What the WSJ Looked Like in 1930

Here’s a great idea for a business blog.

An anonymous somebody is going back through Depression-era Wall Street Journals day by day and summarizing just what was going on back then. The result is “News from 1930, which tells us what was going on on this date in 1930.

It’s interesting in a history-buff kind of way but also for the parallels between then and now. Including happy talk from the Street:

When this economic and market readjustment has been completed, it will merely be represented by a small curve downward in our steadily mounting curve of prosperity, consumption, production and efficiency …”

As The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle writes regarding her own research with Depression-era publications:

What always surprises me is the optimism of those early depression years—during what may well have been the worst financial crisis in American history, people mostly expect things to get better. This gives me pause whenever I examine our “green shoots”, even though I’m very sure we’ve got much better fiscal and monetary policy than our ancestors did.


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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.