Children’s Bureau (1934)
C family in Atlanta had always lived comfortably. The father
was a foreman in a roller shop for 20 years, and for 9 years
prior to losing his job in 1929 had made $55 a week. Unemployment
came as a terrible shock. While they did not own their home
they had savings amounting to $700. This was used up after a
few months, and then Mr. C had to resort to anything he could
find to do to earn a little money. He tried selling various
articles, even papers on the streets, and finally started a
delivery route for a drycleaning establishment on commission.
At first he made very little, but after about two years he began
to average $15 a week, his present earnings. By cutting down
drastically on food and clothes at the beginning of their difficulties
and by moving from a house which rented at $25 to one which
was only $9, they were barely able to get along for the first
two or three years of the change. Their new car, bought in 1929,
reverted to the company because of an unpaid balance of $100.
They sold valuable furniture . . . and purchased nothing more
except on cash basis. All of this was done very quietly, the
mother said, and relatives and friends had no knowledge of the
real circumstances. There was a time . . . when the family actually
suffered for food and fuel, but they never thought of applying
for relief because they were determined to come through somehow.
By great sacrifice and extremely careful management they have
been able to pay up the rent and doctor's bills which accumulated
during the leanest period .... They have managed to keep their
one boy, now 16, sufficiently well clothed so that he could
continue in school.
Katharine F. Lenroot, "Children of the Depression: A Study
of 259 Families in Selected Areas of Five Cities," 222, 223.