Ivory Soap advertisement for a prize contest in
1939, similar to other contests that Procter & Gamble held
during the late 1930s. Ladies' Home Journal, February,
1939, p. 10, Periodicals Collection.
of Miss Porter from a newspaper article about her industrial nursing
career, at the time of her retirement, The Milwaukee Journal,
October 11, 1959, Part 6, Page 13.
Gift of Monica Lepine Starrett
Miss Porter, a Registered Nurse for the
Chain Belt Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, formed their medical
department and pioneered workplace safety equipment from 1929
through 1959. During the 1930s Depression, she felt fortunate
to have a job, let alone an interesting career. Although she worked
hard, she could not afford a car and got around Milwaukee by walking,
taking the bus or the streetcar. On weekends she often visited
her parents in her hometown of Elkhorn about 45 miles southwest
of Milwaukee, traveling by train or hitching rides with relatives.
She dreamed of someday owning her own car.
In 1937, Rispah Porter took a step towards
fulfilling this dream and entered Procter & Gamble’s
Ivory Soap contest hoping to win the prize of a new Pontiac automobile.
She may have read about this Ivory Soap contest in a magazine
or heard about it on the “O'Neills” radio program,
which was sponsored by Ivory Soap. To enter the contest, the contestant
had to write a letter explaining why they liked Ivory Soap. According
to family members’ recollections, her letter began “As
a Registered Nurse…” and went on to explain why she
only used Ivory Soap in the medical clinic of her company.
On March 19, 1937 she received a telegram
informing her that she was the winner of a 1937 Pontiac and a
year’s supply of gasoline. She quickly took driving lessons
and was soon able to drive herself to visit her parents in Elkhorn.
Her family kept the telegram and photograph of her with the car
and donated them to The Henry Ford in 1999. Her niece, Monica
Starrett gathered the family stories about her Aunt Ris and the
Ivory Soap contest for this online exhibit.
® Ivory Soap is a Registered Trademark
of the Procter & Gamble Corporation.
Cynthia Read-Miller, Curator, Photography and Prints