March of Dimes
The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes, was established in 1938 and grew out of the great success of the Birthday Balls for President Franklin Roosevelt. The balls and the foundation, both Roosevelt’s ideas, were directed by his friend and former law partner, Basil O’Connor.
The March of Dimes was a grassroots campaign run primarily by volunteers. Over the years, millions of people gave small amounts of money to support both the care of people who got polio and research into prevention and treatment. Those contributions financed Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, and the other researchers who developed the polio vaccines that children around the world receive today.
- The organization’s name came from comedian Eddie Cantor’s comment that the donation of dimes from across the country could become a “march of dimes,” a reference to the popular March of Time newsreels of the era.
- The first March of Dimes poster child was printed in 1946 and featured Donald Anderson who became a postal worker and lived in Seattle, Washington.
- A quart of milk in the 1930s
- A copy of On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in 1937
- A copy of Esquire, LIFE, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, or McCall’s in 1942
- A hot dog in 1945
- Two bottles of Coca-Cola in 1945
- A bag of popcorn at the fairground in 1948
- A one-way subway fare from Times Square to Coney Island in 1948
- A cup of coffee in 1950
- A pay phone call in 1960