America in the 1930s


An ongoing effort to re-present the audio landscape of the 1930s.

On the Air: 1930s Serials
Amos 'n' Andy, Little Orphan Annie, Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Dick Tracy, The Lone Ranger, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Buck Rogers and other classic 30s radio programs.

A Day on Radio
A full day of radio programming from WJSV (now WTOP), Washington, D.C., for September 21, 1939. This project presents a representative sample of the mix of network and local programming of a major metropolitan network affiliate of the period. It also suggests a good deal about the programming mix of such stations: early morning breakfast variety programs followed by soap operas during the day, news and sports in thelate afernoon, family serials in the early evening followed by drama and orchestral music until sign off. Finally, because it includes the advertising for each program, it tells us a good deal about the power and shape of radio advertising at the time.

The Free Company
Complete broadcasts of the 10 half-hour programs in this series of dramas loosely based on the Bill of Rights.

The Cavalcade of America: Myth and Reality, Hero Worship in American Radio
Abraham Lincoln and Annie Oakley, Thomas Jefferson and Geronimo, all subjects of the Dupont Company's Cavalcade of America broadcasts in the 1930s and all suggesting something of the complexity of the pantheon of American heroes.

The War of the Worlds
A Gullible Nation?: A Closer Look at a Night of Panic.
The complete broadcast of Orson Welles' famous 1938 radio program accompanied by an exploration of the cultural conditions that led to the ensuing panic.

This Land Is Your Land: Rural Music in the Depression
This site explores the evolution of traditional rural music -- through distribution by record and radio -- into the commercial genre of Country & Western during the Depression.

Amos 'n' Andy: In Black and White
An exploration of the cultural dynamics of the most popular radio show of the 1930s.

Woody Guthrie: This Man is Your Myth: This Man is My Myth
Woody Guthrie as a collective idealization, an iconic American figure.

Hep, Hot, and Headbanging: The Retro Rebirth of Swing
A history of Swing Music through the 20th century.

The Visitor in Your Living Room: Radio Advertising in the 1930s
A study of radio advertising in the 30s, including the structure of the common ad, the psychology at broadcast advertising's roots, and the radio's effect on mass culture.

Urbane Cowboys: in the 1990s
Analyzes's connection to the culture and music of the 1930s

FDR Speaks
Audio of various speeches of FDR including the famous "Quarantine" speech, the dedication of the Bonneville Dam and his second inaugural address.

The Real Deal
A study of the presentation and reception of New Deal programs through speeches, print media, political debate and legislation.

Superman in Identity Crisis: The Many Faces of the Man of Steel
An examination of the origins and transformations of Superman including the first 16 episodes of the radio program.


The Jukebox: Popular Music in the 1930s
That's right, a jukebox filled with the most popular vocals and instrumentals of the decade.

The Robert Johnson Notebooks
A collaborative effort examining the poetry and song of the famous blues musician, Robert Johnson.

Slang in the Great Depression
A look at the slanguage of the 1930's, complete with a first-cited dictionary, and the slang of the New Deal, the Soda Jerk, the Hobo, the Teenager, Advertisting, Radio, Jazz Culture, and Drug Culture.

Jazz: Marking Time in American Culture
A web site supplement to Professor Scott Deveaux's MUSI 212: Introduction to Jazz at the University of Virginia.

Last updated: May 18, 2004

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