STAT$: Guess How Much Museum Guards Are Earning

THE WORKING POOR AND THEIR FUTURE by Allan Lichtenstein   I HAVE BEEN READING Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here. Early in the book, Doremus Jessop, the lead character, stops for gasoline at a garage at which Karl Pascal works. Pascal remarks: “[W]hat burns me up is the fact that even before this Depression, in what you folks called […]

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Florsheim Shoes

Milton Florsheim, a Chicago cobbler who transformed the shoe industry by slapping the family name on his shoe soles and pull-up straps and then launching a chain of brand-name retail stores, was born in Chicago on this date in 1868. His father owned a shoe store. Florsheim Shoes were marketed, says his great-grandson John Florsheim, as […]

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David Lilienthal and the Tennessee Valley Authority

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed New Deal legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority on this date in 1933. Its mission was to provide flood control, generate electricity, and develop the economy of the Tennessee Valley, a region comprising Tennessee and portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Thirty percent of the population […]

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The Menorah Journal

by Bennett Muraskin THE MENORAH JOURNAL, founded in 1915, was the leading English-language Jewish intellectual and literary journal of its era. Unfortunately, it was never fully appreciated by the secular Jewish movement of its day, and its impact on Jewish intellectual life continues to be neglected by the American Jewish community as a whole. The […]

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May 11: Turning Post-War Germany into a Giant Farm

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who operated a Christmas tree farm neighboring the New York State estate of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 1934, was born in New York City on this date in 1891. Morgenthau was a champion of American farmers, who constituted some 25 percent of the American […]

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April 6: Leapin’ Lizards!

Shirley Adrienne Bell provided the voice of Little Orphan Annie on the radio for the first time on this date in 1931. She would soon be the only actor playing the role, which she kept from age 10-20. Cole was the daughter of a single mother in Chicago (her father left the family when she […]

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March 22: Abe Pomerantz and the Class-Action Suit

Attorney Abe Pomerantz, a 1924 graduate of Brooklyn Law School who pioneered the use of the class-action suit to tame corporate misconduct and return corporate profits to small shareholders, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1903. In 1933, a woman with twenty shares in the National City Bank of New York, which had […]

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February 6: Giant Food’s First Supermarket

Nehemiah Cohen and Samuel Lehrman opened the first Giant supermarket in Washington, DC on this date in 1936. “At a time when most grocery shopping was done at small stores that specialized in meat, vegetables or canned goods,” writes Anthony Ramirez in the New York Times, “Giant Food helped pioneer large stores that offered a […]

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December 27: Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall, nicknamed “The Showplace of the Nation,” opened its doors to the public on Rockefeller Center for the first time on this date in 1932, as the Great Depression deepened. Created by John D. Rockefeller, David Sarnoff of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and Samuel Roxy Rothafel, the entrepreneur who had created […]

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August 29: The Federal Art Project

The Federal Art Project, an arm of the Works Progress Administration established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in relief of the Great Depression, was launched on this date in 1935. During eight years of operation, it would include within its ranks such iconic artists as Adolph Gottlieb, William Gropper, Philip Guston (Goldstein), Morris Kantor, Lee […]

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