CREDIT: How to Get Out of Debt

Two smart young Detroiters, Morris Crawford Purdy and Robert Frederick Rouse, fresh out of the University of Michigan, in 1937, had an idea for a business: to take over the affairs of people ear-deep in debt and set them on their financial feet.

The Purdy-Rouse plan was simple. A dunned, garnisheed, bill-racked client turned his paycheck over to their Credit Adjustment Co. or had his employer mail it to them. Then he signed a pledge not to contract any more debts without C.A.C. approval, and agreed to live on what it doled out....