Janet Haas, Administrative Assistant in the Community Engagement and Alignment division of United Way, was recently asked by a local volunteer to help find a photo from the mid-1960s that had appeared in the newspaper.
The task was daunting – back then, our organization wasn’t even called “United Way,” it was named “SUN,” an acronym for Shelby United Neighbors. Also, at that time the area had two major newspapers, The Commercial Appeal was published for the morning and The Memphis Press-Scimitar was the area’s evening paper. The only clues Hass had were “it was of a group of ladies on a front porch looking at some paperwork” and “it was from the 1960s.”
Haas tackled the unenviable task of sorting through boxes of old clippings in the recesses of our storeroom. During her exploration, she came across the story shown above, from the Thursday, September 3, 1964 edition of The Memphis Press-Scimitar. The photos featured local women who were active in the fundraising drive that year. The center photo matched the description she had been given: a group of women on a front porch, reviewing some printed information about the need to support the 1964 fundraising drive.
The captions under each photo give us the names of the volunteers. Some of the volunteers had husbands who were also active in the SUN fundraising campaigns.
First photo at left: Mrs. Lester Samelson, Mrs. Robert Hussey, Jr., Miss Maxine Halliburton, Mrs. Paul Sissman. Second photo, center: Mrs. Henry Jones, Jr., Mrs. Bland Cannon, Mrs. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Mrs. W. Malcom McKinney. Third photo, right: Mrs. Allan Fisher, Mrs. William Carrington Jones, Mrs. William B. Dunavant, Jr.
The photos were taken by Memphis Press-Scimitar staff photographer William Leaptrott. Leaptrott would later be known for his historic photos of Elvis Presley and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A collection of his pictures has become an exhibit for museums and many iconic photos of Presley and King featured in books and documentaries come from Leaptrott’s days as a Press-Scimitar photographer.