This is my great grandparent's cedar chest.
I've shared it before, but not the story behind it.
(Although, some of you might remember it from my last blog.)
That chest up there just happens to have been where they stored their money.
You see, my great grandfather didn't trust the banks, because they weren't insured. Back then, if you put money in them it didn't necessarily mean that you'd be able to get your money back out. This didn't change until the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) was created by the banking act in 1933. You can read more about that 'here'.
Because of his mistrust, the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression didn't affect them as much and he was able to keep his business alive, and eventually sell it to their two sons, one of them being my grandfather.
Also, during the Great Depression, my great grandmother, using some of that money, helped out her friends and neighbors by buying up some of the wares they were selling in order to survive. Now I'm the keeper of quite a few of those items and that seemingly plain old chest, that my great grandfather used to steer the course of history for my family.
I'm extremely grateful to him, for having the foresight not to trust the banks back then, but sadly, as we all know, a lot of people weren't as fortunate.
Here's an excerpt from History.com :
The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its nadir, some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. Though the relief and reform measures put into place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped lessen the worst effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the economy would not fully turn around until after 1939, when World War II kicked American industry into high gear.
For this music break I'm sharing two songs that embody that time period.
"Brother, Can you spare a dime?"
Music by Jay Gorney and lyrics by Yip Harburg.
Sung by Bing Crosby in 1932
You can read more about the history of this song 'here'.
"Happy Day are Here Again"
Music by Milton Ager and lyrics by Jack Yellen.
Sung by Annette Hanshaw
The song eventually became the 1932 presidential campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and it's also associated with the repeal of prohibition in 1933.
Which is a whole other post for another time ;)