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their former place of employment, insufficient income to enjoy social activities with friends-all or any of these restrictions create a feeling of rejection by the social world which, in a measure, they helped to create. No longer able to pay dues to civic, religious, and social groups, or to fraternal organizations, people feel the sharpness of unwelcome pity and the bruise of indifference. One out of five continues his church relations and one out of ten his membership in organizations. Nothing contributes more to physical and mental ill health than the dejection that comes from rejection. Adjustment to conditions under such circumstances is next to impossible. A sixth-grade student described delinquency in these words: "If you ain't important, you ain't nobody no how." The same applies to older people.

(5) Job employment.-Forced retirement is now a punishment after years of good services rendered. Where husband and wife had both worked for a period of years, the combined income might be enough to maintain their standard of living. People with pensions and social security are usually not looking for paid jobs. When a single person has worked in Government for 10 years or less, the pension would not be enough to live on. If, however, a job that would pay social security could be obtained to supplement a pension from a low-paid Government job, that would be a lucky break. Many such people are now looking for another full- or part-time job.


The committee during 1953 and 1954 found itself right up against the challenge of an aging population with problems too great to handle in a hurry. They were overwhelmed with job applications, most of them from persons under 60 years of age. They ran into the employer resistance to the point of hostility against those over 40 years of age. Conferences with the U.S. Employment Office of the district revealed a similar situation.

The senior council did not get off the ground. No budget was provided to hire a full-time worker. Volunteers with no experience were willing but not able to meet the situation. There seemed to be no employers within or outside of the church willing to provide full- or part-time jobs, paid or unpaid.

The chairman became seriously ill and resigned. J. Lloyd Webb, deeply interested, took over. With all of his experience, the situation did not improve, because these conditions are nationwide and not local. So the committee was dissolved.


In October 1955 senior members of the church came together again to see what they could do in a small way for themselves.

Their purpose, as you will see by the small folder attached, is "to make the later years happy years-by sharing what we know and can do, by adding to our knowledge, by doing for each other what we can, by developing new interests, following others which we have always wanted to explore, by remembering always that 'Man partly is and always hopes to be.'"

The program, always flexible, consisted of group singing, travel movies, discussion, current problems, book reviews, painting class, handicrafts, instrumental music, card games, etc.

The church responded by providing space, equipment, and a 35-cent lunch. Attendance was about 50 out of a membership of 150. The same people did not come every time, but there was a large regular attendance.

The name of the organization was put to vote, and it came out "The Friendly Seniors."

Bylaws? There were none at first because the group wished to operate as flexibly as possible. But in a relatively short time it became apparent that a more formal organization was necessary. Furthermore, such organization was requested by the trustees of the church.

Thus a committee on bylaws was formed, presented its report, and after considerable discussion, these bylaws were adopted. It was considered most important to insure the largest possible participation of the individual members. Where such participation does not exist, not only is there likely to be a loss of interest on the part of some who might contribute generously to the effectiveness of the group, but also a major purpose of the organization-to develop the interests and capacities of individual members-is overlooked. Some people, of course, prefer to have everything arranged for them, but this means that they are neglecting a real opportunity for personal satisfaction and development. The organization should be such as to encourage a general participation.

The bylaws of the Friendly Seniors adopted in 1957 provided therefore for a progressive change of leadership every 3 months. A general chairman for this period was elected to preside at all meetings and to represent the group in various relationships. The first vice chairman was placed in charge of program and the second vice chairman in charge of hospitality. As the 3-month term of each of these officers expired, the first and second vice chairmen were to be advanced to the higher positions. This has resulted in a healthy increase in the number of those taking responsibility and an opportunity to introduce innovations in the program and activities of the organization which have enlarged the interest. From time to time, ways have been found to strengthen the bylaws to carry out this general purpose.

Remembered, too, was the wise teaching of the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tse: "A leader is best when people barely know he exists.

Not so good when people obey and proclaim him!

Worst when people despise him.

Fail to honor people, they fail to honor you.

The Friendly Seniors is made up of men and women who have worked in government, industry, or professionally. Some are scientists, some educators, some teachers. Some are widows who never were employed in a paid job. The group is well named "The Friendly Seniors."

For example, recently the group explored a new field of activity about trees, land, and boys. An article in Harpers, January 1959, by Senator Humphrey, author of Senate bill 812, to provide a new Youth Conservation Corps, explained how our national resources could be saved by a second CCC made up of youths 16 to 21 years of age.

As a result of this study the Friendly Seniors made a statement which was sent to the 15 members of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, signifying their interest in the bill.

This was a real expression of their freedom to act as mature individuals and as a group.

A dozen or more Friendly Seniors have attended some of the eight open hearings from July 23 to August 6, being held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Problems of the Aged and Aging.


be those who have been ignored by They are "interim people" who were years there will be no more "interim Everyone else will be under pension of living will cease to swing like a

The most unfortunate people seem to everyone and especially the Government. born too early or too late. In another 10 people." The ones here now will be dead. and/or social security benefits. The cost pendulum-ever higher. So it is hoped. Here is a concrete example. Mary Smith was a teacher in a western college, which had no pension system at that time. She came east to get work of some

kind that would provide a pension when she retired.

She taught in a high school in Maryland, which had a pension system. But she was just over the line of age. She began tutoring the children of diplomats. Most of them paid in cash for their children's service but made no records. She made her records but could not prove them when it came to applying for social security under the self-employment arrangement.

Also she taught for 9 months recruits entering the Navy. She was paid $3.75 an hour. At the time there was no social security paid for such work. A social security official went over her records carefully but found that her records did not fully comply.

If our social security agency would do what it should, allowing humanity and not redtape to be the chief factor, Mary Smith at the age of 78, still as intelligent and able as ever, would have her social security benefits.

It seems to me that the Federal Government should immediately include in its coverage this last residue of fast diminishing people.

JANUARY 9, 1953.

DEAR FRIEND: The board of trustees of the church has authorized and directed a committee to be formed (members of the committee listed below), to explore further the feasibility of the establishment of an agency for the utilization of skills and experience of older people and to report directly to the board of trustees the results of the exploration.

There is, it is believed, in our own group as in the population generally, an increasing number of able-bodied older men and women who are without regular occupation and whose skills should be utilized both for the benefit of the society in which they live and for their own satisfaction and advantage. While this is a problem of wide community importance and significance, it may be possible for us to demonstrate some of the steps which may be taken to meet this situation.

In order to carry out its assignment, the committee wishes to ascertain (1) who are these older people, desirous of having their skills and experience utilized in a satisfying manner with or without compensation. It would like to record names, addresses, telephone numbers, and, when convenient, arrange for personal interviews with those interested.

(2) It also wishes information regarding possible employers of these older persons. Part-time employment, specific projects which may be handled as convenient, would be particularly helpful. These employers may be found in the congregation and in its affiliated organizations or outside. Information leading to possible employers outside the church would be particularly helpful.

If you are interested in this project from the point of view of either worker or employer, the committee hopes that you will get in touch with one of its members listed below. With your help we hope that something of practical value to the group and to the community can be done.

Yours sincerely,

Commodore FREDERICK P. DILLON, Chairman.






The board of trustees of All Souls Church, Unitarian, 16th and Harvard Streets NW., Washington, D.C., has authorized and directed a committee to be formed (members of the committee appended below) to explore further the feasibility of the establishment of an agency for the utilization of skills and experience of older people and to report directly to the board of trustees the results of the exploration.

It is immediately recognized by the committee that this directive has many aspects, all of which cannot be explored by the committee within a reasonable length of time. The utilization of the skills and experiences of older people for useful employment from a morale as well as from a financial viewpoint has become an increasing national problem.


The committee understands:

1. This is not a project the object of charity.

2. This is not a project similar to that operated by the Good Will Industries. 3. This is not a recreation project for older people although recreation may find its place here. Rest and recreation are recuperation from work and not an aim in themselves. The committee is fully cognizant of the work of the Recreation Department of the District of Columbia, a Government agency with a paid staff. See pamphlet published by this agency monthly where some 30 more or less free recreation programs are listed, covering such fields as music, lectures, concerts, drama, public speaking, singing, dancing, etc., many of which might appeal to older people with initiative and desire to participate.


This is a project for utilization of skills and experience of older people in the constituency of the main church and the Montgomery County Unitarian Center. By older people is meant around 60 years of age or older, or retired people, or those who wish a more satisfactory outlet for their abilities for compensation, or volunteers who are interested in assisting in the project without compensation.

Also the committee wishes to locate employers for these older people in the area being explored or outside. The circular letter attached dated January 9, 1953, also attempts to describe the project. Notices concerning it have been inserted in the Washington Unitarian for January and in the regular Sunday programs. Fourteen church heads of organizations within the church have received information about the project, and announcements describing the project have been made at meetings of these groups. Prominent people who may be interested have been corresponded with by mail and phone. A number of letters are on file with suggestions. The actual number of those older people who have wished to participate is attached and is small. This can be accounted for by the reticence that might be expected.


The church offers a large field of activity for the employment of the time of older people and many take advantage of these opportunities with inward satisfaction. The church could not function successfully without them and appreciates the hearty response. But there are some older people who wish other outlets for their time, talents, and ability. Furthermore the committee is not in favor of segregating older people from any suitable activities of the church and fosters special groups such as the Rainbow, where senior members can get together socially and for entertainment.

But to fully live with self-satisfaction, older people should learn something new, as in a study group. There should be creative work for older people.


The committee recognizes that the project is national in its scope. Statewide surveys have been made on the subject of employment of older people. The District of Columbia authorities of the government are sensitive to the problem. Numerous magazine articles have been written relating to the subject, and books have been published to show "arbitrary age limits deprive us of some of our best workers."

The committee has conferred with Fred Z. Hetzel, Director of the U.S. Employment Service for the District of Columbia, who has furnished the committee with quantities of data with reference to older workers. Here is a Federal agency with skilled paid workers whose special duty among many others "provides the community with employment counseling and selective placement * * * for older workers * * *” (Taken from pamphlet entitled "U.S. Employment Service What It Is, What It Does, How It Works," copy attached.) The results in this field are practically nil because it seems there is a prejudice on the part of private business to employ workers over 45 years of age.

The literature on the subject should be gathered together and made readily available in the church, where there is only a tiny segment of the problem. The proper utilization of older workers can best be done by private enterprise or industry which has advantages over Government which must depend on legislation and politics to set up an ideal system. Ideal systems have been set up in private enterprise when made conscious of its social obligation. The companies on the edge of failure in a competitive system of course cannot accomplish much along this line.

Older people should be helped in an adjustment to their proper environment and the church can help through an agency. A few names of people have been received who want work for which they are qualified for compensation and the agency in the church should make a special effort to find employers for them. The committee feels that when those older people fully understand the spirit of the project, more will come forward with the proper approach on the part of the agency.


1. Since the need for utilizing the skills and experience of older people is growing and national in scope, our church should have a permanent agency, call it a council for senior members (if the board wishes), appointed by the board of trustees, of a size in proportion to the need at the time, with a social worker at its head with a knowledge of the psychology of older people and to encourage a receptive attitude to the efforts of the agency. There should be a large enough council to fully investigate the problem of "adjusting older people to their proper environment," with compensation or not, depending on circumstances. Perhaps

the compensation would be enough in some cases if the older people derived satisfaction in creating something for which they develop talent. Of course, if means could be found to pay the social worker that would be ideal. The functions of the senior council might be:

1. Counseling.


2. Cooperation with existing agencies engaged in similar or related work, USES, Recreation Department of the District of Columbia, Good Will Industries, etc.

3. Investigation and arrangement of employment, with special attention to cases furnished herewith.

4. Find employers and arrange meeting with prospective employees; personnel work.

5. Establish a repository for up-to-date information: (a) All forms of retirement, government and private; (b) old-age pensions; (c) social security; (d) workers compensation, etc., etc.


The senior council might meet monthly after the coffee hour for not more than 1 hour, or special meetings as desired. They should make an annual report to the board of trustees at the proper time.

It is suggested that the members of the committee listed herein might accept transfer to the senior council.

The files of the committee are turned over to the board of trustees with this report.


Newspaper: Reporter, New York Evening Sun. Developed "Events Tonight" feature now carried by most newspapers under that or similar title. Short column of human interest (1913–14).

Magazine work: Associate editor, Woman's Home Companion, 1915-17. Developed better films movement-two complete files of these articles, as history, have been in the Library of Congress, since publication, 1917.

Administrative: Executive director, America's Allies, Cooperative Committee, six divisions; executive director, Women's Municipal League.

Housing work: Housing specialist with Queensboro Corp., in the development of Jackson Heights, New York City, a large-scale community garden apartment development, tenant owned, valued at $50 million (1921–31).

National representative, Better Homes in America, 1931–33.

Consultant, Housing Division, Public Works Administration, 1933-34.
Housing specialist, Federal Home Loan Bank Administration, 1935–36.
Housing specialist, U.S. Office of Education, 1936.

Executive director, Washington Housing Association, 1937-46.

A. Developed first rent-control law of World War II used as a model in 350 cities.

B. Initiated first war housing center of World War II used as a model for 300 cities.

C. Originated social welfare consultant service in the landlord and tenant branch of the municipal court.

D. Set up first housing code (draft).

Housing consultant, Housing and Home Finance Agency-made an exploratory study of housing of the aging in Washington, D.C., 1950.

Labor: Study of health and welfare funds of the labor unions in the building trades in Washington, D.C. This study was the first of its kind, financed jointly by unions and contractors, 1954. Other studies for special labor unions and public relations work, 1949-58.

Miscellaneous: First cost-of-living study, 1934, covering Pittsburgh and Scranton under WPA and Department of Labor.

Writer, editor, Sesquicentennial Commission, Washington, D.C., the souvenir program, "Faith of Our Fathers," 1951.

Series of articles on vocational rehabilitation for the American City magazine, 1951-55.

Three pamphlets for Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Health, Education, and Welfare, 1957.

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