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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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After we had produced two records, a book portfolio, posters, postcards, a whole series of posters, it became clear that we had a lot of stuff on our hands that could be marketed. Since we were in the union, the audience was too small to warrant any kind of mass marketing program. So I thought that we ought to think about direct mail. I talked to a number of friends about how direct mail works etcetera, and they said that it might be, they thought nobody who has anything in labor has had any success. But I figured that if we could get the seed money we could get a head start, we couldn't loose anything. So I began to raise the question of a direct mail section through NEH, which would be a more logical place for it. While the program people -- Lynn Smith and Len Oliver -- thought it was a great idea, when they sounded off with Marty Sullivan, who was the deputy director in charge of that division, he was negative. I had a meeting with him and he said, “It's a great idea but we can't fund that kind of thing.”

Then, fortunately, he and I were guest speakers at a conference on Labor in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Southern California, and I had an opportunity to have lunch with him. I again went to work on it, and began to indicate that, “Look, the conference people ask me, ‘Where are the materials?’ You heard yourself. Films, videotapes, how do we get them?” I said, “It's a shame. We have to produce something, we have to produce in certain quantities. Why couldn't we take a chance at it?” He said, “Okay, let's take a crack at it. It's something we've never done.” So I said, “How much?” He said, “40,000 [dollars].” I said, “40,000?” He said, “Yes, 40,000.” I said, “40,000? Okay.” So, they gave us a grant.


That's a pretty good start for direct mail.


Yes, but that included starting to produce posters, produce materials that we had some, but to produce more materials. But it is a good start up, a good thing.

It was for a test. It was for a two year test. The proposal that was drafted indicated that we would test by renting certain lists, and we would go at it and see what the response was. The response was quite good. So, I couldn't come back for more money but the idea was that the money that we would raise through direct mail would go back in to the program. Then at one point I asked Lynn Smith, “By the way Lynn, as I read the manuals, anything that's produced -- anything that comes out of it -- is the profit of NEH.” She said, “Moe, I was very careful in how we drew up your proposal. The materials that you have, any money that you get from it, can go back in to Bread and Roses. It

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