Great Depression

Overprotection

After 20 years of looking for someone who could perform the “middle deal,” Dai Vernon had pretty much decided this supreme piece of sleight of hand was a fable. Then, one night in a Wichita jail, a prisoner told Vernon he’d seen a man do it…

Will the current bull market die spectacularly, à la 1929, or—as in 1974—strangle in weird silence?

J.P. Morgan did not have much use for either the stock market or reporters. So when one reporter importunately asked him what the market was going to do one day, he replied, with about equal parts contempt and truth, “It will fluctuate.” Read more >>

When American cars ruled the world

THE CURRENT VOGUE FOR PUSHING TO SELL AMERICAN AUTOMOBILES ABROAD can certainly be called overdue. No one has seriously tried such a thing in generations. Read more >>

A veteran recalls the everyday courage of a threadbare generation

My brother called me from Youngstown recently with a bright idea. Why not get up a three-piece band for a meeting of his musical club next month when I planned to be in town? Read more >>
On a hot July night about fifteen years ago, a young New Yorker on his way out for the evening decided on a quick shave. When he flicked on his electric razor, however, the lights in his apartment went out. Read more >>

At a time when many are concerned by the nation’s loss of the unassailable economic position it occupied just after World War II, one historian argues that our real strength—and our real peril—lie elsewhere

We know more about sickness than about health. This is as true of medicine as it is of history, and as true of the condition of a nation as it is of a person. Moreover, the diagnosis must proceed not only from symptoms but from retrospect. Read more >>

For generations it was the mainspring, the proof, and the reward of a civilized social life. Now, a fond student of the ritual looks back on the golden age of the dinner party and tells you just how you should have behaved.

You probably haven’t seen it, but it’s out by the tracks of the Chicago & North Western

DeKalb, Illinois, our nearest city, is the site of Northern Illinois University. Some twenty-five thousand young people, mostly urban, from Chicago and environs, make Northern their home. Read more >>

It depends on whose interpretation of both history and the current crisis you believe. For one of America’s most prominent supply-side economists, the answer is yes.

Jude Wanniski was among the early leaders in the revival of supply-side economic theory. Read more >>

The crisis swept over France and Germany and Britain alike—and they all nearly foundered. Now more than ever, it is important to remember it didn’t just happen here.

Back in 1955 John Kenneth Galbraith called the Great Depression of the 1930s “the most momentous economic occurrence in the history of the United States,” and thirty-odd years later that judgment, recorded in Galbraith’s best seller, The Great Crash Read more >>

The twenties and thirties saw a host of new ways to separate customers from their money. The methods have not been forgotten.

No era provides such revealing insights into the cultural values of both producers and consumers of American advertising as the 1920s and 1930s, when admen not only claimed the status of professionals but also saw themselves as missionaries of modernity. Read more >>
Frank Hamer, a former Texas Ranger, got a tip that the bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker would be coming down a road near Arcadia, Louisiana. Hamer had been after them for six months. Read more >>

Using the same bold colors that drew the rubes in to see the Giant Rat of Sumatra and the Three-Headed Calf, he painted a fanciful record of his world

T HE GREAT DEPRESSION was as hard on circuses as it was on every other enterprise, but during those years, R. G. Read more >>

In 1984 Los Angeles will once again play host to the Summer Olympics. It’s got to be easier that the first time. That was just fifty years ago, when, in the teeth of the Great Depression, a group of local boosters boldly set about planning

March 1925. Read more >>

A Graphic Treatment

The Department of Labor first began publishing a Cost of Living Index in 1919. Since then this measurement of the prices of the goods and services used by ordinary people in their day-to-day lives has been many times modified and refined. Read more >>
The Plains Acrossi The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60 by John D. Unruh, Jr. University of Illinois Press Illustrations, tables, maps 565 pages, $20.00 Read more >>
People who have been turned out of their homes make keen historians. Forced from the land of their ancestors and onto the open road without a destination, they have a way of remembering—often to the minute of the day—the trauma of departure. Read more >>

For hoboes, the West was the land of milk and honey, of adventure, scenery, and easy living. A “land stowaway” hopped the first transcontinental train, and for six more decades they rode the rails

When young Jack London described the Reno of 1892 as “filled with … a vast and hungry horde of hoboes,” he was reporting no isolated phenomenon; shaggy, rootless men—tramps or hoboes—could be seen in every part of the West from the 1870’s down to the Second W Read more >>

AMERICAN DESIGN II THEY COMBINED BEAUTY AND UTILITY IN ORDINARY OBJECTS

We observed in the February issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE that the compilation of the Index of American Design was a singularly happy byproduct of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Read more >>

To what extent did greatness inhere in the man, and to what degree was it a product of the situation?

Seldom has an eminent man been more conscious of his place in history than was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He regarded history as an imposing drama and himself as a conspicuous actor. Read more >>

By frieght train, on foot, and in commandeered trucks, thousands of unemployed veterans descended on a nervous capital at the depth of the Depression—and were run out of town by Army bayonets