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October 29, 1929

Charlottesville Feels Little Effect of Stock Market Crash

News Stories Editorials Advertising Charlottesville: A Safe Haven

On Oct. 29, 1929 the New York Stock Market in plummeted, thrusting the nation into dire economic straits. But in Charlottesville, The Daily Progress focused on the local governor's race where the Democratic nominee, John Pollard became the center of a possible political and racial controversy. The story regarding the stock market crash fell to second on the page -- a small Associated Press story out of New York with the optimistic headline, "Prices Rally on Stock Market as Demand is Shown."

The editors of The Daily Progress elected not to support the Associated Press story with a local story, showing any possible local reaction or business concern to how the crash might affect the local economy. In New York, however, The New York Times' front page was devoted almost entirely to the problems with the stock market, as they story was spread across the page in large font type. The Daily Progress, however, chose not to emphasize the crash as a matter of importance for readers in the Charlottesville/Albemarle County area.

Following the Stock Market Crash of October 29, 1929, The Daily Progress did not choose to write an editorial regarding the possible consequences of the stock fallout. Within at least one week the of the crash there was no mention of the crash and the staff did not write editorials on the topic, but instead mostly emphasized the controversy which was brewing in the Virginia governor's race. The majority of space was spent on this topic during this time just before the November elections in the state.

Advertisers did not appear to take ostensible notice of the events of the Stock Market crash on October 29, 1929 and the advertising in The Daily Progress looked much as it had before that date. There were a great deal of ads for women's clothing, men's suits, automobiles and foods of all sorts. In addition there was a significant amount of advertising relating to the upcoming November elections for governor of Virginia -- some were outright aimed at encouraging people to vote, while others made indirect reference to the day of the election. But there was no direct mention in the ads of the possibility of any potential economic problems in the Charlottesville area; many of the products which were advertised were of considerable expense, such as automobiles and fancy clothing. The only indirect notice given to the possibility of economic problems were a handful of ads which referred to "safe" spending and banking; one public service announcement on October 30 called for "Teamwork" from the wives of Charlottesville; it encouraged families to keep buying products and services, but to read The Daily Progress advertising for the best deals.

The treatment of the Stock Market crash of 1929 in The Daily Progress began a trend demonstrating that Charlottesville was a relatively unaffected section of the country, separate from the economic ills much of the rest of the country was facing. Virtually no sense of alarm arose from the front page of this newspaper during this time period. Instead they treated it as though it were an issue that the rest of the country may have been extremely concerned over, but which the people of Charlottesville need not be concerned. The lack of editorial mention, suppressed news coverage and virtually no reaction from the advertisers in the paper after the crash added up to the sense that the people of Charlottesville -- along with the editors of their newspaper and the merchants of the city -- were far from being concerned over this economic crisis. They did not appear to see it as part of their world -- their business and lives hummed along as usual.

Inside This Edition: Reporting on Key Dates in the Depression

October 29, 1929: Stock Market Crash March 4, 1933: FDR Innaugurated March 5, 1933: FDR declares 'bank holiday' March 9, 1933: Emergency Banking Bill passed May 12, 1933: Federal Emergency Relief Act passed December 5, 1933: Repeal of Prohibition
May 6, 1935: WPA established August 14, 1935 Social Security Act passed November 3, 1936: FDR re-elected February 3, 1937: National Guard prepared to strike workers in Flint, Michigan September 16, 1940: Selective Service Act passed December 7, 1941: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor


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