“Memories of the Great Depression" at the Moline Public Library -- May 25.

Thursday, May 25, 6:30 p.m.

Moline Public Library, 3210 41st Street, Moline IL

Delivering the story of an America that no longer exists and one of the most challenging extended periods in American history, John Donald O'Shea will host the in-person program Memories of the Great Depression at the Moline Public Library on May 25, the presenter and familiar area-theatre participant the author of two Memories of the Great Depression books on his subject: A Time Forgotten and A Time Remembered.

Commonly cited as the period between 1929 and 1939), the Great Depression was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world -- a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The economic contagion began around September and led to the Wall Street stock market crash of October 24 (Black Thursday), and it remains the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.

Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15 percent. (By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1 percent from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.) Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s, but in many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II. Devastating effects were seen in both rich and poor countries with falling personal income, prices, tax revenues, and profits, while international trade fell by more than 50 percent, and unemployment in the U.S. rose to 23 percent/ But cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60 percent, and faced with plummeting demand and few job alternatives, areas dependent on primary sector industries suffered horribly.

Economic historians usually consider the catalyst of the Great Depression to be the sudden devastating collapse of U.S. stock market prices. However, some dispute this conclusion, seeing the stock crash less as a cause of the Depression and more as a symptom of the rising nervousness of investors. This was partly due to gradual price declines caused by falling sales of consumer goods (as a result of overproduction because of new production techniques, falling exports and income inequality, among other factors) that had already been underway as part of a gradual depression.

The Moline Public Library's Memories of the Great Depression program will inspire patrons to consider the answers to several questions. What was it like to live in America 90 years ago? Have you ever needed to use an outhouse at two in the morning? Bathed in a corrugated metal tub with water heated on a wood-burning stove? Read at night by kerosene lamp? Author John Donald O'Shea has collected stories from across the United States about these times, and will share them in his hour-long program. A retired Circuit Judge who has been active in community theatre for more than 50 years as an actor, singer, and director. O'Shea writes op eds for three Quad City newspapers, and is currently working on his third book about the Great Depression.

Memories of the Great Depression will be presented on May 25, participation in the 6:30 p.m. program is free, and more information is available by calling (309)524-2470 and visiting MolineLibrary.com.

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher