View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.


American Housing Co.



Phont Linden 2-4057

January 4, 1937

Mr. Marrimer S. Eccles,
Federal Reserve Governor ,
Federal Reserve Board,
Washington, D. 0*
Dear Sir:
In your recent address to the American Farm Bureau Federation you were quoted in the press as follows:

It seems to me that our best hope lies in developing that form of organization for capital and labor
which will further the public interest. Thought
must be given for the best form of organization
that will insure an adequate representation of the
public interest involved in price, wage and production. fThe nation must solve these long range problems by hard and realistic thinking^ff

I have done that hard and realistic thinking that you mentioned.

I am fully aware of the size of the problems and that

Washington is swamped with proposals and plans.
Over a period of time, I have developed, within my mind,
"that form of organization that will insure adequately representation of the public interest involved in price, wage and production,11
A branch of the organization that must be fostered would
deal with the great housing problem, confronting us, and, other
branches would deal with the other basic necessities of life. The
housing program, which I have worked out in minute detail, could be
and should be launched immediately.

First, I shall submit the

following data in reference to housing.

- 8 Much more than has been proposed is essential to lure the
required amounts of private capital into housing, if the low cost
housing problem is to be solved, in the most effective manner possible and within a short span of time. Even when the National Housing
Act is revised and relatively large amounts of capital are attracted
to fairly large operating companies, they will only scratch the
surface in solving the housing problem.

The proposals which have

been submitted to Washington by such bodies as: the Committee for
Economic Recovery, Real Estate Boards, Chambers of Commerce, builders, material men, fabrication companies and leaders of industry,
all bear the ear-marks of ordinary planning.

Such planning will

not do*
I am not condemning the National Housing Act, for I believe
that it has served a useful purpose*
construction will result*

I do not deny that some new

But, the sustained ouotas of properly

planned lower cost housing, which are essential, will not result,
without the introduction of a new force, in our economic system*
As you yourself suggested, the key, not only to the housing problem
but also to the problem of replacing an existence with a living for
our people, must be solved by a new key*

The two problems are bound

up together, housing being a Dart of the greater problem*

They must

be treated accordingly and not left to the whims of a few private

The new key is a new type of organization which must be

included in our economic structure.
harm existing firms.

Such an organization would not

The present make-up of the building industry

absolutely prohibits cutting costs to the bone and yet they must be
so cut, if housing is to be one of the vehicles utilized in attaining the principal objective of the masses.

Large limited dividend

companies cannot sufficiently change the make-up of the building

I am not desirous of expressing an ego in connection with
this message, or, when I state that I know the lure that will attract more capital into low cost housing and has "been hoped for
in the most optimistic circles.

I also know how to cut the cost

of housing to a lower figure than you have ever heard suggested.
Bold statements, but I am fully prepared to back them up.


means to these ends are only possible by the synchronization of
many ideas, so meshed that the confusion in economic life, which
has nearly reached a climax, can be coped with and our economic machine brought under control. Without a governor to balance wages,
price and production, new construction is futile.
Kindly understand that there would be little value in writing my ideas. Mr. Ford could not have written his ideas about
building his automobile business, but he showed how well he could
coordinate ideas and execute them, when he had the chance.
Only two things would be necessary for you to do, if you
choose to cooperate with me. One, - give me sufficient time to expound my ideas on a subject that has baffled our best minds for

Two, - if you are convinced of the soundness of my ideas, it

would then be necessary for you to call in five men whom we agree

I state with conviction that within sixty days thereafter,

low cost housing projects would be in operation, also the new form
of organization to which I have referred.

You may think, from what

I say, that too much speed is indicated, or that my proposals seem

Did you ever sponsor anyone and have the satisfaction of

seeing him make good?

Did you ever take a long shot on a dark horse?

Sometimes one comes through better than the favorites which have had
more chance.
I have made only three attempts to present my ideas. I
recently wired Mr. James Roosevelt and Mr. John L. Lewis, and,

- 4 although I have had replies, they are not satisfactory ones.

I am

g " y u because of your interest in housing; "because of your
reported views; and because of your position*
when I wired Mr. James Roosevelt.

I erred in judgment

I am going to look, only to you,

for cooperation insofar as the Administration is concerned.
have to deal with Mr. Lewis.

I may

I should have mentioned a Republican

to whom I chose to write, Mr. Bruce Barton.

I did not want to for-

get the Republicans, especially a man who has sold many ideas.
I am not an alarmist, a crank, a Communist, or Fascist.


am merely a common-sense economist with a thorough knowledge of the
pulse of our people; a graduate of Princeton University, and engaged in housing, in order to learn a few things, that are not included in the reports that get to Washington.
set an objective.
herein stated.

Some years ago, I

To find ways and means of solving the problems

I have trained myself to execute my plan.

Up until

now, the time has not been propituous to launch it. Now, leaders
may say I am too young, at 35 years of age, but that does not deter
me one bit.

I have more than just the will to go ahead.

I have had

executive and other experience that few have been -orivileged to have
at my age. Also, I have forced myself for periods of time into seclusion and away from the confused activities of man, so apparent in
today's life, in order to think clearly enough to come forth with a
new and superior form of organization, which best fits our time and
To receive such a communication may seem strange, but I am
very direct in my dealings and I cannot afford to beat around the
bush to see our leaders.

The subject matter is either worth dis-

tressing, or it is not.
The attack on living cost must start, through new and better
methods, in order that the attack on wages can be relaxed, so that a

- 5 boomerang can be prevented.

The gap between big business and the

Government must be closed*

A dividing line must be staked out be-

tween the field of private enterprise and between the Government
in private business. The curtain must be drawn on hit and miss attempts to replace an existence with a living.

The masses are cry-

ing out for a sustained drive in this direction - a march of volunteers who will centralize their thoughts, energy, action and money
on the best method to lick the problem of gaining, for all our
people, abundance in the basic necessities of life - namely; food,
clothing, shelter and medical attention.
Although the Administration could act as sponsor , there is
the alternative of having no direct connection with the plan. I
contend that the announcing of the proposed Manifesto, would be
widely acclaimed and that the results could be a great monument to
the Administration • The Doctrines I have in mind can be as important to the United States as the doctrines of Marx t^ to Russia•
I make the following assertions with the full realisation
of their boldness.


That ample funds (hugh) for the organi-

zation can be secured; that the organization will insure, barring,
War, that which the masses in this country demand - a living.


the organization will serve as the needed governor on our economic
machinery; insuring a sustained rising standard of living and preventing serious dislocation within our economic system which we had
continuously experienced.

That the organization, although developed

along new lines, definitely follows American principals.

That the

organization, because of its nature and the popular support which it
could command would stop strikes by capital and balance any attempts
on the part of big business to advocate "aristocratic anarchy".


the organization is so planned that there can be no question of its

- 6 immediate acceptance by capital and labor•

That the organization

would serve as the best supplementary force in our economic structure in view of the times and conditions, and would be an important
factor in helping to preserve our capitalistic system.

That the

organization would bridge the gap between capital, labor and the

That the organization, because of its peculiar make-up,

would allow for continuity in carrying out its basic ideas and
would not be hampered by politics, legislation, bankers, and policies,
all of which usually cause backing and filling in connection with
present day organizations*
I realize that the presentation of this material causes a
reader to be skeptical of the claims and the writer•

But, think of

those who have already demonstrated special ability in the field of
technological improvements*

Think of our record of whipping up a

great War time spirit and the mobilizing of three million men. Because the World, has been to a great degree, economically illiterate,
opens the way for development of skill in the direction of human relations.

It is high time that such skill should be -uncovered. Re-

cently brain trusters and armchair economists have played a part in
our transition period.
The next period will be one when, either, saviors of our capital system appear or leaders who can persuade the masses to follow
them, while they supplant the present system, with a new one. The
later has already happened in Europe. May I remind you of your own
words as reported from your Farm Bureau speech.

The basic problems

"must be successfully met if we are to preserve our capitalistic
Short-sighted leaders may believe:

that there is no hurry

to find a great supplementary benevolent force to inject into our

- 7 economic system; that there is no panacea for our problems; that no
saviors are needed; that Laws, on the other hand, can bring about
the needed adjustment; that adoption of ideas from time to time can
mend the weaknesses of the structure*

A positive way to find out if

there is any need to hurry, is for our leaders to step down and work
with the masses as I did.

The pulse of the masses is never felt as

well by present day leaders as those of tomorrow, because those
presently in the seat of power have indirect contact, while future
leaders have direct contact with the masses. You know that, if capital and labor enjoys a great degree of prosperity, and they probably
will- gain some measure of false prosperity, then they are both too
stubborn to deal with*

What would happen then is any man's guess•

ITow, since capital and labor are both open for a plan, which would
make agreement possible on solution, it is the duty of political
leaders and others, to search for coordinators of the ideas which
would make social betterment possible. When these coordinators are
discovered the public further expects today's leaders to give every
possible cooperation.

If the ideas of these coordinators are proven

sound, then, in that case, the public further expects from today1s
leaders help in the focrm of launching the plans*
From now on, "political parties and industrialists are going
to be judged by their social results11 • But if the procedure which I
just mentioned is not followed, there are only two alternatives.
One, - the advancing of plans through the medium of labor leaders , or
through leaders of specially organized groups, and, in both cases,
economic strife is an attendant factor.
If for no other reason than there is the barest possible
chance that I can do what I claim, you should, for the sake of millions

- 8 of worn Americans, give me the chance to talk with you.
I respectfully request your reply, "but out of respect for
one who has worked hard and long on life's GREAT JOB, I trust that
you do not write and merely thank me for the data*
Yours very truly,

American Housing Company.

January 11, 1938*

Mr. Robert G. Wallace, President,
American Housing Company,
530 South i t o avenue,
Linden, New Jersey.
Dear Mr. Wallace:
Chairman Eccles requested me to acknowledge receipt of your letter of January 4th in regard to your
housing program, although you state there would be little
value in writing your ideas, could you not outline them
sufficiently so that he might have some idea of the lines
along which you are thinking before undertaking to arrange for an appointment and discussion with you.
AS you are doubtless aware, so many proposals are
sent here that it is impossible to ascertain which of them
would require a personal discussion such as you suggest, without
at least having some advance idea of their purport and scope.

Sincerely yours,

Elliott Thurston,
Special assist nt
to the Chaiman.