by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff
In 1900, young Mr. Joseph Dombroski had an unfortunate accident with a train engine where he lost his left foot just above the ankle. Unfortunately, this had been only the latest of unfortunate events for his family, his father having died several years earlier from working in a coal mine.
Joseph was the second eldest child in a family of ten that had immigrated to America from Prussia in the late 1800s. After his father passed away, Joseph’s older brother, Anthony, went to work in a mill to help alleviate the family’s financial troubles. Shortly after, Joseph left school to work to help his family via working at a printing press.
The Evening Journal of December 19, 1900 featured an article about Joseph Dombroski, his family, and his accident with the train. More than that, a representative of Evening Journal had contacted A. A. Marks, a New York-based manufacturer of artificial limbs, and told the company about Joseph. A. A. Marks offered a discount of 20% or $20 on an artificial limb and, if Evening Journal were to take care of transportation costs, they would send a representative to Delaware to measure Joseph for the prosthetic and would also make any adjustments necessary, free of charge, after the prosthetic was made and fitted.
The Evening Journal further called for subscriptions (donations) to put toward the cost of the prosthetic. The article lists over a dozen donors in addition to the discount offered by A. A. Marks. The article indicates that the cost of the prosthetic was covered by donations and that Joseph would receive his artificial foot for Christmas, and he’d be allowed to return to work in the new year and thus help support his family.
In addition to a nice holiday story of a family receiving needed assistance after suffering such losses, this story not only shows how communities would come together to help someone who needed help, but also serves to underscore the power of newspapers to enlist community support of charitable causes such as this.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE DDNP STAFF!