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The Great Depression


The Crash (Coronet, 1946 & Literary Digest Magazines 1929)

This is an article about the 1929 stock market crash - it was that one major cataclysmic event that ushered in the Great Depression (1929 - 1940). It all came crashing down on October 24, 1929 - the stocks offered at the New York Stock Exchange had lost 80% of their value; the day was immediately dubbed "Black Thursday" by all those who experienced it. When the sun rose that morning, the U.S. unemployment estimate stood at 3%; shortly afterward it soared to a staggering 24%.

"In every town families had dropped from affluence into debt...Americans were soon to find themselves in an altered world which called for new adjustments, new ideas, new habits of thought, a new order of values. The Post-War Decade had come to its close. An era had ended." The era that followed was was the polar opposite of the one that had just gone down in flames: if the Twenties are remembered for confidence and prosperity, the Thirties was a decade of insecurity and want. The attached essay was penned by a popular author who knew the era well.

 

The Increased Suicide Rate (Literary Digest, 1933)

With the arrival of the Great Depression came a remarkable increase in the American suicide rate that surged from 18 in 100,000 up to 22 in 100,000. When this article appeared on the newsstands the Depression was just three and a half years old - with six and a half more years yet to come. As the Americans saw 1932 come to a close, the records showed that 3,088 more acts of self-immolation had taken place than had been recorded the year before.

This article devoted very little column space to the growing number of global suicides, as the title indicates, but primarily concerns U.S. statistics, breaking down the figures by listing the cities with the higher suicide rates and what manner of adult was most likely to indulge.

 

Why All The Sidewalk Apple Vendors?
(The Age of the Great Depression, 1948)

A single paragraph from the late Forties explains who was behind the rise and fall of the oft-photographed sidewalk apple vending stands in New York City.

 

The Lot of Women in the Great Depression (New Outlook, 1934)

An editorial by two American feminists who insisted that the economic depression of the Thirties had knocked the wind right out of the Women's Movement. They argued that some of the high ground that was earned in the preceding decades had been lost and needed to be taken back; their points are backed up by figures from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as other agencies. Much column space is devoted to the employment discrimination practiced by both state and Federal governments in favor of single women at the expense of the married. It is grievously made clear that even the sainted FDR Administration was one of the cruel practitioners of wage inequality.

CLICK HERE to read about the pay disparity that existed between men and women during the 1930s.

 

The Great Depression Reduced the Number of Marriages (The Pathfinder, 1933)

We were interested to learn that two of the most semi-popular queries on Google are, "1930s wedding theme decorations" and "1930 wedding dress styles" - yet to read the attached article is to learn that the most accurate step that any contemporary wedding planner assigned this theme can recommend is that the happy couple forego the nuptial ceremony entirely and simply move in together. During the Great Depression very few couples could afford to get married, much less divorced.

 

Labor Abuses in the South (Focus Magazine, 1938)

Many of the back-handed dealings that would be addressed in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel, "The Grapes of Wrath" are illustrated in the attached photo-essay titled, "Slavery in America". This article is about the cruel world of the Deep South that existed in the Twenties and Thirties. It was an agrarian fiefdom where generations of White planters and factory owners practiced the most un-American system of exploitation and feudalism that developed and was perpetuated from the chaos wrought by the Civil War and Reconstruction. It was a nasty place where the working people of both races labored under conditions of peonage and bone-crushing poverty with no hope in sight.

Click here to read more about the American South during the Great Depression.

 


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