At the time of the Great Depression Samuel Stone, a native of Canton, Ohio, owned a chain of clothing stores throughout the United States. On December 17, 1933 he took out an ad, under the pseudonym “B. Virdot,” in the Canton Repository which offered cash gifts to families in need. In order to decide who was worthy of such gifts, he asked people to send him letters describing their difficulties and how they hoped to spend the money. 150 people from Canton eventually received small checks.
Stone’s identity remained secret until 2008 when his grandson found an old chest of letters addressed to “B. Virdot.”
Read the rest of the story at The New York Times.
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