Events of the Decade:
The Great Depression
Spanish Civil War
Dust bowl drought in U.S. ranges over 50 million acres
Revolution in Brazil
War between Bolivia and Paraguay (the Chaco War)
Ethiopia annexed by Italy
Japanese move on China
Populations in millions 1931:
New York: 7,400,000
President Herbert Hoover
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
British PM's: James Ramsay Macdonald, Stanley Baldwin, Arthur Neville Chamberlain
Golfer Sam Snead
Interior designers Donald Deskey and Gilbert Rohde
Tennis stars Don Budge and Fred Perry
Generallisimo Francisco Franco in Spain
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright
King Edward VIII (then Duke of Windsor) and his paramour, Mrs. Wallis Simpson
King George VI of England
"Iron Horse" Lou Gehrig
King Victor Emmanuel, Emperor of Ethiopia.
Faisal II, King of Iraq and Farouk, King of Egypt
"Wrong Way" Corrigan
Antonio Salazar in Portugal
Robert Menzies in Australia
Boxers, Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, Primo Carnera, Jack Sharkey
French President Paul Doumer
Pilot Wiley Post
3.7 million people (!) in world's worst flood along Yellow River in China
30,000 in earthquake in Erzincan, Turkey
600 in East Coast hurricane
36 in Hindenburg Zeppelin balloon explosion
Public guillotining in France and public executions in U.S.
The last heath hen dies; species extinct
King George V
John D. Rockefeller, 97
W.B. Yeats, 73
Ford Madox Ford, 66
Havelock Ellis, 80
Sigmund Freud, 83
J.M. Barrie, 77
Gabriele D"Annunzio, 75
Fedor Chaliapin, 65
Konstantin Stanislavsky, 75
Kemal Atatürk, 57
Guglielmo Marconi, 63
Edith Wharton, 75
T.G. Masaryk, 87
Ramsay Macdonald, 71
Maurice Ravel, 62
D.H. Lawrence, 45
William Howard Taft, 72
A.J. Balfour, 82
Arthur Conan Doyle, 71
Rudyard Kipling, 70
Maxim Gorky, 68
Louis Blériot, 64
Luigi Pirandello, 69
Anna Pavlova, 49
Thomas Alva Edison, 84
Lytton Strachey, 51
T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), 46
Alban Berg, 50
George Eastman, 77
Calvin Coolidge, 60
John Galsworthy, 66
Edward Elgar, 76
Gerald du Maurier, 61
Gustav Holst, 59
Frederick Delius, 71
Marie Curie, 66
Arthur Wing Pinero, 79
Pope Pius XI
King Albert I Belgium
Gentleman Jim Corbett
John Philip Sousa
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Lady Ottoline Morrell
Bonnie and Clyde (Parker/Barrow)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Paul von Hindenburg
Rin Tin Tin
Federico Garcia Lorca
Andrew William Mellon
King Faisal Iraq
King Alexander of Yugoslavia
Pretty Boy Floyd
Admiral Lord Jellicoe
Maud Queen of Norway
George "Baby Face" Nelson
Jack "Legs" Diamond
Kidnappers of Charles A. Lindbergh's infant son; Bruno Hauptmann executed
NY Mayor Jimmy Walker in Tammany Hall graft scheme
"Baby Face" Nelson
"Pretty Boy" Floyd
Child murderer Albert Fish
Bonnie and Clyde
John Dillinger, public enemy #1
First Volkswagen Beetles in Germany
Radar developed by British
The George Washington Bridge
Polyurethane patented in Germany
Chester F. Carlson's xerographer which made copies (licensed in 1959 to Xerox)
Bellinis at Harry's Bar in Venice
Smirnoff Vodka introduced in US and begins production in the USA.
Dancing the rumba
Contract Bridge "in"
The Stork Club in New York
All-star baseball games
Condoms made from thin latex rubber
40 hour work weeks
Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses
Mr. Schick's electric razor
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Swimming the butterfly breaststroke
Comic strips: Blondie, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Li"l Abner, Superman
Little League Baseball
"Swing" jazz of Benny Goodman
New on the market: Scotch tape (Sellotape), photo flashbulbs, Kodachrome film, the ball-point pen, camera exposure meters, the shopping cart, aerosol can, laundry detergent, fiberglass, coaxial cable, synthetic rubber, the Waring blender, the rubber ice tray
Rockefeller Center in NY
3 Musketeers candy bars, 7-Up, Ritz crackers, Spam, Hostess Twinkies, beer in cans, (Kreuger Beer) Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods, and, mercifully, Alka-Seltzer
S.S. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth
Iran, the new name for Persia
The Ford Foundation
Goldfish-swallowing at colleges
New dance in England - the Lambeth Walk
The March of Dimes to battle polio
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Abortion legal in Iceland on medical/social grounds
"March of Time" newsreel
"The Star Spangled Banner" our national anthem
First stereo recording
First blood bank in America
Constantinople becomes Istanbul
Ford's new V8 engine
Empire State, Chrysler, and RCA Buildings in New York
Comic books - Batman, Superman
The first Airplane Stewardesses
Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA
Airmail transatlantic service
Night baseball games
House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
Golden Gate Bridge
SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)
Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown
First World Cup of Soccer
First parking meters
Western Union's first singing telegram delivered to Rudy Vallee
Social Security Act - 26 million Americans apply
Packard displays the first air-conditioned automobile
First scheduled commercial flights across Pacific
First giant panda, Su-Lin, imported from China to San Francisco
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, England
Venice Film Festival
Marx Brothers "Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel," The Lone Ranger, Orson Welles" radio play of H.G. Wells" "War of the Worlds" Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, First quiz shows
TV: NBC is first network to televise feature film
Noël Coward's "Private Lives"
Thornton Wilder "Our Town"
Kaufman and Hart's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" "Once in a Lifetime," "You Can't Take it With You"
Lillian Hellman's "the Children's Hour," "The Little Foxes"
W.H. Auden's "The Dance of Death," "the Dob Beneath the Skin
"Boy Meets Girl"
"Life with Father"
Claire Booth's "The Women,"
T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral"
Jean Giraudoux's "Electra," "Judith," "Tiger at the Gates," "Ondine,"
Clifford Odets" "Waiting for Lefty," and "Awake and Sing,"
Robert Sherwood "The Petrified Forest,"
Emlyn Williams "Night Must Fall"
"Ah Wilderness," "Mourning Becomes Electra," "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O"Neill
"The Time of Your Life" by William Saroyan
"Three Men on a Horse"
Elmer Rice's "Street Scene"
The Earl Carroll Vanities
"The Band Wagon" by Arthur Schwartz
George Gershwin's Pulitzer winning "Of Thee I Sing," "Porgy and Bess,"
Irving Berlin's "Face the Music"
"The Gay Divorce" by Cole Porter and "Anything Goes,"
"Dubarry Was a Lady"
Jerome Kern's "Roberta"
Kurt Weill's "Johnny Johnson," "Knickerbocker Holiday"
Harold Rome's "Pins and Needles"
"The Cradle Will Rock" Marc Blitzstein
"Cabin in the Sky" by Vernon Duke
"On Your Toes," "Babes in Arms," "The Boys from Syracuse," by Rodgers and Hart
Academy Award Winning Films:
"It Happened One Night"
"Mutiny on the Bounty"
"The Great Ziegfeld"
"The Life of Emile Zola"
"You Can't Take it With You"
"Gone With the Wind"
20th Century Fox founded
Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" starring Jimmy Stewart.
Josef von Sternberg's "The Blue Angel" with Marlene Dietrich
Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights," "Modern Times,"
Greta Garbo in "Queen Christina," "Anna Karenina"
"Anna Christie," "Grand Hotel"
Jean Renoir's "Le Grande Illusion" and "The Rules of the Game"
Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
Horror films: "Frankenstein" with Boris Karloff, "Dracula" with Bela Lugosi, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Fredrick March, "King Kong," "The Bride of Frankenstein," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
The Marx Brothers in "Monkey Business," "Duck Soup," "A Night at the Opera"
Also "Blue Angel," starring Marlene Dietrich, "A Farewell to Arms" starring Gary Cooper "Goodbye Mr. Chips," "Grand Hotel," Tarzan films, "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "A Star is Born," "The Thin Man," "David Copperfield," "Pygmalion" with Leslie Howard, John Ford's "Stagecoach" with John Wayne, "Wizard of Oz" starring Judy Garland
Betty Boop cartoon premieres
Debut of Shirley Temple
First drive-in movies
Radio City Music Hall opens in N.Y.
Hammond Organ and Gibson's Electric acoustic guitar introduced
Duke Ellington-first recognized jazz composer
The word "swing" first used
Jazz of "Negro or Jewish origin" banned from German radio
Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"
Arnold Schönberg's opera "Von Heute auf Morgen"
Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms
Sergei Rachmaninov's music condemned in Russia as "decadent"; Symphony No. 1
William Walton's choral work "Belshazzar's Feast," Symphony, and Violin Concerto
Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G
Béla Bartók's Violin Concerto
Aaron Copland's opera "Billy the Kid"
Benny Goodman's band is HOT!
Alben Berg's violin concerto
Shostakovich's opera "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," 5th Symphony
London Philharmonic founded under Sir Thomas Beecham
Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf"
Paperback books first printed by Penguin Books, Britain, and Pocket Books founded in U.S.
Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind"
Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon," "The Glass Key," "The Thin Man"
Christopher Isherwood "Mr. Norris Changes Trains," "Goodbye to Berlin"
Nancy Drew mysteries for young girls.
John Cheever's "The Wapshot Chronicle"
"Tobacco Road," and "God's Little Acre" by Erskine Caldwell
J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
Nathanael West "The Day of the Locust," "A Cool Million"
Andre Malraux's "Man's Fate"
Hemingway- "Death in the Afternoon," "To Have and Have Not,"
James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake"
Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer"
Isak Dinesen "Out of Africa"
Robert Graves "The White Goddess"
Gertrude Stein's "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas"
Aldous Huxley "Brave New World," "Eyeless in Gaza"
W.H. Auden's "Poems," "Look Stranger"
T.S. Eliot "Ash Wednesday"
William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," "Light in August," "The Unvanquished"
Robert Frost "Collected Poems"
John Dos Passos "42nd Parallel"
Evelyn Waugh's "Vile Bodies"
Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth"
Theodore Dreiser "Dawn"
Lytton Strachey "Portraits in Miniature"
F. Scott Fitzgerald "Tender is the Night"
Robert Graves "I, Claudius"
John Steinbeck "Tortilla Flat," "Of Mice and Men," "The Grapes of Wrath"
Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca"
T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"
Grant Wood's "American Gothic," "Daughters of the American Revolution," "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"
Piet Mondrian's "Composition in Red and Blue," "Vertical Composition with Blue and White"
Matisse's sculpture "Tiaré" and murals "The Dance," painting "The Pot, Lemon and Chair"
Edward Hopper's "Route 6," "Eastham"
Pierre Bonnard "The Breakfast Room"
Willem de Kooning "Man"
Henry Moore sculptures "Reclining Figure," "Falling Warrior"
Diego Rivera's "Men and Machinery," "Flower Vendor," "Mother Mexico"
Jacob Epstein's marble sculptures "Genesis," and "Adam," also "Ecce Homo," "Cosummatum Est"
Picasso's sculpture "Head of a Woman, " "Guernica" mural for the World's Fair, paintings "Woman in Easy Chair," "Night Fishing at Antibes," "Guitar and the Fruit Bowl"
Unknown American painters exhibition discovers Grandma Moses
Alexander Calder's "stabiles" and mobiles
Salvador Dalí's "Persistence of Memory," "Burning Giraffe," "Spanish Dancer"
Constructivism in Russia
Giacometti's sculpture "The Palace at 4 a.m."
Surrealism gains big following in Paris, later NY
Salvadore Dali's "Persistence of Memory," "Giraffe on Fire,"
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Marc Chagall's "Circus Riders," "the Cellist"
Ben Shahn "The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti," "Handball"
Joan Miró's "The Farmer's Dinner," "The Circus," "Figures Under the Moon" "Still Life with Old Shoe"
Rene Magritte "Rape," "Les Marches de l"été" "Time Transfixed," "The Unexpected Answer," "The Human Condition," "The Fair Captive"
Braque's "Woman with a Mandolin"
Fashion & Beauty:
Trousers for sports and horseback riding
The "Tall, Slim" look
Lacoste's crocodile tennis shirts
Tweeds are "in"
Single-breasted two-button jackets
Single-breasted blazers and top coats
Daily Worker debuts
William Randolph Hearst's holdings: 33 newspapers with 11 million circulation
Art, music and literary criticism banned in Germany
Picture Post in Britain
Comic strips "Flash Gordon" and "Blondie"
New Magazines: Newsweek, Life, Look, Esquire
Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats on radio
Federal Communications Commission founded to regulate broadcasting
First coast-to-coast radio broadcast - the Hindenburg disaster
Orson Welles practical joke on radio listeners panics nation; H.G. Wells's "The War of the Worlds"
Regular TV broadcasting begins
First live reporting of news events on Television
London magazines the New Statesman, Nation and Athenaeum combine;
Morning Post and The Daily Telegraph merge
Depression: 5,000 banks go bust, 85,000 businesses bankrupt, 14 million unemployed in U.S. (5.6 million in Germany, 2.8 million in Britain); banking system paralyzed; agricultural chaos
Roosevelt's New Deal; Five billion dollars given to poor relief; public works jobs established
German banks close after bankruptcy of German Danatbank
Shirley Temple signs 5 year $1,000 per week contract
Credit-Anstalt in Austria bankrupt
Britain abandons gold standard. Ł falls from $4.86 to $3.49; U.S. and Canada abandon gold
Model A. Ford $430
Cadillac V-16 $8,000
Arlington Sedan SJ 1933 Duesenberg - $20,000!
Jaguar SS100 September 1935 2.5 litre Ł395
3.5 litre Jag SS100 1937 Ł445
Fort Knox, KY built as chief bullion depository of U.S.
Bank of Canada founded
Copy of Newsweek 10˘
Fair Labor Standards Act sets 44 cents an hour as minimum wage and 44 hours a week as maximum workweek.
John Maynard Keynes' book "A Treatise on Money"
Methodist Churches in England reunified
Persecution of Jews in Germany; all Jewish business and professions boycotted; pogroms in Germany and Italy
Protestant Churches in Germany amalgamate as German Evangelical Church
Presbyterian Church of America formed and first Lutheran church
First Baha"i temple
1936 in U.S.A. in millions:
Pope Pius XII
Planet Pluto discovered
First lung removal
Alan Turing establishes theoretical possibility of "universal computing machine"
Isolation of the pituitary hormone
Uranium nuclei split by neutron bombardment by Otto Hahn & Fritz Strassman and Lise Meitner - fission born
Invention of Acrylic plastics called Perspex in Britain, Lucite in America
Ernest O. Lawrence's cyclotron (atom-smasher)
Radium E first produced at UC Berkeley-the first synthetic radioactive substance
Vitamin A isolated, Vitamin D discovered, pure Vitamin C made, Vitamins B and E synthesized, Vitamin K obtained
Discovery of nuclear fission
Radio-astronomy pioneered by Karl Jansky
Discovery of positrons (positive electrons)
Sulfa drug experiments
First blood bank
New Slang Words:
...and I don't mean maybe
The calm before the storm
Cash on the barrelhead
Frightened out of one's wits
Something is good clean fun
To have an inferiority complex
My lips are sealed
Something is short and sweet
The moment of truth
Back to square one
Bring on the dancing girls
I couldn't care less
Dig you later
Famous last words
Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?
How do you like them apples?
I"ll bet you say that to all the girls
I"ll be a monkey's uncle
I"ll be seeing ya
It takes two to tango
It's a different ball game
It's a piece of cake
It's just one of those things
Keep on truckin"
Life is just a bowl of cherries
It's no skin off my nose
Now you"re cooking with gas
It's okay by me
Put your money where your mouth is
See you around
That"ll separate the men from the boys
That goes double for me
It just goes to show ya
Try this on for size
We aim to please
What's the big idea?
You said a mouthful
Something is the bees knees
To bump-off (kill) someone
To get something off one's chest
To have ants in your pants
To beat the clock
To be a bozo or a bonehead
To breathe down one's neck
Button your lip!
Easy on the eye (attractive)
Everything but the kitchen sink
To feel like death warmed over
To fly by the seat of one's pants
To have get-up-and-go
A gig (job)
To be a guinea-pig for something
To spill one's guts
To let one's hair down
To get high (on drugs)
Bad Actor: a "ham"
New words added to Collins Dictionary:
About These Tools
An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...