Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the early 20th century. Doctors were treating this dreaded disease at special hospitals called sanitariums. The sale of Christmas seals (stamps) began in 1907; in 1919, the double-barred cross appeared as a symbol for the National Tuberculosis Association.
The schools of Lawrence County did their part stamp out tuberculosis during the Depression. According to an article, Country School Notes, in the Lawrence County News on December 10, 1931, by E. C. Cunningham, the Seal Sale was sponsored by the schools in the county to help those with tuberculosis.
During 1931, $175.39 was spent for milk for undernourished children with tuberculosis in the county. Cunningham mentioned that Elzie Pepple was a patient at St. John’s Sanitarium in Springfield and might have to be there for two years. His expenses were around $50 per month. The sale of Christmas seals was paying for that as well.
Every time someone spent one cent for a Christmas seal, part of that amount stayed in the school district for the benefit of the children of that school. Marian Rosborough, Lawrenceville teacher was the first city teacher to sell her $5 worth of seals so her room was classified as a gold star room, and got to keep one dollar of the sales to be used in anyway she saw fit. Miss Anna Weller, 2nd grade teacher in Lawrenceville grade school, reported her pupils sold $10 worth of seals.
Mrs. Luella Benson, teacher of Valley School, was the first rural teacher to become a gold star school. The second rural teacher to report was Ollie Poland, teacher of advanced grades at Petrolia. Jennie Buchanan, teacher of the advanced room at Buchanan school, was the next teacher to report all her seals were sold. Mildred Wise, teacher of White Hall school in Lukin Twp, a very needy section of the county, sold only 25 cents worth of seals according to Cunningham.