To celebrate our rich history, we would like to share 80 stories that have made Variety of Wisconsin the great organization it is today. Each story will spotlight people – including volunteers, donors and sponsors who have helped build our organization, and most importantly, stories about children that we have served. We will also spotlight significant milestones and achievements throughout our history.
Join us as we celebrate our 80th anniversary with our 80 Years 80 Stories series.
Story #1-The girl who inspired it all
On Christmas Eve 1928, John H. Harris, manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh, was shocked to discover a one-month-old baby girl abandoned on one of the theatre seats with a note pinned to her dress:
Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and I pray to God you will look out for her. — A Heartbroken Mother
Story #2-Variety Comes to Wisconsin
In 1935, a group of businessmen, most of them with ties to show business, formed a chapter of Variety in Milwaukee. On March 1, 1935, Tent 14 was issued a charter.
Today it is known as Variety- the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, whose mission is to provide life-enriching assistance to Wisconsin children challenged by physical disabilities. The eleven original founding fathers were: Sam Shurman, Edward J. Weisfeldt, Alfred D. Kvool, Harold J. Fitzgerald, Arthur N. Schmitz, Charles W. Trampe, J. O. Kent, George Fischer, Ben Koenig, Edward F. Maertz, and A. C. Gutenberg.