Thursday, January 19, 6 p.m.
Presented by the Davenport Public Library
Presented on January 19 as part of the Davenport Public Library's 3rd Thursday at Hoover's Presidential Library & Museum series, the virtual program Iowa & the Great Depression will find Park Ranger Peter Hoehnle speaking on how Iowans experienced the 1930s, with discussion on the ways that they survived hard times, and how some residents turned to radical action in response to the ordeal.
As stated at AmesHistory.org, "Although the Great Depression affected most Iowans to some degree, farmers were the first to feel its distressing effects. For them, the Depression began years before the stock market crash of 1929. Early in the 1920s a volatile economy, accompanied by plunging farm prices, signaled an alteration in course, a change from our rural beginnings to the emergence of the United States as the world's most industrial nation. When the stock market failed in 1929, what bottom was left in the farm economy simply collapsed. From 1926 to 1930, the cost of putting a crop in – rent, seed, fuel, taxes, labor – averaged about 35 percent more than income. By 1932, that figure had risen to 50 percent. Debts incurred when corn was 80 cents to a dollar a bushel and cattle $10 to $15 per hundredweight were being called in when corn was selling for 10 cents per bushel and beef and hogs didn't bring the cost of shipping. The result was a true agriculture emergency.
"In 1932, farm prices fell to all-time lows – corn at eight cents a bushel, pork at three cents a pound, beef at five cents a pound, eggs at ten cents a dozen – with no reduction in the farmers' tax or debt. Even the Iowa State Fair felt the effects. Despite sharp cutbacks in expenditures, the Fair recorded its first deficits since 1914. College students found it impossible to pay tuition, even though Iowa State College only charged $75 per quarter, which was reduced to $18 for those maintaining a B average. A statewide banking crisis left many citizens bankrupt, often overnight, as one bank after another closed its doors."
Sometimes called “the worst hard time,” the Great Depression touched every American community and citizen, and the January 19 Iowa & the Great Depression webinar will address the role of government programs such as the Works Progress Administration the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Rural Electric Association, and the Agricultural Adjustment Act in combatting the Depression in Iowa. Other aspects of Iowa’s cultural life during this period, such as the flowering of the regionalist school of art, will also be highlighted by speaker Peter Hoehnle, a Park Ranger and National Park Service guide at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site who holds a doctorate in history. Hoehnle enjoys doing historical research and has been widely published on American communal societies, including volumes on Amana and the Shakers.
Iowa & the Great Depression will be presented virtually on January 19, participation in the 6 p.m. Zoom event is free, and more information is available by calling (563)326-visiting DavenportLibrary.com.