Two Ten—The Beginning

In 1939, the average wage for a shoe salesman was about $60 a month and Boston was the center of America’s shoe manufacturing industry. Many shoepeople had fallen on hard times due to the loss of jobs during the Depression. On Wednesdays, which were leather days, many working salesmen got together and literally passed a hat in order to contribute to a pot of money they would use to support those out of work salesmen in need. Although they competed with each other professionally, personally they were united in helping their community.

Realizing that the passing of the hat was not a sustainable way to provide financial assistance, the group, including A.A. Bloom, Abe Borkowitz, Morris Rosenston and Al Schachat, decided to create an organization that would anonymously provide aid to shoepeople in need. Abe Shapiro, President of the Gold Seal Rubber Company, and owner of a building housing over 300 shoe companies at 210 Lincoln Street in Boston, gave a $500 gift to create the organization, as well as office space at 210 Lincoln Street to centralize their operations. It was then that Two Ten and the basis for its name was born.

Realizing they needed more capital to continue to grow, fundraising activities began. The first golf outing took place at the Kernwood Country Club on August 17, 1939. The first annual banquet was held at Boston’s Statler Hotel with more than 1,000 industry members in attendance.