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The Archivist


State has history of generosity

Mary Phillips Published: January 17, 2013 defines generosity as “the spirit of giving.”

It seems that Oklahomans have always been generous.

We rise to the occasion when a need is presented to us.

Whether it is providing care and support for the rescue teams that helped after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, or helping tornado victims clean up after storms or bringing a can of food for the Oklahoma City Food Bank, or donating their time and efforts, Oklahomans reach out and help.

The Oklahoman’s Dec. 17, 1911, society column began with this item. It illustrates that spirit of generosity that I think Oklahomans still share today.

“Never in the history of the city has there been such a manifestation of the true spirit of Christmas tide as this season, when the world of society, the world of the prosperous and fortunate is turning its attention, not so much toward the giving of gifts to equally fortunate, but to the giving of happiness and good cheer to those less well provided with the goods of this world.

“Baskets of provisions, bundles of toys for children and clothing for old and young are being collected by some of the busiest women in society.

“Others are lending their carriages and automobiles to collect these things and to distribute them among the homes for which they are intended.

“Many a child with its feet on the cold ground will receive a substantial pair of shoes. Many a shivering form will be protected with warm clothing as the result of the efforts of the kindly women who are preparing to bless with comforts the desolate homes of this city.

“One wealthy mother was heard to say the other day, ‘I am not teaching my little girl to think of what she wants for herself but of what she wants to give to make others happy.’

“Another who has no children, but who has the mother spirit toward all, especially toward those of the poor, is spending almost the entire contents of her Christmas purse for the poor, reserving only a small sum for Christmas cards and trifling remembrances which she will send to her many friends already blessed with abundance.

“There is not a club in the city that is not making its Christmas plans to gladden some humble hearth. If there are any selfish idle rich in Oklahoma, one does not hear of them, so obscure do they become in contrast to the kindly generous persons whose spirit of love is finding its way into many a home that would remain dark over the merry season of Yuletide without its gentle manifestations.

“The touch of our lives with others — brings wealth to all of us, rich or poor. And the more Christmases we can share in, however, slight they may be, the more will we find the day glowing with reminisces that we may cherish through a life time.”

Let us take this lovely sentiment and continue the spirit of giving.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas.