Monday, 16 August 2010 14:54

75 Years Ago Late Spring/Early Summer 1932

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(from the April, May & June Breeder's Gazettes and general news sources of the period.)

The worldwide depression that our parents and grandparents were experiencing showed no sign of letting up. It was an equal opportunity destroyer of hopes, dreams, homesteads and fortunes–large and small. It was also an election year and if you were in office you would likely lose–this terrible mess had to be "somebody's fault!" So, not surprisingly, Hoover lost in a landslide to the Governor of New York, Franklin Roosevelt. FDR, as he quickly became known, promised a "New Deal." I doubt that when the phrase was coined he even had many specifics in mind, but he was game to listen to every scheme that came down the pike and some of them must have worked. It was, indeed, a New Deal.

We were, and still are, sort of kinfolk to western Europe. Their recent experience in dealing with this worldwide depression was not encouraging either. The blame game was at work abroad too–and many of those nations weren't lucky enough to wind up with an FDR. In Germany, Paul Von Hindenberg, their president and supreme commander in WW I, barely managed to stay in office–but only for a little while. He had both Adolf Hitler and his loonies and the communists to deal with. In France, the president of the republic was slain by a Russian immigrant who claimed to be fighting communism. The "Old World" was being turned upside down.

We also had a Socialist candidate for president, but he was a far cry from the firebrands loose in Europe. His name was Norman Thomas, making his second of several runs for president. He was a preacher/professor type–not a bomb thrower. Western Civilization was not in very good health 75 years ago.

On May 29, 1932, 11,000 veterans of World War I marched on Washington, D.C., calling themselves the "Bonus Expeditionary Force," demanding a bonus for their service in WW I. They camped out in nearby marshes and occupied abandoned buildings. It was not a pretty sight.

On July 28, acting on orders from President Hoover, U.S. Army regulars were commanded by a fellow named Douglas MacArthur to run them out of town. Hoover was sure their ranks had been infiltrated by communists. It would be very surprising if that weren't true, but it obviously wasn't just a commie plot. There was a lot of despair and anger. MacArthur and his troops did their job, setting fire to the makeshift shanties, tents and old dilapidated buildings. By midnight only a few veterans remained in the city.

So much for the headline news–it was nearly all bad. So how was Breeder's Gazette doing in this sorry time? On the advertising end, if it weren't for Buick cars with their two page middle spread, Dodge and Chrysler with their full pages, along with Case and Farmall tractors and Firestone tires with their full pages, things would have been kind of slim. I'd say that total advertising space taken up by all livestock took up less than three full pages–and they were all very small ads, sold by the inch, not by the page. Classifieds, is what they were.


There was one ad in that April '32 issue that caught my attention. It was from American Steel & Wire, the folks who made woven wire fences and I think it bears repeating here.

This brings us up to the June 1932 Breeder's Gazette. As you will recall from the last issue, Breeder's Gazette had recently bought a rundown sort of farm. Sam Guard asked his readers to help name the farm. Then he thanked them all and simply named it "Breeder's Gazette Farm" and awarded a hundred of them with a 3-year subscription. They were called the honorable mentions.

I'll close off this 75 Years Ago section with a photograph and a column. First to a column by Wayne Dinsmore, probably the greatest evangelist for live horse and mule power on American farms that ever lived. As the depression continued and the price of all farm products languished, horses and mules–the power that ran on home-grown fuel and provided their own replacements–looked better and better. Traveling a stud horse also looked better. So there was sort of a boom in the mid-'30s. It didn't last but it was there–and for the reasons cited in Dinsmore's June '32 column, which is reproduced here.

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