The authors compared various strategies for recruiting elderly subjects with bereavement-related depression into a randomized clinical trial. Over 5 years, they empaneled 65 patients from a total of 441 subjects screened (14.7%). Response to media advertisements was the single most effective strategy (54% of subjects). Another effective, but labor-intensive, strategy was using letters to bereaved spouses found through newspaper obituaries (14%); another 14% were referred by friends who had seen study advertisements. Information letters to healthcare providers yielded no study participants. Pathways to study participation did not differ as a function of race or gender and did not influence study retention or remission rates. Our experience suggests that successful intake depends on a personal mode of recruitment.