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Key: Politics and Society, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, World

Year in Review


Politics & Society

  • The Ludlow Resolution, requiring a national referendum on the declaration of war, is shelved.
  • Due to a 15-cent wage decrease, pecan shellers strike in San Antonio, TX under the leadership of Emma Tenayuca. One thousand out of 6,000 protesters are arrested.
  • Hispanic Civil Rights Congress is founded in Los Angeles by Bert Corona and Luisa Moreno
  • House Committee on Un-American Activities established. Its task is to investigate Socialists, Communists, and other individuals deemed un-American.
  • FDR signs the Fair Labor Standards Act that raises minimum wage from 25 cents to 40 cents an hour and limits the work week to 44 hours. The Act also prohibits manufacturing and mining businesses involved in interstate commerce from employing anyone under age 16.
  • The Revenue Act reduces taxes on large corporations and raises taxes on small businesses.
    • FDR Fireside Chat #13: on the accomplishments and failures of the 75th Congress, including but not limited to the Fair Labor Standards Act.




  • Elected to the Pennyslyvania House of Representatives,
    Crystal Bird Fauset becomes the first African-American female to serve in a state legislature
  • FDR presides over the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial.
  • Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada
    The Supreme Court rules that
    >the University of Missouri Law School must either admit African American students
    or build a separate but equal facility for them.

  • America's Town Meeting of the Air:
    Is an Economic Plan for World Peace Possible?

  • America's Town Meeting of the Air:
    How Should the Democracies Deal with the Dictatorships?
  • Science and Technology
    • General Motors mass produces diesel engines.
    • DuPont promotes first nylon product—a toothbrush.
    • First U.S. law for required medical tests before a marriage license
      can be obtained.
    •    (Howard Hughes flies around world in record time in a LockeeD
      Vega--3 days, 19 hours, 8 minutes, and 10 seconds.
    Hans Hofmann, Afterglow Afterglow, by Hans Hofmann
    • R. N. Harger's "dunkometer" is introduced in Indianapolis as the first breath test for drivers.
    January 1938 February 1938 March 1938 April 1938 May 1938 June 1938 July 1938 August 1938 September 1938 October 1938 November 1938 December 1938
    Arts and Culture
    • Benny Goodman plays jazz at Carnegie Hall.
    •   Pere Lorentz's The River, documents the history of the Mississippi River basin and implicitly supports the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project
    •   The 30s Jukebox
      • Snow WhiteSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs' general release. The biggest grossing film of the decade. (Gone with the Wind made its money in the 40s.)
        Click on the picture at right for the original trailer.
      • Our Town by Thorton Wilder opens at the Henry Miller Theatre in NYC
      • The Adventures of Dick Tracy
    • Academy Award—Best Picture to The Life of Emile Zole, Best Actress to Luise Rainer, Best Actor to Spencer Tracy, Best Supporting Actress to Alice Brady, Best Supporting Actor to Joseph Schildkraut, and Best Director to Leo McCarey for The Awful Truth
    • Arthur Dove, Shore Front
      Arthur Dove, Shore Front
    • Glen Miller forms his jazz orchestra
    Songs released in 1936
  • Pulitzer Prizes awarded:
    • fiction—The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquard,
    • poetry—Cod Morning Sky by Marya Zaturenska
    • ,
    • drama— Our Town by Thornton Wilder
    • In boxing Joe Louis defeats Max Schmeling in Yankee Stadium in front of 70,000 spectators--the largest crowd to date.
    • First issue of Action Comic appears with Superman on the cover. Be sure to look inside!
    first Superman cover
    Films released in 1938
    • The Adventures of Robin Hood
    • The Hurricane
    • Marie Antoinette
    • Love Finds Andy Hardy
    • Boys Town
    • Alexander's Ragtime Band premiered as a major hit with 26 Irving Berlin Songs.
    • scene from Alexander's Ragtime Band
      Books released in 1938
      • The Importance of Living, Lin Yutang
      • Madame Curie, Eve Curie
      • Listen! The Wind, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
      • The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
      • The Citadel, A. J. Cronin
      • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
      • Benjamin Franklin, Carl Van Doren
      • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
      • Northwest Passage, Kenneth Roberts
      • All This, and Heaven Too, Rachel Field
    • Hellzapoppin opens on New York.
      With 1,404 performances it will
      become the biggest stage success of the decade.
    cast of Hellzapoppin

    • Mary Martin, 24, appears in her first stage performance, Leave it to Me! She becomes a sensation after singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." (This show is also Gene Kelly's Broadway debut.)
    • Irving Berlin releases "God Bless America" with Kate Smith singing it on Armistice Day.
    Mary Martin
    • The March of Time: Persecution creates a world wide flood of refugees
    • German measles during pregnancy is related to birth defects
    • Aaron Copland composes his ballet, Billy the Kid--called the first of his American works.
    • DeBeers creates an aid campaing entitled "Traditions" making diamond ring essential for engagement
    • Pearl S. Buck receives the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces."

    Pearl S. Buck
    Pearl S. Buck
    • Vincon-Trammel Naval Expansion Act passes including one billion dollar expanion of 2-ocean navy over ten years, expanion of bases and ports, 69 new ships, and an increase of carrier size to 40,000 tons
  • America's Good Neighbor Policy
    • The March of Time: The growing threat of Facism throughout the Mediteranean.

    • Korean border skirmish with Soviet troops