M.A. Zoller, Sr. wrote this to President Franklin D. Roosevelt July 13, 1933.
It captures poignantly what life before Social Security was like:
Here is the text from the letter above:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
I write to ask your assistance in securing an old age pension for my mother Mrs. Martha Gilbert, wife of L.R. Gilbert (deceased since January 6, 1920).
She is helpless, suffering from Sugar Diabetes, which has affected her mind. She has to be cared for in the same manner as an infant. She is out of funds completely. Her son whom she used to keep house for is in a hospital in Waco, Texas—no compensation for either himself or her.
I am a widow; have spent all my savings in caring for her. I have kept boarders & roomers in a private home to try to keep my four children for I have always been a lady; this is why I appeal to you to place your dear mother in my dear mother’s place. With no money and no place to go unless it be to the poor house, I cannot rent my rooms now for she demands constant care & attention. Please do something about this request as soon as possible. She will be 82 years old on August 9th.
Mrs. M.A. Zoller Sr.
I do not own my home and at the present I cannot meet my bills (overdue). I don’t know what to expect next.
Thank you in advance.
Our fight for Social Security is still not over. Please contribute what you can to ensure that your retirement remains as secure as it did when our country made the promise 78 years ago.