The Great Depression is all the rage nowadays. The “great recession” of 2007–2009 was rife with comparisons to the 1930s, while the academic debate on what exactly caused the Great Depression continues, with new theories still coming forth (see greatdepressionsbook.com for more on the latter). These comparisons usually take the form of charts of employment, output and the like, while the academic debate mostly revolves around data and economic theories about what makes an economy grow or decline.
For a more personal take on the Great Depression, you can’t do much better than the St. Louis Fed’s Great Depression Web site. As part of its educational curriculum on the period intended for economics and history teachers, the site naturally includes a good deal on the data and economics. But it also holds a treasure trove of links to audio and video files—news reels, music, photo archives and much more. In perhaps the most personal look of all, the site also features a collection of recently added video interviews with St. Louis-area residents who lived through the depression.
For more, visit www.stlouisfed.org/the-great-depression. Video interviews are at www.stlouisfed.org/the-great-depression/curriculum/interviews.
Joe Mahon is a Minneapolis Fed regional outreach director. Joe’s primary responsibilities involve tracking several sectors of the Ninth District economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, energy, and mining.