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Keister solicits readers for script

Editor's Note: The article below by E.E. Keister was originally titled "Wanted -- Shen. Pub. House Script Issued In 1930's" and appeared in the Daily on Dec. 5, 1964.

"Most of the script was duly redeemed with cash, but some of the little certificates were kept by persons for sentimental reasons or as souvenirs. ... In the rush of events in those hectic days, I kept none of the script."

-- E.E. Keister, the late founder of The Northern Virginia Daily

Businessmen of thirty-five years ago will remember quite well the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression years of the 30's. Day after day and month after month, prices and values dropped and tremendous losses were sustained by both individuals and corporations. For a short period -- it seemed long then -- banks were closed. In many cases credits were frozen and large sums of currency were hoarded or withdrawn from circulation. More than 500 daily newspapers over USA suspended publication.

Shenandoah Publishing House had just been incorporated (June 22, 1928), and we were much in need of working capital. After failing in several efforts to get sufficient additional financing, we decided to issue a limited amount of script, the certificates being in denominations of .25c, $1.00 and $5.00. This was done after obtaining advice from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Each certificate was numbered and dated and each contained the following information: "This certificate, worth Five dollars ($5.00) in the currency of the United States of America, will be redeemed in trade or cash, if presented by the holder to the Treasurer of Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc. between the fifth and seventh of any calendar month following the month of issue within one year from date of issue. Not valid unless counter-signed by E.E. Keister and W.K. Cooley. Not redeemable unless endorsed on back by each holder."

Of course the dollar was worth more than it is today. Inflation during the intervening years has taken its toll. By mutual consent, we paid our then twenty-odd employees partly in this script and partly in cash. Also by pre-arrangement, the following initial list of business establishments accepted the script certificates in lieu of cash for groceries, other merchandise or services: H.L. Borden Lumber Co., H.C. Burgess & Son, Campbell Grocery, Carper's Variety Store, C.E. Crabill & Son, Crystal Restaurant, Dalke Theatres, W.H. Grove Grocery, Johnson's Grocery, Kline Brothers. J.M. Lashley & Son, Little & Larrick, Machir Hotel, Michelson's, C.S. Painter, Peoples Drug Store, G.M. Racey, R.H. Riddleberger, H.L. Snapp & Son, H.H. Snarr, C.F. Stokes & Son, Stokes Furniture Co., Strasburg Heating & Plumbing Co., Strasburg Hotel, Strasburg Laundry, Strasburg Steam Flouring Mills, Virginia Restaurant, J. Wolfson, Womack Sales & Service, Zea & Wright. Time has also taken its toll on many of these establishments.

This arrangement gave us several thousand dollars in needed working capital. Most of the script was duly redeemed with cash, but some of the little certificates were kept by persons for sentimental reasons or as souvenirs. Of course, the certificates were systematically destroyed as they were redeemed, and new script was issued each payday. In the rush of events in those hectic days, I kept none of the script. Now I would like to have several of the little certificates as souvenirs for family and friends. If any person has one or more of these certificates I shall gladly pay a reasonable sum for one or more. Thanks!

Related story: Keister printed script during depression


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