cross, now putting on a big drive, has a wonderful chance to live up to its slogan "Wherever humanity calls youwill find the Red Cross." T Humanity is calling loud and long under their very nose, and there ought not be any hesitation. I am just a hard-working man, but I am willing to donate my time and some money to help this good cause. ""I will go out to -the pojr farms and help recons'.rut them so that the inmates will have a pleasant Chris'tmas, or, if The Star will secure a permit for me from the Ci'ty Half. I will ask the public for enough money to tide these people through until th first of the year. I will stop work and collect funds. I believe it is our duty to look after the less fortunate of our brothers and sisters. M. W. CARLETON, 1504 Olive street. Ten Dollars More for Needy. Editor The St. Louis Star: I read your article in last nights paper about the horrible condition of ope of Missouri's poorhouses. and I think it is a terrible condition to exist in a statias rich as Missouri. We certainly pay enough taxes to enable the state to take care of its poor. From your article it appears that no heli will be forthcoming from the state, and I think that it would"" Ix; a most horrible disgrace to leave those poor people .out there to freeze and starve. Why not start a subscription for them in your paper, and I know the funds will be well taken 'care of if left in your hands. Enclosed you will find my check for $10 toward, a subscription of this kind. A. L. O. Ten Dollars From John Hat. Editor The St. Lmiis Star: Enclosed find check for $10. Tlease send something' down to those poor people at the almshouse. It Is not much, but will help a little. Your paper is doing fine work; keep it up. JOHN HATZ. Poor Farm and Our Zoo. Editor The St. Louis Star: After reading the disclosures bf the Iron County poor farm, I turned to Page 3, and there read that Forest Park's fifth bear pit will be ready tomorrow. The cost of this- pit-has been more: than $200,000. I am not knocking the zoo, but it does look bad when the people wil' spend $50.000on each bear, and try to feed human beings on 40 cents a day, A READER Send To Homer Talbot, Jefferson City. Editor The St. Louis Star: I have read the stories in your pajer about the county poor farms, and I think something ought to be done immediately. I have some clothing to give, if there Is some way to get it to 'them, and they probably could make use of It. Is there any way t get the clothing to them? MRS. F. S. 641" Thrush ave. ' Wants Cieneral Contribution. s Editor The St. Louis Star: If every school-child, every church member, every business man and employe in the United States, wo14 only give a penny, how easy it wrould be to correct the conditions now existing in the Missouri poor farms. MRS. E. M. Indorses Barrett's Idea. Editor The St. Louis Star: Attorney General Barrett has the right Idea of grouping poorhouses.. The absolutely destitute helpless people, who are old and dying, need cleanliness, nourishing food, heat, ventilation and prompt attention, .good laundries, strong helpers under intelligent nurses. Ten such institutions could be built for $100,000 apiece, containing 100 wards, twenty persons to a ward. All church property could be taxed to meet the cost of caring for one-third of all the expenses, he county groups .would also be taxed one-third and the state one-third. I thank The Star and Mr. Barrett for what they are trying to do. God knows, we need a Charles Dickens in America. - F. W. Dollar Was Forwarded. Editor The St. Louis Star: Please forward the dollar inclosed o proper parties for relief of neglected n,-.r.f in rnnnlv almshouses. . R. E. M. Wellston," MO1. Ix'tter From Mrs. Theron llorw. Editor The St. Louis Star: I am comparatively a stranger to this city, having lived here but one year, but I have been much impressed by the good your paper must accomplish, cvfing to the loyalty to the public' wt-lfare which you invariably show. i Having worked for some fifteen years in the prisons of New York City, I am familiar with the poor and unfortunate, but never before have I heard or read of such shocking conditions as were revealed in your paper of the twenty-third as to the helpless. 111 and destitute wards of Stone County, Missouri. All men and women who seek justice and love mercy will be behtrid you in your efforts to awaken the public mind to what exists there. This is the first step in the alleviation" of their misery, and among countless others, I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to you for having started this humane work. LOUIS FALCONER PIERCE, (Mrs. Therone T. Pierce). 72 Vandeventer place.