Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Great Depression in Utah

Great Depression in Utah – http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/from_war_to_war/thegreatdepression.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were some of the ways people economized during the Depression?
  • How was work rationed, at least in Utah, during the Depression?
  • What did the Works Progress Administration do for states?

Description:

This resource on how the Great Depression affected a single state is from a larger site on the history of Utah called Utah History to Go. This particular page is an overview on the Great Depression, which the site asserts affected Utah more harshly than other states. At one point Utah’s unemployment rate exceeded 35% and this resulted in behavior that seems odd today:

Most school districts would not hire married women and stipulated that when single female teachers married they had to resign. In 1932 a bill was introduced into the State Legislature requiring all married female state employees to submit their resignations. Those women who stayed at home followed the old adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”. That meant practicing endless little economies, such as buying day-old bread, relining coats with old blankets, saving string, old rags, and wire in case they might come in handy some day, shopping creatively, and watching every penny.

In addition to the overview page, there are links to other articles going into greater detail on particular Depression era issues or people:

  • “Even the Grasshoppers Were Starving” During the 1934 Drought
  • Depression Memories
  • New Deal Agencies Built 233 Buildings in Utah
  • Alphabet Agencies in Utah County
  • A Labor Inspector During the Great Depression
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