Band of Mercy Membership Card

The American Band of Mercy membership cards were double-sided, printed on heavy card stock and feature a different image of an animal (typically a cat or a dog) on the front. This image serves as an important visual reminder of the Band of Mercy pledge that each member took. While in most cases the image on the front of the membership card was of a single dog or cat, that animal stood as a symbol of all creatures in need of care and protection.

American Band of Mercy membership card, n.d. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

American Band of Mercy membership card, c.1918. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

The front of the card explained the object of the American Band of Mercy (“to awaken in the heart of every child the impulse of kindness toward all that lives”), reprinted the pledge that each member took, and offered basic information about the Band of Mercy movement in the United States.

On the reverse of the card was a poem entitled “Let Us Be Kind”

Let us be kind;

The way is long and lonely,

And human hearts are asking for this blessing only–That we be kind.

We cannot know the grief that men may borrow,

We cannot see the souls storm-swept by sorrow,

But love can shine upon the way today, tomorrow–Let us be kind.

Let us be kind;

Around the world the tears of time are falling,

And for the loved and lost these human hearts are calling–

Let us be kind.

To age and youth let gracious words be spoken,

Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are broken.

We live in vain who give no tender token–

Let us be kind.

Beneath this poem is a list of “THINGS TO REMEMBER” which includes the following:

  • “Let us protect the cats and dogs from ill treatment, give them food and water and a warm place to sleep in. They like a gentle touch and kind words.”
  • “Make your horse comfortable. Do not use the overhead check or any tight checkreins. Never jerk, kick, whip, overload, or overwork him.”
  • “Do not fish or hunt just for sport or use steel or other cruel traps.”
  • “Try never to cause needless pain to any living creature.”
  • “When you see any creature abused, earnestly but kindly protest against such abuse.”
  • “Try to treat every living creature as you would like to be treated if you were that creature.”

The inclusion of this poem and list on the back of the membership cards, ensured a constant and portable reminder of the principles underlying the Band of Mercy movement. Hundreds of these membership cards were carried in the pockets and wallets of children across the United States.

Return to Bands of Mercy

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