Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"A Prostrate Mother's Appeal" — From 1924

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Somebody on eBay has a rather interesting item for sale: a Memphis Police Department "Detective Division Circular" for a missing person, dated October 15, 1924.

Now, I imagine the police department searched for quite a few missing persons over the years, but I wonder if the official alerts were worded as dramatically as this one. Carrying the banner headline, "A Prostrate Mother's Appeal," the circular describes a young man named Howard Conrad, who disappeared from our city on September 26, 1924, and "has had a mental breakdown, which renders him unfit to hold a job [though] may attempt work."

The very words the doctors have used to describe me!

The circular continues: "There is a price on Conrad's head — one hundred dollars. It is not like the price that is placed on a criminal's head, for his capture dead or alive. It is the price of Mother's love. The parent's courage is strong. They believe they will find their son, if those who know a parents' love for an afflicted child will only help. Will you?"

The circular urged officials to check all hospitals, asylums, public institutions, and county farms. Then it added this bit of curious information about young Conrad: "Acts as one who uses dope and visits such places. May be giving another name and will not give parents' address, which is 2225 Madison Avenue."

That house is still standing today, just east of Overton Square, though the Conrad family apparently moved out many years ago. I wish I knew how this sad tale played out, but I have no idea if Howard Conrad ever turned up. And I didn't think it would be fair to the eBay seller to include an image of the "Missing Person" notice here, but if you'd like to take a look at this interesting document from the past, go here:

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