See rare color photos from the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression

These images are stunning. By Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli Updated 4:44 pm, Saturday, March 3, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails Continue Reading

Food stamps may become like Blue Apron; in the Great Depression, they started with blue coupons

Ian Shapira, The Washington Post Published 3:25 pm, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 Photo: Library Of Congress, Courtesy Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 The nation's first food stamps came off the presses at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1939 in Washington, D.C. The orange and blue coupons were part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's effort to reduce the farm surplus and feed the hungry. (Library of Congress) less The nation's first food stamps came off the presses at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1939 in Washington, D.C. The orange and blue coupons were part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's effort to ... more Photo: Library Of Congress, Courtesy Food stamps may become like Blue Apron; in the Great Depression, they started with blue coupons 1 / 1 Back to Gallery On a spring morning nearly 80 years ago, Ralston Thayer, an unemployed machinist, queued up inside the old post office building in Rochester, New York, for the nation's inaugural batch of food stamps. The World War I veteran was first in line on May 16, 1939, and would soon become the nation's first-ever food stamp recipient, according to news stories at the time. "He was besieged by reporters and photographers, but never quailed," wrote The New York Times. Thayer told the journalists: "I never got surplus foods before, but I certainly will now. The plan seems simple enough." Of course, the plan for food stamps, created during the Great Depression, would become far more complicated and politically divisive in the decades that followed. You might also like: Now Playing: Blue Apron announced it's laying of 6% of its workforce, which means about 300 employees. Since the announcement shares of Blue Apron are down 3.21%. The company will spend $3.5 million on severance packages. The company went Continue Reading

The Second Great Depression

The pause morphed into the correction, which got transmogrified into the drop in business, which shifted into the crash. The crash became the slump, which changed into the downturn and/or the slide, or the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Scarier yet, President Barack Obama is now warning us that unless his rescue plan goes through, “our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe.” What say you to that, sports fans? Many are starting to say it looks as though we are heading into–or are already in–another Great Depression But what might a depression be? Although the word has been used in connection with bad economic conditions since the late eighteenth century, there is no agreed-upon definition comparable to what economists have for the word “recession.” There is agreement on one thing: a depression is a helluva lot worse then a recession. It means not just hard times, but very, very hard times lasting a very, very long time. Two, three, four, eight years. You might say a depression is an extended national catastrophe. How will we know if and when we are in one? The usual comparisons to where the country is economically are with the Reagan recession of 1982, not with the Hoover Depression of 1929. We will know if we are in a full-blown depression when people begin using the word matter-of-factly. Or we’ll know it if Warren Buffet tells us we are. For a genuine, doctor-certified economic depression we have no Prozac or Wellbutrin or Zoloft or Celexa. At last America has come against a condition for which there is no pill. We have nothing we can ingest and then lie back and wait until our 401(k)s return to normal. From the way the president, the secretary of the treasury and the economists who weigh in on the topic talk, it seems that medical science knows more about curing cancer than economic science, if it is one, knows about dealing with the disaster now on our hands. Those who believe Continue Reading

A humbling look at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which began growing as NYC pulled itself out of the Great Depression

Almost 125 million excited New Yorkers and visitors will gaze at the Rockefeller Center Christmas this year — but it was a very different story 85 years ago. Soon after the stock market crash of October 1929 and the onset of The Great Depression, America found itself in a time of desperation as the economy went into a downward spiral and unemployment rates skyrocketed. Several projects were put into action, and by the early 1930’s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set in place the “relief and reform measures,” which played a role in reversing the recession. Around that time, John D. Rockefeller and his family became known for their work toward their “city within a city” — the Rockefeller Plaza project — which employed over 40,000 people. For the rest of the decade, Rockefeller Center continued to “steadily improve” with the addition in labor. Its Christmas tree became tradition by accident, beginning in 1931 when workers pooled spare cash on Christmas Eve to decorate what was then a “20 foot balsam fir” with “strings of cranberries, garlands of paper,” and even a few tin cans, as reported in the Daily News. The official tree lighting ceremony didn’t begin until 1933, when the decoration of 700 electric bulbs on a 40-foot balsam was broadcast on NBC. As the years passed, the spruce grew in popularity — as well as in height and width. It ballooned from 50 feet in 1933, to 65 feet by 1971 — and 100 feet by 1999. The Christmas custom would turn into a holiday phenomenon for years to come, bringing light to crowds everywhere and helping folks get through some of the country’s most trying times. Following the September 11 tragedy that left the country in despair, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was decorated in red, white and blue lights to honor the fallen victims and heroes. Continue Reading

Envisioning a sleek, modern world after the Great Depression

The 1939-40 World’s Fair rose out of an ash dump in Queens and promised to transport visitors from the gloomy days of the Great Depression into a sleek, automated future. A new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York that opened Wednesday provides a view into that time when dishwashers and toasters were considered exotic and a wise-cracking, cigarette-smoking robot enchanted millions. “They really showcased a better world, a better future for people during some very bleak days,” said Jessica Lautin, curator for the museum’s version of “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s.” “People walked onto the grounds of the fairs and saw all these bright colors and new products,” she said. The exhibit, which examines all six fairs of the era, is a travelling show from the National Building Museum. But the Museum of the City of New York dipped into its vast archives — including Kodachrome slides and original design drawings — to expand the experience for visitors. Enid Alvarez/ New York Daily News Electro, the robot. “Some people might think it looks a little dated compared to the other ideas we have of robots today,” says Jessica Lautin. “But even now, robots still aren’t part of our reality. This shows how these fairs were so prescient.” During the 1930s, World’s Fairs were held in Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland and San Francisco as well as New York City. “The industrial designers are really the stars of this show,” said Lautin. “They were hired by large corporations to create products that not only function better but have an aesthetic appeal.” On Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., designer Jack Masey and historian Robert Rydell will hold a public talk at the museum about the history of the fairs and their unique designs. Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News During the 1930s, World’s Fairs were Continue Reading

‘The Hunger Games’ designer Judianna Makovksy ignites fiery look for Jennifer Lawrence

“The Hunger Games.” Blood. Guts. Glory. Fashion? That’s right, fans of the novel by Suzanne Collins know that one of the most exciting portions of the series isn’t just the nail-biting action but the characters’ costumes. From the Capitol’s dashing fashion to Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) fire-y presentation dress, to Effie Trinket, District 12’s eccentrically dressed escort, avid readers have been anxiously awaiting just how the film will translate the many pieces from the pages to the silver screen. Never has there been an action film that has incorporated so much fashion and held it as essential to the story line. Readers discover that each of the two tributes chosen from the 12 districts in the fictional world, Panem, are assigned stylists who spruce them up in order to make them look more appealing during the opening ceremony of the actual Hunger Games. How the two interact, look in the actual outfits, and match together are judged by sponsors who later aid the tributes during the games with tools, weapons, water and food. The more attractive they look, the more sponsors they receive, therefore the better chances of survival. To seamlessly translate the looks to the big screen, the franchise recruited Judianna Makovsky, veteran costume designer from films like the “Harry Potter” series and “The Last Airbender.” “The difficult part of the entire process was actually getting 300 or so looks ready in such a short amount of time,” she says. She and her team brainstormed for only six to eight weeks. But they had only three weeks to finalize the looks since the cast wasn’t completed. So it’s surprising that Makovsky created stunningly beautiful, breathtaking and fashion-forward styles in such a short time frame “The book is really retro, very American,” she says. “They all live in the America of the future, so Continue Reading

PBS makes a great lesson of the Great Depression in ‘American Experience’ series

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE 1930s Monday night at 9:30, PBS As the Great Depression of the 1930s becomes less vivid in the memories of living Americans, it also becomes more clear how profoundly it shaped the America that followed. This rich, five-part series neatly summarizes critical components of those years. Produced by WGBH in Boston, the series starts Monday night where the Depression began, with the stock market crash of 1929. This subject has fresher urgency than it might have had a decade ago. During the last 10 years, we've seen two major stock market drops that, in their most ominous moments, raised concern we might be staring at Great Depression II. So far we've dodged that bullet, but Monday night's episode notes enough parallels so that no one who watches is apt to feel complacent. Part of the show focuses on National City Bank President Charles Mitchell and stock traders Michael Meehan and Jesse Livermore, who manipulated the market in ways that seemed to promise boundless wealth for everyone. So, even though the first slice of that wealth went to those men themselves, they were widely admired for helping lead America into a new era of prosperity. Then the market crashed and by March 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn into the presidency, at least 25% of the country didn't even have a job. Roosevelt made the fastest move he could, which was to turn the federal government into an employer. One of his first and biggest projects, the Civilian Conservation Corps, is the subject of next Monday's program. The CCC was among the least controversial of Roosevelt's alphabet plans, and by the summer of 1933, it had a quarter-million people in the field. They created access to national parks, they restored pastures that had been depleted by decades of cotton farming, they replanted forests clear-cut by timber companies, they restored water flow and quality. The heart of the episode is four men who worked in the CCC, all of whom Continue Reading

Can we call it a Depression yet?

Depression.  It conjures up images of food lines snaking around street corners, of unfettered unemployment, of despair over the stock market.  But things don't have to be that bad to still be considered a depression.  So, are we in one now?  ABC News reports that we just might be: The trouble with firmly determining whether we are in a depression or not is that the word 'depression' is hard to define.  A recession, on the other hand, is more easily defined. It's generally a reduction in a country's gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters.  A depression has several definitions including: "a downturn of three years or more with a 10 percent drop in economic output and unemployment above 10 percent," or a prolonged recession in which people have to sell their assets to pay for living.  By the former definition, we are not in a depression, but by the latter, we just might be.  After all, this has been a prolonged recession and people are selling their assets. Some members of corporate America, including Tony James, president of private equity firm Blackstone, have called in a depression.  Business professors have said the same thing. "We're probably in a depression now. But it's not going to be acknowledged until years go by. Because you have to see it behind you," Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, told ABC News. If we use the Great Depression as the marker of what a depression looks like, we're not there yet.  Unemployment in the Great Depression reached 25 percent or more and the economy shrank 27 percent from 1929 to 1933. Our current unemployment is a little more than 7 percent, and the economy shrank 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Granted the fourth quarter of 2008 is a much shorter period of time than the four year economic shrinkage above, so we will have to see how much more (or not) the economy shrinks. While we're Continue Reading

Bank of America, Treasury Department close to deal

WASHINGTON - Bank of America and the Treasury Department are near an agreement that will provide $15 billion to $20 billion in new government support to the banking giant, a source close to the discussions said Thursday.This source said that the injection of fresh capital will come from the government’s $700 billion rescue fund and will be similar to assistance provided last November to Citigroup. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been completely finalized. An announcement was expected later Thursday.Bank of America will use the money from the rescue fund to help it absorb losses at Merill Lynch. The two sides were also discussing providing government guarantees against losses, with that money coming from a mix of government sources.The Treasury Department already has pledged the first half of the $700 billion bailout fund which Congress approved on Oct. 3 to deal with the biggest financial crisis to hit the country since the Great Depression.However, President Bush, on behalf of President-elect Barack Obama, asked Congress to release the second half of the bailout fund earlier this week and on Thursday the Senate voted 52-42 to turn aside an attempt by opponents to block the release of the remaining $350 billion from the bailout fund.Before this week, Bank of America had received a total of $25 billion in capital injections from the Treasury bailout fund, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. That includes $10 billion for Merrill Lynch & Co., which Bank of America bought in a deal that closed Jan. 1."It gets down to the cost of the acquisition of Merrill and the risks associated with the deal," said Gary Townsend, president of Maryland-based private investment group Hill-Townsend Capital. "They were obviously in contact and in discussion with the Treasury prior to the end of year close."Even with the government aid, Bank of America’s stock has been pummeled.Shares of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank Continue Reading

4 ways to turn a recession into a depression

Hoo, boy. Wall Street, as well as America's Investor Class, ought to find the following statement reassuring. Here is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the credit crisis, "No one knows what to do. We are in new territory here." Well, my first piece of advice would be to do nothing. Punish Wall Street? The market is already doing that. Crack down on super risky home loans? The market is already doing that, too.Moving forward, however, Washington might want to crack open some history books and examine just how bad policy from Washington turned an economic downturn into the Great Depression. Here are handy tips for what not to do:1) Close the banks. This is the biggie--not letting the financial system disintegrate. Thank goodness it is already being handled by de facto copresidents Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke. (In the end, though, the American taxpayer may well have to provide M.O.A.B.--the Mother of All Bailouts.) Indeed, Bernanke is a student of the Great Depression and understands well the key role of the Federal Reserve in such a crisis. In fact, he has explicitly blamed bad Fed policy for turning a 1920s downturn into a 1930s economic catastrophe. 2) Raise taxes. Another classic. The Revenue Act of 1932 was at the time the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. The top rate, for instance, went from 25 percent to 63 percent. Economists agree this is one of the dumbest things Herbert Hoover did. Alas, it is a mistake we might be getting ready to repeat.3) Unnerve business. With the economy shaky, the last thing you want to do is to raise uncertainty about government policy as it affects business. And there is a lot of that going on right now. Will the Bush tax cuts be extended? Will government nationalize healthcare? Will carbon emissions be taxed? The same was true during FDR's administration. Recall the anticompetitive National Recovery Administration, for instance, with its myriad business rules and regulations. As economic Continue Reading