politics
and
society
  • President's Emergency Committee for Unemployment Relief claims 4 to 5 million unemployed
  • Wickersham Commission advises against the Repeal of the 18th Amendment, in spite of ineffectiveness of Prohibition
  • Supreme Court rules that procedures for adopting 18th Amendment were constitutional, overturning the ruling of a lower court
  • Bonus Loan Bill passed by Congress, overriding Hoover's veto attempt, which allows veterans to obtain cash loans up to 50 percent of bonus certificates issued in 1924
  • Hoover signs act making "Star Spangled Banner" national anthem
  • Hoover, opposed to governmental involvement in business ventures, vetoes Muscle Shoals Bill, which would later become the basis for Roosevelt's Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Nine young black men arrested in Scottsboro, Alabama, charged with raping a white woman; the "Scottsboro Boys" would become a cause celebre for social justice seekers nationwide
Scottsboro Boys
  • Hoover proposes one-year moratorium on all international war debts and reparations
  • Kansas farmers produce bumper crop of wheat as prices collapse; some counties grant a moratorium on taxes
  • Great Britain goes off gold standard, provoking fear amongst Americans that the United States will do the same; 827 banks close over the next two months as fear inspires widespread withdrawals
  • Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Chicago's Jane Addams and Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University
  • Hundreds of "hunger marchers" are turned away from the White House after trying to petition for employment at a minimum wage
  • Hoover seeks the creation of an emergency reconstruction finance corporation to lend money to lending institutions to bolster industry; he recognizes the need for more public works to provide jobs
science
and
tech
Grant Wood -- Fall Plowing Fall Plowing, by Grant Wood
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Films Released in 1931
  • M, directed by Fritz Lang
  • City Lights, directed by Charles Chaplin
  • Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff
  • Monkey Business, starring the Marx Brothers
  • Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi
  • The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney
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  • Wiley Post and Harold Gatty begin first single-plane, round-the-world flight -- takes 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes
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Alfonso Iannelli -- faucet Faucet, by Alfonso Iannelli
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  • First nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean, from Saishiro, Japan to Wenatchee, WA, completed by Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn in 41 hourse, 13 minutes
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1931 January 1931 February 1931 March 1931 April 1931 **************May 1931************** June 1931 July 1931 August 1931 September 1931 ******************October 1931******************* ******************November 1931****************** ******************December 1931******************
culture
  • University of Southern California wins the national college football championship
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  • Federal Council of Churches of Christ of America, a relatively conservative organization, gives qualified support to some measures of birth control
  • James Henigan of Medford, MA winds the 35th Boston Marathon in the time of 2:46:45
  • Empire State Building, the world's tallest structure, dedicated in New York City  
  • Pulitzer Prizes awarded: Years of Grace, by Margaret Ayers Barnes, fiction; Charles W. Eliot, by Henry James, biography; The Coming of the War:1914, by Bernadotte E. Schmitt, history; Collected Poems, by Robert Frost, poetry; Alison's House, by Susan Glaspell, drama
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  • Billy Burke wins golf's U.S. Open title by defeating George Von Elm by one stroke after two 36-hole playoffs
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  • New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt opens George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey to Manhattan
  • Al Capone found guilty of tax evasion in Federal Court in Chicago, sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined $50,000
  • St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat the Philadelphia Athletics (AL) in seven games to win 28th World Series  
  • Cimarron wins Academy Award for Best Picture, Lionel Barrymore Best Actor in A Free Soul; Marie Dressler as Best Actress in Min and Bill
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Books Released in 1931
  • The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
  • Shadows on the Rock, by Willa Cather
  • ViVa, by E.E. Cummings
  • Newspaper Days, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
  • Axel's Castle, by Edmund Wilson
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Elzie Segar -- Thimble Theatre Thimble Theatre, by Elzie Segar
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  • Japan invades Manchuria, violating the Kellogg-Briand pact, setting it on the path to World War II
  • Council of League of Nations requests a US delegate concerning the Japanese invasion of Manchuria; United States goes on record in opposition to invasion, yet seems powerless to amend it
  • French Premier Laval joins President Hoover in declaring that both countries will maintain gold standard
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Songs Released in 1931
  • "Goodnight Sweetheart," by Guy Lumbardo
  • "Just One More Chance," by Bing Crosby
  • "The Peanut Vendor," by Don Azpiazu
  • "Star Dust," by Isham Jones
  • "Sweet and Lovely," by Gus Arnheim
  • "Dream a Little Dream of Me," by Wayne King
year in review