Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who knew? National Thrift Week

Today, I came across this quote by a man named Harvey Blodgett:

Thrift and prosperity have gone hand in hand since Abraham's flocks grew and multiplied. Thrift is not, as many suppose, a self repression. It is self expression, the demonstration of a will and ability to raise one's self to higher plane of living. No depression was ever caused by people having too much money in reserve. No human being ever became a social drifter through the practice of sensible thrift.

—Harvey A. Blodgett


I wanted to find out who Harvey Blodgett was and to learn more about his thoughts on thrift. When I "Googled" his name, I found that he wrote a book in the 1920's called, "Double Your Savings; It can be Done". It's available online, and I may read it -- though I think he may be talking more to bankers than to individuals.

Anyhow, in doing more research, I found quotes from him in a book called, Quotations for Every Occasion by Maude Van Buren. I was surprised that the author dedicated a whole chapter of quotations for something called, "National Thrift Week". This led me to find out that there was a movement in the nineteen-teens to twenties called the "National Thrift Movement", and they influenced the country to celebrate "National Thrift Week", which was somehow tied to the birth of Ben Franklin.

Here's what a link to a 1922 article in the New York Times about Thrift Week. You'll have to scroll a little bit down the page to find the article. Anyhow, each day of that week was dedicated to some aspect of thrift. For example, January 21 of that year was Pay your Bills Promptly Day and January 24 was Share with Others Day. Fascinating!

It's interesting that the Thrift Movement -- whatever it entailed -- did not stop the feverish stock speculation that led to the 1929 crash of the stock market and the nation's banks, as well as to the Great Depression. Of course, many hard-working, thrifty citizens were hard-hit by the economy's collapse through no fault of their own. Plus, the dust bowl in the Mid West affected many hard-working farmers. However, there were also people who were playing with easy money and living an excessive lifestyle. I wonder what the members of the National Thrift Movement thought of that, and I wonder if they saw the crash coming.

If you can shed some light on Harvey Blodgett, National Thrift Week, or the National Thrift Movement, I'd love to hear from you.


No comments: