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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 22, 1912)
The Omaha Sunday Bee Magazine Page
I'HW aW 'WfTICJ
Harriman for 267000,000 !
The Remarkable Efforts of the Financier's Widow
to Discover the Worthy Among Those Who
Asked Her For Three Times Her Entire Fortune
And the Surprising Things She Found Out
Tov wtl1 never miss It," la
f the favorite argument
of tlie begging letter
Tho fallacy of this argument Is
apparent In the authorlted state
ment that within two years after
the death of E. II. Harriman, the
railway magnate, his widow re
ceived 6,000 begging letter asking
for an .aggrcgato of $267,000,000.
What Is the conscientious, phllan
Ihroplcnlly Inclined master or mis
tress of millions to do in such a
situation? Laboriously examine In
to the merits of each application for
mnterlal aid, submit to being im
poverished, or throw all the begging
letters Into, the waste baskett
Mrs. Harriman chose the course
first named. First, to the limit of
her time and strength, she read and
analyzed each of those 6,000 beg
ging letters. Then, convinced that
L..f lteP5"l?A"d ic,t!3
requests, sho submitted the whole
correspondence for expert analysis
to William H. Allen, Director of tho
Bureau of Municipal Research and
Nntlonal Training School for Pub
lic Service. The extremely Inter
esting, and often surprising, result
is Mr. Allen's book, lately lssoud by
Dodo, Mead & Co., N. Y., and called
"Modern Philanthropy; n Study of
Efficient Appealing and Giving"
In a foreword Mrs. Harriman
"Gifts spiritual, gifts mental, and
gifts material are the three greatest
means of expressing human Inter
est. They have been unequnlly be
stowed upon men and unequally ob
tained by men."
"Man's Individual gifts must be
used systematically as well as sym
pathetically to be successful In
their mission of benefiting himself,
his country and his race."
With the aid of a card Index sys
tem, Mr. Allen classified und anal
yzed those 6,000 begging letters sent
to Mrs. Harriman. Two of his in
teresting conclusions are:
"Tun. those who give 'without
missing It arc sure to miss it in
"That there Is need for a corre
spondence school in the art ot ap
pealing and the art of giving."
For example ns to the former, tho
emotionally metaphorical woman
who wrote nsklng Mrs. narriman
for "Just one drop from your over
flowing bucket for a sister in deep
"Please do sit down and write n
check for one million dollars,"
wrote another woman. "It will look
so small that you will see you'll
never miss the sum and make me
famous and fortunate."
A man writing from California
, was so tactless as to convey a hint
about the Biblical camel and
needle's eye: "You could never
miss $1,700, and when a man goe
to tho home beyond ho cannot take
bis riches with him."
Three thousand of these letters
were from men, women and chll
dren in the United States, asking
J22.0OO.C;0 for themselves; 1,400
personal letters from Europe, Asia,
Africa and Australia asked for
$32,000,000 1,100 benevolent agen
cies In the United States wauted
k inMawi't y 'MansaejUHataH
life... f""o S o tl h'J y. Ai.
I O 1 3
$207,000,000, while various Institu
tions In foreign countries naked for
$6,000,000. Yet, writes tho expert:
"With few exceptions requests
are prefaced with the assurance
that writers want ouly what Mrs.
Harriman would never miss."
Two out' of threo of theso begging
letters were from women; less than
ten per cent asked aid for others
tho majority of these personal beg
gars had "troubles of their own."
One letter In twenty-five. only, was
from a minor; but these were near
ly nlwnys. altruistic, often In tho
Interest of' "mamma, who Is sick
and worrying for the debts." Only
about one in ten of tho personal
letters were from Illiterate persons,
while 338 were apparently from
persons of far moro than averago
fit 13 not merely the slum-dweller,"
writes Mr. Allen, "or the slum-
worker in a great city who writes
-to tho rich men and women adver-
used in tho press. On tbo con
trary, 3.500 different locnllUes are
represented by these 6.000 appeals.
For Mrs. JIarriman's office and out
own we prepared two pin maps in
dicating the localities In the United
States after the first 3,000 lotters
had come. Littlo black pins mean
individuals asking for themselves
and families. Largo red pins are
used for colleges and universities,
little red ones for industrial schools,
etc.; white for churches, green for
hospitals, yellow for boys' clubs;
blue for homes and asylums, lav
ender for scientific nnd civic bodies.
In explaining why so much study
was given to these letters, Mr. Al
len, who seems to be speaklcg for
Mrs. Harriman, says:
"The first twenty or fifty times
one reads: 'You will
never miss such a trifle,
while to mi. one thous
and dollars would look
like Heaven Itself,' the
heart responso la Im
mediate, It seems im
perative to answer an
appeal' to save a tuber
culosis Ounce, rescue a
paralyzed baby, rebuild
a church that was
struck by lightening,
supply the last fifty
thousand toward a col
lege which will Il
lumine a State,' or give
an old couple the
longed-for trip back
"What right have I
with an income of $50
or $500 a day to hesi
tate when 1 pass dis
tress, or when It comes
to mo in my morning
"Is there any lesson
in tlieso hundreds of
appeals for me, for
others who want to
give wisely, for those
who ask and for those
who are trying to un
derstand, interpret and
direct social forcesV'
So even porsonal let
tors were carefully an
alyzed that contained
excuses llko these:
Copyright. Ifll. by
A fnw stmnln nrettv clothes for a
girl of 22. "Do you blame mo for not
wanting to marry him when he is
wealthy unless I have them?"
"Merely the gift of an auto
mobile for my aged mother and
myself, which would be nothing in
your sight; $400 In the Lord's name,
for a minister whoso present auto
mobile Is worn out
"A tombstone so expensive that I
am unable to do much, still it is a
Money to put an artificial leg on
Twenty-fivo dollars to pay for
copyright of a drama.
Fifty dollars to carry out a plan
to keep n family of twelve children
from tormenting their neighbors.
To pay debts contracted without
her husband's knowledge.
"This letter will reach you on
Saturday. Will you have the kind
noss to send me an answer by spe
cial delivery, as on Sunday ordinary
mall is not circulated. My time la
limited in this hotel."
"One of the freakiest letters."
writes Mr. Allen, "fairly reeking with
Insincerity, was from a man who
clnlmed to have spent ten years
demonstrating from first-hand con
tact that 'It Is worth while to
investigate tho horrors, disgraces,
malevolent nnd ignorant outrages,
procedures Intensely dangerous to
health nnd life itself, now borne with
equanimity nnd patience by nil the
generous nnd trustful public
among ordinary cheap restaurants
where tho majority of our Americana
are now getting their pot luck."'
Tho tactlessness of many of these
mendicant letter writers was araas
ing. A wife whose husband was "In
bad health and unable to work" ad
the Star Company. Oreat rtrltmn
Above Is Mary Harri
man, Now Mrs. C. C.
Rumseyt Below Mis
Carol Harriman, Daugh
ters Whdse Financial
Welfare the Late Mr.
Harriman Left in His
Wife's Hands Together
with His Whole Fortune.
"All the world seemed to Mrs. Harriman
to be reaching out a begging hand to her.
Behind the appealing hand she knew
were real need, real merit, real oppor
tunities for philanthropy but how to
FIND THEM OUT?"
What They Asked For
Outright Gifts of $8,000,000.
"Loans" of $5,000,000.
to Sell Objects for $8,000,000.
Employment and Investment Tips.
Buolness Capital of $5,000,000.
$1,500,000 to Buy Homes.
$120,00D for Medical Care.
n Benevolent Agencies Asked $207,000,000
Letters Aaked for $32,000,000.
Institutions Asked for $6,000,000.
n's Entire Fortune Is
Scientific and Civic Bodies.
Their Distribution Cn Ba.
u ww r t st
"P7, ins Kemarutblo Book Tht Dtl I th. H.,-,1
dressed Mrs. Harrlmnn
us "Dear Sis In Christ."
A business mnn in
need of more capital
t-tarted his letter to
Mrs. Harriman with
the inquiry, "Is your
A woman who admitt
ed that she was only
"the candlestick of
Heaven's light" wanted
ilie means of financing
a scheme to revive "tho
-ost art of letter writ
ing." A man with a record
of fifty-eight Jnll sen
tences in one year de
sires the means ot plac
ing on the marJcot a
o e wate"
A chnSlon crank
ended his letter thus:
"Yours for the immedl.
ate restoration of truth,
principle of "11 things common in
these -last' days." And signed,
Dread of the "waste basket"
cropped out In many of the letters
This Is a favorite expression of that
dread: "lu the name of humanity do
not throw this letter Into tho waste
basket until you havo read It."
Hundreds "do protest too much" at
the start, as: "This Is not a begging
letter." And, "If you knew how It
hurts rah to writo." And, "I am not
an Impostor," iand, "if you will ask
my minisler," etc.
Many of the requests from charity
end other benevolent Institutions con
tained phrases that were monuments
of imbecility, bud taste and Insincer
ity. Here aro a few examples:
"I have M!t my alarm clock for 2
a. in. Each time it rings I will rise
and ask God to ask you for $50,000."
"God loveth n cheerful giver."
"May the Holy Spirit do His work
lu your heart und lead you to give
$1,500,000" (to a Western uulver-
The Color, of Ih. Pin. Cannot
The Illustration I. from Director
That Details th
slty). "Wo would appreciate a reply
over your own signature."
"It was n very great pleasure to
see you onco moro and to kuow ot
God's kindly dealings with you. P. 8.,
Section 3, nbove, Is not qulto true to
fact, but I trust you nro to be a co
laborer and bo 1 send this with a
photograph or mysolf."
It is recognized thnt begging let
ters must bo exnmiuod carefully as a
basis for discriminate and helpful
giving. In somo cases u begging
letter furnishes evldeneo that tho
writer should have other attention
at once that some one should
"ring for nn ambulance." For in-
Heat That Makes Iron Boil Like Water
V U Bnie ynr8 paBt 8C,ent,flo
jT IT' '" bCn 8tr'V,ng t0 pr
duco "eat florcer than any tom-
porature of which we have expert-
enco In ordinary life. Tho greatest
the agency ot
man wns obtained by Sir And row
Noble, who oxplodod cordite in
closed vessols, so that a pressure ot
fifty tons to tho square inch was
registered, and a degree of heat
never previously recorded.
The highest temperaturo reached
in fuel furnaces for practical pur
poses is betwoon 1,700 and U.800 de
grees centigrade, and at such a lieat
fireclay and porcelain nro melted.
Then wo come to tho flame fed with
hydrogen and oxygon, or oxygen
nda coal gas; by these means a
temperature of 2,000 degroos centl
grado may be obtained.
A new industry solely dependent
upon the employment of great heat
Is that ot molting quartz. This min
ora, fused by the oxy-bydrogon
flame, is converted into tubes and
flasks and other vessols for chemi
cal purposes. These vessels are ab
solutely inert, and may be heated
hundreds of dogreos higher than is
possible with glass; they may also
bo plunged at such heat Into cold
water without Injury,
Mr. Miry W. Harriman,
Widow of the Late
Mrs. Harriman Beg
ging Map th, Most
Remarkable Map In th
World, as Iho Begging
Letter Came in the
Places They Were Sent
from Were Marked with
Pins Little Black Pins
for Individuals, Large
Red Pins for Colleges
and Universities, Little
Red Pins for Industrial
Schools, etc., White for
Churches, Gre for
Hospitals, Yellow for
Boys' Clubs, Blue for
Homes. Lavender tor
Be Seen on This
William H. Allen'. "Modern Phila.
iiaill lie r-"- a
Begging Letter Research.
"A man who leaves his vrtro ana
children in an Institution and bor
rows money from hotel clerks with
which to buy newspaper and Bible
quotations to further 'ono of the
greatest constructive Bchemea to
make $80.000,000' should be exam
ined for his sanity. Otherwise, In
Htcad of becoming one of tho most
'helpful, progressive and useful men
or my time,' he may enslly become a
Accordingly with Mrs. Ilarrl
man's encouragement Mr. Allen's
book ends with n carefully thought
out "Magna Chartn for Givers."
It bus been discovered, that, by
whlrllug a centrifugal wheel at high
velocity In the combustion-chamber
of a furnace tho nitrogen is oust to
one sldo, wbllo tho oxygen Is con
centrated, and In this' way a bright
er flame and greater heat are ob
tained. A similar appliance used
during the combustion of cpal In a
furnace enabled a firm of papor
makers to save twenty-sovon per
cent of thelt coal bill by the elimi
nation of tho hydrogen gas formed
But most remarkable of all tho
phases of the utilization of extreme
heat is tho discovery of the welding
material known aa thermit The
inventor discovered that aluminium
is very much attached to oxygon,
and holds it closer than u brother.
Therefore be mixed granulated alu
minium with oxide ot iron, for the
lighter metal wants oxygen, and the
oxide of iron has It to give. A small
quantity ot magnesium filings, waa
placed on top ot the mixture and a
storm-match applied, and Immedi
ately a mass of molten Iron was
seen boiling at a temperature of
3,000 degrees centigrade much
higher than any temperature In or
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