1920s Save "Old Ironsides" Campaign
Despite having undergone repairs and restorations between 1906 and 1907, USS Constitution was in a dire state of disrepair by 1924. In November of that year, Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur assembled a committee to lead the National Save “Old Ironsides” campaign, with the goal of raising enough money to restore the ship.
A central component of the Save “Old Ironsides” efforts was a pennies campaign that asked students throughout the country to collect and donate pennies to fund the restoration efforts. Students at more than 800 schools across the United States participated in the campaign, raising around $154,000. The Elks Club helped organize this effort, and also held a national essay writing contest about “Old Ironsides.”
The money raised by the pennies campaign, the proceeds of sales of souvenirs and prints, and additional funds authorized by Congress were all used to fund the extensive restoration of Constitution that began in 1927.Read More