The Founding of USE

Henry Holdship Ware was born in Montclair, NJ on July 11, 1908 and died in Reston, Virginia on May 21, 1999.  After graduating from Pomona College, Henry spent five years with a Russian family in the Soviet Union while teaching at the Anglo-American School and writing for the Moscow Daily News. He later studied Soviet economics and marketing at the Plekhanov Institute of National Economy.  He received his masters and Ph.D from Columbia University.

After moving to Washington D.C. in 1939, Dr. Ware became the Acting Chief of the USSR Division of the Office of International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce.  During World War II he was assigned to the U.S. Military Mission in Moscow. He was an interpreter at the international conferences at Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam and at the Berlin surrender. He also assisted in expediting the Lend-Lease deliveries and was an official liaison officer assigned to the Ukraine.  Following the war, Dr. Ware worked in the travel and human relations division of the National Education Association. There he originated and administered both the Washington and Washington-United Nations seminars. During this time he also worked to overcome racial discrimination and segregation in public schools.

In the 1950s and 1960s, he helped his wife run the Vienna (Virginia) Swap Shop. In the early 1970s, Dr. Ware developed and administered a pilot transportation project for the elderly in Arlington County.

In 1975 he founded the Useful Services Exchange (USE), a barter service, used mostly by hundreds of Reston residents.  Its inventory included hundreds of different skills and talents, such as chores participants could do for others, giving rides to the airport, lending of equipment, with the emphasis on services. By 1991, in the Reston area alone, USE served nearly 10,000 members. Over the years the concept spread throughout the United States and abroad. USE has been featured in various magazines and on major TV networks.

Dr. Ware co-authored the Barter Network Handbook, published in 1983. Business periodicals published his articles on bartering, as well as on Soviet economics and international trade.  He also conducted seminars and lectured at Allegheny College, American University, Catholic University, Columbia, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, Princeton, the University of Virginia, Yale, and Washington State University.

During his last 10 years of life, Dr. Ware continued to lecture to many civic groups, clubs, and schools. He was active in his community and served as an advisor to the Explorer Boy Scouts, chairman of the Vienna World Affairs Committee, president of the Fairfax County Friends of the Library, and was a founder and board member of the Unitarian Universalist Church.  A lover of the outdoors, he was an avid hiker, bicyclist, skier and gardener.

(Information source: The Connection, May 26 – June 01, 1999)