Over 51K WWI pledge cards found in Waterloo

WATERLOO (AP) — Volunteers have been sorting through file card drawers that contain tens of thousands of donation pledge cards from Waterloo families who donated multiple times to war bond drives to support the nation during World War I.
The pledge cards were discovered in an attic of Veterans Memorial Hall by U.S. Air Force veteran Dick Hastings. Hastings and a couple dozen members of the Northeast Iowa Genealogical Society have been cleaning, organizing, documenting and compiling information from the pledge cards on computer for several years.
“They were covered with coal dust, and it took us a year to clean these cards,” Hastings said.
The cards contained the name, address, occupation and income of those who pledged, as well as where they banked, how many people lived in the household and their ages. Hastings said most of those who pledged had incomes of about $20 a week.
“You can tell who’s a lawyer and who’s the big shots. They invested a lot more money,” he said.
The volunteers have so far gone through nearly 52,000 pledge cards, including multiple from the same family. Hastings said he wouldn’t be surprised if the final tally is 60,000 to 70,000.
He hopes the cards can be used to benefit Memorial Hall.
“Eventually, if we ever get done, we hope to open it up to the public, where people can come in and get copies of these cards of their relatives,” Hastings said.