Agricultural Credits Act of 1923
The Agricultural Credits Act of 1923 was one of several measures Congress passed to help relieve the agricultural recession in the 1920s. The act established a network of twelve regional Federal Intermediate Credit Banks corresponding to the twelve regional banks in the Federal Reserve System. The banks were each capitalized at $5 million and authorized to lend funds to farm cooperative associations, which then lent the money to farmers.
American Federation of Labor (AFL)
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a labor union formed in 1886. Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) served as its president from 1886 to 1895 and from 1896 to 1924, when William Green succeeded him. The union's major goals were higher wages, better working conditions, and a shorter work week.
AFL membership declined during the 1920s. According to the Bureau of the Census's Historical Statistics of the United States, membership stood at 4,093,000 in 1920 and at 2,770,000 in 1929.
See also: "American Federation of Labor, 1923-29", U.S. (Coolidge Papers); "Labor Department, 1923-29" (Coolidge Papers); "Industrial Strikes, 1923-28" (Coolidge Papers); Justice, (April 2, 1926) .
The Art-in-Industry Movement of the 1920s sought to emphasize aesthetic considerations in the design and production of retail goods. It significantly affected the advertising and sale of furniture, clothing, and household appliances in department stores. Drawing on French and other European trends, museums such as New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art created rooms of high-style contemporary design that influenced the look of furnishings marketed to department store customers. Museum personnel sometimes served as consultants to stores planning to design exhibition sales rooms.
See also: "Art in the Fashion Industry, 1923-1927" (Edward L. Bernays Papers); "How the Retailer Merchandises Present Day Fashion, Style and Art"; "Mad Houses," Forum (August 1929).
Associated Advertising was a trade magazine published by the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World based on Madison Avenue, New York City. It offered information about the Truth-in Advertising Movement, an effort by the advertising industry to implement ethical reforms in its business practices. The Associated Advertising Clubs' activities led to the establishment of the National Better Business Bureau to protect consumers from advertising abuses.
Barton, Bruce (1886-1967)
Bruce Barton and Roy S. Durstine founded Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborne, a prominent advertising agency best known for its creation of the Betty Crocker image for General Mills. Barton came from a religious background, and in 1925 he published The Man Nobody Knows: A Discovery of the Real Jesus, a retelling of the life of Jesus that depicted him as the world's first business executive and super-salesman. The book was a nonfiction bestseller in the United States for two years. Barton's work is represented in this collection by his 1920 pamphlet Calvin Coolidge: A Man with Vision--But Not a Visionary, written when Coolidge was still governor of Massachusetts. At the time, there was some thought of Coolidge's running for president, but ultimately he was nominated as Warren G. Harding's vice president instead. Calvin Coolidge: A Man with Vision apparently served as Republican campaign literature, and it prominently features Coolidge's personal religious leanings.
Bernays, Edward L. (1891-1995)
Born in Vienna and raised in the United States, Edward L. Bernays, a nephew of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, is considered to be the founder of the field of public relations. Styling himself a public-relations "counsel"--a term he borrowed from the law to convey the professionalism of his controversial new field--Bernays pursued his calling in New York City from 1919 to 1963. In partnership with his wife, Doris Fleischman Bernays, he orchestrated elaborate corporate advertising campaigns and consumer spectacles. Bernays was a booster of corporate interests who espoused a strong code of professional ethics. While his corporate clients included the Dodge Brothers, Procter & Gamble, the American Tobacco Company, Cartier, Best Foods, and Knox-Gelatin, he also worked on behalf of many nonprofit organizations and for President Coolidge, whose image he was hired to improve before the 1924 presidential election.
After many years of restricted access, Bernays's papers at the Library of Congress were opened to the public at his death in 1995. They contain a wealth of information about the origins of public relations in the United States during the 1920s. His views on advertising and public relations are especially well represented in this collection in his essays, including "This Business of Propaganda" (1928).
See also: Selections from the Edward L. Bernays Papers at the Library of Congress.
Better Homes Movement
The Better Homes Movement was a nationwide campaign initiated in 1922 in the pages of the Butterick Publishing Company's household magazine, The Delineator. The campaign celebrated home ownership, home maintenance and improvement, and home decoration as means of motivating responsible consumer behavior that also expanded the market for consumer products. In cities and towns across the country, annual campaigns--or "better homes demonstration weeks"--encouraged citizens to own, build, remodel, and improve their homes and distributed advice on creating home furnishings and decorations. The Guidebook for Better Homes Campaigns in Rural Communities and Small Towns shows how the campaign sought to communicate its ideas. School Cottages for Training in Home-making shows how high-school courses incorporated the ideas of the campaign.
The Better Homes Movement received broad support from both government and industry. President Coolidge served as honorary chairman of the Advisory Council of Better Homes in America, and Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, a prime mover in that organization's formation, was president of its board of directors. The movement sought to educate consumers, but it also served the interests of powerful groups and organizations. The connection between the campaign's educational and commercial concerns is illustrated by Herbert Hoover's essay "The Home as an Investment," in the Better Homes in America Plan Book for Demonstration Week, October 9 to 14, 1922.
See also: "Homemaker-Consumer Life in Washington, D.C., 1922-23" from the Anna Kelton Wiley Papers.
Boone, Joel T. (1889-1974)
Joel Thompson Boone was a physician and career officer in the U.S. Navy. During Coolidge's term of office, he served as medical officer for the Coolidge family on board the U.S.S. Mayflower, the presidential yacht, and as second-in-command to the White House physician, Dr. James F. Coupal. Coolidge preferred Boone to Coupal and saw him much more. Boone was also Mrs. Coolidge's personal physician, and he was at the bedside of Calvin Coolidge Jr. when the boy died from blood poisoning in 1924.
Because of his unique relationship with the Coolidge family, Boone had a personal view of the president that was not available to other observers. In 1963 Boone began writing his autobiography, using notes he had made in his years of service to Presidents Coolidge and Hoover. In addition to the long typescript chapter on Coolidge that is in this digital collection, his manuscript contains an even longer chapter on Herbert Hoover as president.
After years of restricted access, the Joel T. Boone Papers at the Library of Congress were opened to the public in 1995.
Budget and Accounting Act of 1921
The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 created the federal Bureau of the Budget and housed it within the Department of the Treasury. Charles G. Dawes, later vice president during Coolidge's second term, was appointed by President Warren G. Harding to be the first director of the Bureau of the Budget. His successor was Herbert M. Lord.
Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce
The Department of Commerce's budget and responsibilities expanded significantly during the 1920s, largely because of the growth and institutionalization of its Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Early in the decade, foreign commerce grew as the bureau helped American businessmen develop overseas operations and exploit international markets. In 1923, the bureau's concerns shifted towards the domestic economy and the American consumer. By the end of the decade it had seventeen commodity divisions, including one for the automotive industry.
Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover created a Merchandising Research Division, a Domestic Regional Division, and a Marketing Service Division to help businessmen adapt to an economic climate increasingly characterized by mergers and the trend towards chain stores and more widely available consumer credit. The bureau supplied the private sector with statistics about consumer preferences, marketing trends, and production and distribution. This information greatly increased the ability of businesses to chart their most profitable courses.
The bureau was headed by Julius Klein, a Harvard economist and historian; a picture of Klein appears in the June 1926 issue of Associated Advertising.
See also: "Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce--Department of Commerce" in the Calvin Coolidge Papers.
Business Organization of the Government
President Coolidge believed that the federal government could best be managed like a business, meeting the same demands of economy and efficiency. The Business Organization of the Government was a continuing series of convocations intended to enhance and celebrate the efficient operation of the federal budget system created under President Harding by the Budget Act of 1921. For the first time, the federal government was operating under a comprehensive budget. President Coolidge spoke twice a year at these meetings, which more than five hundred of the federal government's executives and their spouses were invited to attend. Included were cabinet secretaries and assistant heads of departments; chiefs and assistant chiefs of bureaus, offices and services; budget officers, chief clerks and assistant chief clerks; disbursing officers; and all other officials who exercised authority over government expenditures. Some meetings were gala events scheduled for Saturday evenings, confirming the importance that President Coolidge attached to them.
See also Eight Business Organization of the Government speeches delivered by Coolidge in his second term (from the Everett Sanders Papers).
Butterick Publishing Company
The Butterick Publishing Company played a significant role in defining the homemaking and consumption-related concerns of the 1920s. Then as now, the Butterick name was associated with sewing patterns. By purchasing these patterns, women of modest means could save money by making clothes at home. More affluent women brought them to tailors and dress-makers. The Butterick patterns were both fashionable and versatile.
The Butterick Publishing Company published The Delineator, a mass-circulation magazine for women emphasizing household management and ideas for consumers. Christine Frederick, author of the classic Selling Mrs. Consumer (1929), served as its home economics editor. Like other homemaker magazines of the period, The Delineator January 1926 issue included an article on how to furnish a house, with an expense breakdown, room by room, at three income levels. The magazine also offered a feature common to other homemaking magazines: a "Beauty Service Institute" that tested products and answered consumers' questions about women's toiletries. According to Paul K. Edwards in The Southern Urban Negro As a Consumer (1932), The Delineator was one of the few "white magazines" to which African-American households subscribed (p. 179), along with Good Housekeeping and Country Gentleman.
The Butterick Publishing Company also published Midas Gold. A Study of Family Incomes, 'Overselling' and Time-Payments as a Broadener of Markets (1925), which encouraged consumer installment buying, and The Story of a Pantry Shelf: An Outline History of Grocery Specialties (1925), which supplied information on foodstuffs as a segment of the consumer economy.
The Better Homes Movement, which fostered home ownership and beautification, began in the offices of The Delineator. The Better Homes in America Plan Book for Demonstration Week, October 9 to 14, 1922, published by The Delineator, reveals the Butterick Company's close ties to the Better Homes campaign at its inauguration in 1922.