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Aid For War's Blind Pressingly Needed

Creator: n/a
Date: April 9, 1916
Publication: The New York Times
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Committee of Leading Men Issues a Signed Appeal for Contributions.




Jewish Fund Approaching $4,000,000 Mark -- Campaign for Relief of French War Orphans Opens.


The thousands of French, Belgian, and British soldiers who have been blinded in the European war are in a pitiable condition, according to an appeal which a group of prominent Americans have just issued. The appeal was issued through the Permanent Blind War Relief Fund, 590 Fifth Avenue, and among those who signed were Frank A. Vanderlip, Vincent Astor, Elihu Root, Senator Thomas P. Gore of Oklahoma, Robert Bacon, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, Myron T. Herrick, Otto H. Kahn, Joseph A. Widener, August Belmont, and George A. Kessler. The appeal read:


Unable to work at their former trades, the numerous blinded victims of the war cannot support themselves and their families. Their Governments, overburdened with great problems, are able to do very little for them at this time.


Six months' training, the committee added, would educate almost all of these thousands of now useless blind men in practical, paying trades, in which they could support themselves and at least partially support their families. Work of this kind has already been begun by C. Arthur Pearson, the blind English newspaper proprietor and philanthropist, at St. Dunstan's, in England, by Les Amis des Soldats Aveugles in the Maison de Convalescence in France, and by Miss Winifred Holt of the Comité Franco-American pour les Aveugles, of which Joseph H. Choate is President. The Permanent Blind Relief War Fund seeks to assist, develop, and enlarge these efforts.


To Enlarge Institutions.


The first work of the fund will be to enlarge and modernize all the present blind institutions of Europe by means of financial donations, as well as assisting the work of Mr. Pearson in England and Miss Holt in France. The fund later intends to organize in various European cities additional modern equipped blind schools, blind workshops, blind employment exchanges, and agencies for commercializing blind products so that all this particular class of war victims may be saved from their present hopeless and helpless situation and may be rendered self-supporting for life. The appeal added:


Self-respecting, able-bodied, passing daily through a living death, these thousands of blind war victims are being slowly killed, not by their injuries, not by starvation, but by the helplessness of their situation. A single contribution of a few hundred dollars will go far to make one of these blinded soldiers self-supporting for life.


The work of the newly organized committee is under the patronage of the King and Queen of England, King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, President Poincaré of France, and Queen Mother Alexandra of England. Among the prominent women who will be active in the work are Mrs. John Astor, Lady Arthur Paget, Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt, Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, Mrs. T. Coleman DuPont, and Mrs. Samuel Insull.


Four Nations at Work.


The committee is divided into three sections, the American, the British, and the Franco-Belgian. Vice Presidents of the American section include George F. Baker, President Hibben of Princeton, Cardinal Gibbons, William K. Vanderbilt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Clarence Mackay, Mrs. Hobart Chatfield- Taylor, and William H. Crocker. Among the British Vice Presidents are Cardinal Bourne, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, Premier Asquith, David Lloyd George, Lord Reading, Earl Rosebery, Lord Rothchild, the Duchess of Marlborough, and the Lord Mayor of London. The French and Belgian Vice Presidents include the Duchesse of Vendome, who is King Albert's sister; Cardinal Mercier, Cardinal Amette, Emil Loubet, Premier Briand, Rene Viviani, General Manoury, General De Castelnau, the Princess Murat, and M. Alfred Levy, the Chief Rabbi of France.