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Kids As Curators

by on April 30, 2010

President Hoover’s Response to the Stock market Crash of October 29, 1929


Political cartoon regarding stock market speculation.

In times of economic crisis who is responsible for helping those in need? What is the role of the president? The stock market crash of October 29, 1929 symbolized the beginning of the Great Depression in the United States. When the state and local governments became overwhelmed with the enormity of the disaster people looked to the federal government to supply aid.

Your class has been tasked with creating an exhibit exploring President Hoover’s response to the economic decline during 1929-1930. You will be provided with original documents and photographs, which you will have to analyze, organize and explain.

For this activity, you are going to act as curator and designer for an exhibit exploring the actions the federal government supported in response to the weakening economy of 1929-1930.

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Mary Evans May 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

Editor Millie K. Frese wrote an explanation of the Great Depression for young people in the fall issue of “The Goldfinch” magazine and I quote, “Hoover warned against wild spending on the stock market. In 1929, people were more eager than ever to buy stocks. The buying craze pushed prices higher and higher. People borrowed money to buy stocks. Then, instead of waiting to make money through dividends, they sold the stock for a quick profit as soon as the stock price went up.

Blake, Kenwood Elementary May 25, 2010 at 10:08 am

Dear people at Herbert Hoover museum,
Thank you for having us come to the museum. One thing I learned is that Herbert Hoover helped people from starving during the great depression. Another thing I learned is that Lou Hoover collected weapons. Also, I forgot to thank our guides Adam and Phyllis.
Thanks again!

Hannah, Frances Marion Intermediate May 25, 2010 at 10:18 am

Dear Personnel of the Hoover Museum,
Thank you for showing us around the school house, birthplace, blacksmith shop, meeting house, grave site, gift shop, movies and of course the tours! Thank you so much for showing us around the museum. Thank you tour guides and their knowledge. I learned a lot, like, that they went to China. They gave the hungry people Hoover Rolls and helped for the Great Depression.

Gaylen, Docent at Hoover Library May 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

Student question — “What really caused the stock market crash & Great Depression?” Several chaperones and teachers complimented me on the tour. Both my Williamsburg classes were well behaved and good listeners. I really appreciated that. Gaylen, Docent for Hoover Presidential Library

Bill Pontarelli, Docent May 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Van Allen Elem. Great Group for so young. Interesting questions as well. You did very well with my mixing more complicated ideas, like stock shares and FCC regulations, stuff we can’t actually see, feel, or touch with the tangible items like guns and dresses. You have great teachers who prepared you well. Sincerely, Bill, docent

Marilyn – Madison June 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

This year I had taught a unit on The Great Depression. The students had some background on Hoover from that time and were really geared up to learn more. Many really felt that he got a bad reputation considering all that he did.
We loved seeing “The Attic” display. It really carried out more of Hoover’s life.
Thank you, Marilyn

Craig, Archivist for Hoover Library November 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Recently 4th graders from Linn Grove Elementary in Marion asked what help President Hoover gave people during the Great Depression. I asked Archivist Craig Wright to answer their question–
Although Herbert Hoover could not stop the country from sliding into the Great Depression, he tried a number of things to help people, here are just a few:

1) In order to prevent unemployment Hoover called a series of meetings in November 1929. They were named the Conference for Continued Industrial Progress. The meetings recommended a four-part program: maintain current wages, distribute work to as many people as possible, increase construction, and organize committees to help the unemployed.

2) In order to increase jobs Hoover instituted a strong government construction program. In January 1930, Hoover asked for a budget authorizing $60 million to begin construction of the Hoover Dam, $75 million for road construction, and $500 million for public buildings. More than $8 billion in other construction projects were pledged by state and local governments.

3) To help farmers the government began buying wheat, by June 1930 it had purchased 65 million bushels for $90 million. Never before had the federal government intervened so directly in a peacetime economy.

4) To help business Hoover authorized the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC was intended to loan money to stable institutions such as banks, railroads, and insurance firms. The RFC authorized almost $2 billion in loans in 1932. In July 1932, Hoover authorized the RFC to spend an additional $2 billion on state and local public works projects.

5) Hoover signed the Federal Home Loan Bank Act, which established home loan banks throughout the nation. They intended to make loans to families to stimulate construction and employment.

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