The Great Depression
Did the Great Depression strengthen your family or tear it apart?
To support your argument, get some family stories about this era. The following
questions should elicit family stories that will be useful to you. Composing
your own questions might be even more successful, especially if you base those
questions on your knowledge of your family chronology and history.
- Did any of your family members lose their jobs during the Great Depression?
- Did any of your family members lose their house, or move in with relatives,
or otherwise change the place where they lived because of the Depression?
- Did your family members have opinions about famous people like Franklin
D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Father Charles E. Coughlin, or Senator Huey
- What did people in your family do for fun when money was scarce?
- How did people in your family save money when times were tight?
- Did anyone in your family wear clothes made from feed sacks or find other
ingenious solutions to problems with food, clothing, shelter, etc.?
More general questions for further conversation:
- What was your informant's first job? Did he or she ever do work at home
in exchange for an allowance? Did his/her siblings?
- How has your informant's worklife been different from his/her parents' worklife?
How has it been different from his/her children's?
- Did your informant ever join any work-related organizations, like labor
unions or farmers' cooperatives? Why or why not?
- Has your informant ever been injured on the job or observe a workplace injury?
Is the workplace safer now or less safe?
- Did your informant ever disagree with his/her spouse or parents about money?
Who usually won money arguments, and why?
- How did your informant's parents get along with their co-workers, employees,
bosses, or customers?