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The Great Depression



The Crash (Coronet Magazine, 1946)

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 to a close on October 24, 1929 - the stocks offered at the New York Stock Exchange had lost 80% of the 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.

Another article on this topic can be read here...

 

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 tha existed between men and women during the 1930s.

During the later years of the Great Depression a new hat was a seemingly unattainable fashion item and so many women began wearing one particular clothing element in lieu of a hat - click here to find out...

 

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.

 

The Era of Bartering (Pathfinder Magazine, 1934)

"Scrip (sometimes called chit) is a term for any substitute for legal tender and is often a form of credit" - so reads the Wikipedia definition for those items that served as currency in those portions of the U.S. where the bucks were most scarce. If you've been looking for an article that showed that not every American had faith and hope in the "economic genius" of FDR and his "Brain Trust" - you found it.

The attached news column tells a scrip story from the early Thirties - the type of tale that was most common on the frontier in days of old.

 

The Great Depression and the Failings of FDR (New Outlook Magazine, 1934)

The columnist whose opinions are attached angrily pointed out that the first year of FDR's administration had marginalized the Congress - and further opined that Roosevelt's rhetoric clearly implied his arrogant conviction that his administration alone was the only alternative to out right revolution, and should therefore to be seen as a mandate of the people. The article lists the numerous failings of FDR's "New Deal".

CLICK HERE to read more criticism from FDR's loyal opposition...

 


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