In the 1930s, during the Depression, when large numbers of people were out of work, Schuster enlarged the dinner to include the newsboys’ friends and the attendance swelled to 200 young men. The dinner continued throughout Jacob Schuster’s lifetime. After his death in 1941, his sons continued the tradition into the 1940s, hosting the dinner at the YMCA.
The Newsboys Christmas Dinner was only one of Jacob Schuster’s civic involvements. Schuster was a member of the Merchants Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Eagles, Elks and Masons Lodges. He was at one time a director of the Community Chest (what we now know as the United Way.) He helped to start a synagogue in Anderson and he sat on ecumenical religious councils. He was also a member of the board of directors for two local banks and the Hughes-Curry Packing Company. He stayed actively involved in the operation of Schuster Brothers as well.
After Jacob Schuster’s death in 1941, his business was taken over by his sons. A second Schuster Brothers store in Muncie was in operation until the mid ‘40s. In 1949, the store moved from its longtime location on courthouse square to south Meridian Street. His sons Simon and then Harry ran the store until the mid 1950’s when Schuster Brothers closed.
I will probably file a little early this month because I’m getting ready to take a week’s vacation. You should also get the Erskine story for 12/29 early as well.
Attached is a 1930’s picture of Schuster Brothers Men’s Store. The founder, Jacob Schuster, started a tradition of hosting a Christmas dinner for local newsboys in either 1908 or 1909.