A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 12, 2009
Great Depression

"Great Depression” is the name for the economically depressed period in the United States beginning with the October 1929 stock market crash and lasting throughout the 1930s. The term “great depression” had been used many times before 1929; the period of 1873-1879, sometimes called a “Great Depression,” is usually called the “Long Depression.”

It’s not clear when the “Great Depression” term first became associated with the 1929 crash. President Herbert Hoover used the term “great depression” in several speeches in 1930 and 1931. The international affairs journal The Round Table probably popularized the term in March 1931, with a series of articles on the worldwide depression and one article titled “The United States in the Great Depression.” Lloyd Milner Graves’s book, The Great Depression and Beyond (1932), was one of the first books to have “Great Depression” in the title. The Lionel Robbins book The Great Depression (1934) is often credited with popularizing the term, but “Great Depression” had been used in several titles before 1934.

The term “Great Recession” has been used since the Great Depression for smaller economic dips, most notably the recession of 2007-2009. A recession after the 2007-2009 “Great Recession” has been called the “Greater Recession.” The term “Greatest Depression” has been popularly used since 2008.


Wikipedia: Great Depression
The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn starting in most places in 1929 and ending at different times in the 1930s or early 1940s for different countries. It was the largest and most important economic depression in the 20th century, and is used in the 21st century as an example of how far the world’s economy can fall. The Great Depression originated in the United States; historians most often use as a starting date the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday.

The depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich or poor. International trade plunged by half to two-thirds, as did personal income, tax revenue, prices and profits. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by roughly 60 percent. Facing plummeting demand with few alternate sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as farming, mining and logging suffered the most. However, even shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, optimism persisted; John D. Rockefeller said that “These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.”

The Great Depression ended at different times in different countries; for subsequent history see Home front during World War II. The majority of countries set up relief programs, and most underwent some sort of political upheaval, pushing them to the left or right. In some states, the desperate citizens turned toward nationalist demagogues—the most infamous being Adolf Hitler—setting the stage for World War II in 1939.
(...)
Naming
The term “The Great Depression” is most frequently attributed to British economist Lionel Robbins, whose 1934 book The Great Depression is credited with formalizing the phrase, though Hoover is widely credited with popularizing the term, informally referring to the downturn as a depression, with such uses as “Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement”, (December 1930, Message to Congress) and “I need not recount to you that the world is passing through a great depression”, (1931).

(Oxford English Dictionary)
depression
A lowering in quality, vigour, or amount; the state of being lowered or reduced in force, activity, intensity, etc. In mod. use esp. of trade; spec. the Depression, the financial and industrial ‘slump’ of 1929 and subsequent years. Also attrib.
1793 VANSITTART Refl. Peace 57 The depression of the public funds..began long before the war.
1826 Ann. Reg. 1 A continuance of that depression in manufactures and commerce.
1837 WHITTOCK Bk. Trades (1842) 392 The consequence has been a general depression in price for all but the best work.
1845 STODDART in Encycl. Metrop. I. 64/1 There is not in actions, as there is in qualities, a simple scale of elevation and depression.
1886 (title), Third Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Depression of Trade and Industry.
1934 A. HUXLEY Beyond Mexique Bay 233 Since the depression, books on Mexico have been almost as numerous..as books on Russia.
1935 ‘J. GUTHRIE’ Little Country xiii. 212 ‘I thought you had a baby.’ ‘No, darling,’ said Carol. ‘None of us are having them now. It’s the depression.’
1935 Punch 19 June 719/1 All the wireless sets in Little Wobbly are pre-depression models.
1957 M. SHARP Eye of Love iii. 39 It was the Depression that had finished him off.

1 March 1930, New York (NY) Times, “Encourages Poland; Dewey Finds Bank Deposits Higher, Sees End of Depression,” pg. 6:
WARSAW, Feb. 28.—Charles S. Dewey arrived in Warsaw from a visit to the United States last night in the midst of great depression in trade and industry and was besieged by newspaper men this morning for his views on the situation.

2 May 1930, New York (NY) Times “Text of the President’s Speech” (Herbert Hoover before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), pg. 1:
The result has been the placing of contracts of this character to the value of about $500,000,000 during the first four months of 1930, or nearly three times the amount brought into being in the corresponding four months of the last great depression of eight years ago.

1 July 1930, New York (NY) Times, “President Praises Governors for Aid in Promoting Work; In Speech by Radio to Conference He Stresses Need for Continued Effort,” pg. 22:
“In the great depressions of 1908 and 1921 we witnessed such a decrease in public works.”

15 December 1930, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 8B, col. 6:
We note in the Public Thinks columns of The Bee on Tuesday, December 9th, that different writers tell of the great depression and troubles of our country.

2 January 1931, Marion (OH) Star, “Foreign Government Rule Has Tempestuous Year” by H. C. Montee (International News Service), pg. 8, col. 4:
NEW YORK, Jan. 2—The year 1930, in addition to being remembered as the year of the great financial-economic depression, will stand out in history as the year of the great depression in the prestige of government all over the world.

OCLC WorldCat record
Google Books
Taylor & Francis Online
The United States in the great depression
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: The Round Table, v21 n82 (193103): 299-318 (March 1931—ed.)
Database: CrossRef

Time magazine
THE PRESIDENCY: “This Is an Emergency!”
Monday, Sep. 28, 1931
(...)(The following is from a speech by President Herbert Hoover—ed.)
“I need not recount that the world is passing through a great depression fraught with grueling daily emergencies alike to men and to governments. This depression today flows largely from Europe through the fundamental dislocations of economic and political forces caused by the Great War, in which your service brought bloodshed to an end and gave hope of reconstruction to the world. Our economic strength is such that we would have recovered long since but for these forces from abroad. Recovery of the world now rests and awaits in no small degree upon our country, the United States of America. Some individuals may have lost their nerve and faith but the real American people are digging themselves out with industry and courage. We have the self-containment, the resources, the manhood, the intelligence and by united action we will lead the world in recovery. . . . 

Google Books
The Literary Digest
By Edward Jewitt Wheeler, Isaac Kaufman Funk, William Seaver Woods, Wilfred John Funk, Arthur Stimson Draper
Published by Funk & Wagnalls, 1931
Item notes: v. 111
Pg. 40:
The assumption that this is the first great depression in which installment-selling has been a factor is fallacious.

OCLC WorldCat record
The Great Depression
Author: Edwin F Gay
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Foreign Affairs, Jul., 1932, vol. 10, no. 4, p. 529-540
Database: JSTOR

OCLC WorldCat record
The great depression and beyond,
by Lloyd Milner Graves; Brookmire Economic Service, New York.
Type:  Book; English
Publisher: [New York, Press of J.D. McGuire, ©1932]

OCLC WorldCat record
In the wake of the Great Depression : its aftermath of nervous ills.
Author: Dios Chemical Company.
Publisher: St. Louis, Mo. : Dios Chemical Co., ©1933.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Hard times—better times, business cycles, unemployment, the great depression, finance, recovery; a reading list,
Author: William John Sykes; Ottawa Public Library.
Publisher: Ottawa, Can., Carnegie public library, 1933.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The Great depression
Author: Maurice Bailen; John Frietag
Publisher: [S.l. : s.n., 1933]
Edition/Format:  Film : VHS tape : Film Visual material : English
Summary: Depicts the hard times faced by a young man walking the streets of Chicago in search of a job .

OCLC WorldCat record
The Great Depression [of 1929-1933].
Author: Lionel Robbins, Baron
Publisher: pp. xiv. 238. Macmillan & Co.: London, 1934.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

History News Network
2-14-09
When Did the Great Depression Receive Its Name? (And Who Named It?)
By Noah Mendel
(...)
Excerpts of Hoover’s use of the term “great depression,” however, contain a feeling of generality. In a speech in the fall of 1931, for example, Hoover remarked, “I need not recount to you that the world is passing through a great depression.” The presence of the indefinite article “a” is important to note.

The term, the Great Depression, is, as we know it today, a proper noun. It is a term used to refer to a specific historical era, and hence requires a definite article, the, when referring to it; not the indefinite article, a. In all of Hoover’s usages of the phrase “great depression,” none contained a definite article. The phrase, “the great depression,” in reference to the 1930s, did not appear till after Hoover left office. Some historians argue that the true inventor of the phrase, the Great Depression, is Lionel Robbins, a British economist who lived during the Depression. In 1934, after Hoover’s tenure in office, Robbins wrote the book, The Great Depression, which contains what some historians, notably David F. Burg, consider to be the fist usage of the phrase we now use to to describe the economic meltdown on the 1930s.

New York (NY) Times
March 11, 2009, 5:39 pm
‘Great Recession’: A Brief Etymology
By Catherine Rampell
(...)
Addendum: I’m not clear on when “The Great Depression” became officially known as “The Great Depression,” or even just a “depression.” In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously referred to it as “The Great Slump of 1930,” so it’s a wonder that label didn’t stick.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Thursday, March 12, 2009 • Permalink