Dr. Theo. Kharas, the general manager of Keystone Mobile Car-Sign Company, knew exactly what he wanted in an assistant general manager.
Kharas placed a sizeable ad in The News (Frederick) with a very particular set of attributes for the vacant position at the business, a streetcar sign advertising company with an office in Hagerstown. For those who thought they might be suitable for the job, a good salary and an opportunity for advancement were promised.
Applicants for this “man-size job” had to be “clever” and “honest,” a leader who acknowledges he can take direction and also acknowledges he makes mistakes, according to the ad. In particular, Kharas wanted “[s]ome man as honest as Abe Lincoln and as clever as J. Rufus Wallingford…,” a con-artist character in silent films of the time.
Applicants could not rely on their pedigree or family name as an advantage. “Also, I don’t care a hoot what your grandfather did—YOU are the chap we’ll hire, if anyone at all,” per the ad. “Anyhow, I am more interested in descendants than ancestors.”
Throughout the ad, Kharas uses a firm tone, perhaps as a means of weeding out those who wouldn’t be able to take the pressure of the position. “Really, I am not as savage as I sound,” proclaimed Kharas, “so if you think you’ll do at all, call at the Board of Trade office, and the suspense will soon be over—for you.”
Source: The News, January 2, 1914, January 13, 1914, www.imdb.com
Photo: A streetcar driving in Williamsport, Maryland, sometime between 1906 and 1923.
“Maryland. Williamsport. Streetcar passing Potomac House.” Photograph. From Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress ( LC-USZ62-35324; http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2013646436/ accessed February 29, 2016)