Tag: 1930s

Book report: The Worst Hard Time

Book report: The Worst Hard Time

Books
You ever talk to one of those annoying people who always feels compelled to one-up your tales of woe?  You try to get a little sympathy for spraining your ankle, and all they can do is go on about the time they broke their leg twenty years ago.  Then there's the other variation, where you try to talk about a difficult situation with an older relative and they bust out the "back in my day..." line to trump you.  It's like, enough already old timer. Well here's the thing about the folks who lived through the Dust Bowl of the 1930s - their stories really are worse than your stories.  Every time.  And they don't have to embellish or exaggerate.  The trick is to make those stories readable and engaging, which isn't as easy as it may seem.  Fortunately we have Timothy Egan's 2005 work, The Wo
The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

Ephemera, History
One of the really cool things about the internet is that now everyone who can get there can get access to a treasure trove of historical documents and photographs that were previously the domain of hardened researchers or supergeeks.  All you need is some time to spare and the desire to take a look at our country's not-so-distant past, and some great stuff is there for the asking.  Case in point, the Library of Congress WPA poster gallery I highlighted a few years ago. This time we're going to look at something even cooler - highlights from a LoC collection of photographs from the 1930s and '40s... in color!  While the subject matter isn't necessarily scintillating on all these, the opportunity to see life as it really looked back then is a rare treat indeed.  Something about seeing a s
Link of the day, 11/09/09

Link of the day, 11/09/09

Internet, Links
I'll probably pull some of these for a later article, but you should check out this sweet Flickr slideshow of color photographs from the 1930s and '40s. They're provided by the Library of Congress, who had another spectacular collection featured on this very site.
Vintage Tabletop: Touring

Vintage Tabletop: Touring

Ephemera, Games & Toys
For the deluxe presentation of Touring, head over to the Touring page on the main site. In 1906, cars were still considered a luxury item in the United States, well beyond the reach of the common folk.  And yet two years before the legendary Model T ushered in the era of affordable automobiles for the masses, the now-defunct Wallie Dorr Company figured the time was right to capitalize on what was still a niche product.  And to do so they unveiled a new card game based on the expensive, newfangled horseless carriage - Touring. You probably haven't heard of Touring but you've likely heard of its successor, Mille Bornes.  The idea is the same, really.  Players are engaged in a race of X miles (the figure changed over the years), and can play delay/hazard cards to stop or slow down their
Classic Thanksgiving ephemera – Indian Gum Cards

Classic Thanksgiving ephemera – Indian Gum Cards

Ephemera
In days of yore companies issued trading/bubble gum cards depicting not just baseball players, but even actors, U.S. Presidents, and license plates. One such manufacturer, the Goudey Gum Company of Boston, began issuing cards picturing Indian tribes and well-known Indians in 1933. This series ended in 1940, but Goudey began printing a new series depicting "Indian and Pioneer romantic days" in 1947. Shown here are two cards from that series, owned by a family member. Up top is a card showing a member of the Huichol, native to Western Central Mexico (yes I know that a native Mexican has nothing to do with American Thanksgiving). Most curiously about this card is that it speaks of the Huichol as if they were extinct, but according to their Wikipedia article they are very much alive...
Posters of the WPA

Posters of the WPA

Ephemera
Back in the day (1935 to be precise), President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an enormous government program aimed at providing employment for millions of Americans affected by the Great Depression. The legacy of the WPA is a host of public works (bridges, roads, etc.) and cultural projects. That's all well and good obviously, but what I really care about are the cool posters designed to promote many of the WPA's programs. All of these images and hundreds more are available as part of the Library of Congress's "Posters of the WPA" collection. I've simply picked what I feel are some of the most visually appealing and added my usual pithy commentary. As you'll see, these great images are very much of their time and most display an Art Deco sensibili...