178 – Home Life 1922, 1923

Anna Webb and Mel Jarvis – c 1921

It was good that Chleo Jarvis lived in her mother’s household. They got along well. Anna had a daughter and grandchild at home, and Chleo had help raising Melvin.

In 1922, Ralph was age 28 and Chleo was 22.

Melvin “Mac” Jarvis

Chleo and Ralph called him “Mac.” He turned one year old in April 1922.

Mel “Mac” Jarvis – age 1 – 1922

More travel for Ralph Jarvis

Ralph was spending more time in Abilene and more time traveling to projects farther away from Larned. He did his best to be home every weekend.

Anna Webb’s birthday

In October 1922, Anna Webb celebrated her 55th birthday. She was born in Archbold, Ohio on October 19, 1867.

Her daughter Mae Webb Sooby had been born on the same date in 1889. She celebrated her 33rd.

Larned Chronoscope – October 26, 1922

Myrtle Webb Worrell died

Anna Webb’s second oldest daughter Myrtle Ray Webb Worrell died August 8, 1921. She had been born in 1893 on the Westcott Ranch south of Solomon, Kansas.

Larned Chronoscope – August 10, 1922 – Mae, Laura, Chleo, and James are Myrtle’s siblings.

Donald Clair Jarvis

Donald Clair Jarvis was born on October 6, 1923 to Chleo and Ralph Jarvis at the Rock House in Larned.

Donald Clair Jarvis – age 6 months – with Anna Webb – 1924

Nibbles Extra Credit – The Roaring Twenties

Economy

After World War I, there was a sharp recession, caused in part by declining demand for American agricultural goods in Europe. The 1918 flu pandemic contributed.

But by 1920, the recession was over. Driven by deferred spending, a boom in construction and rapid growth of consumer goods such as automobiles and electricity, the economy boomed. The economy grew 42% during the 20s.

In 1920, for the first time, more people lived in cities than on farms.  They went to work in mass-production factories. The Great Migration brought southern Blacks to the factories in the north. People had paychecks. They bought consumer goods.

Widespread prosperity

The number of people filing income tax returns for earning more than $1 million a year rose from 65 to 513.

Among the big winners included owners of new industries, such as the chemical, electrical and automobile industries.

Work

Henry Ford made major contributions to the way work was done. He introduced the 8 hour workday and the 5-day work week, both revolutionary concepts. He introduced a standard wage – $5 per day, double the going rate.

Workers line up at Ford for jobs at $5 per day, double the normal rate of $2.34

Some people now had a predictable work schedule, and a regular paycheck. They had leisure time, and perhaps extra money to buy a car or consumer goods.

But not everyone worked in mass production factories. The most common job was still farmer, followed by retail and office workers, teachers, tradesmen, etc. Most of these jobs still had low pay.

Businesses made huge profits.

Gross national product grew 40 percent between 1922 and 1929. Technology, led by electricity and the advent of the assembly line, led to a manufacturing boom. A Model T took 93 minutes to build instead of half day. By 1929, 20% of Americans owned an automobile.

Ford, Chrysler and General Motors accounted for 12.7% of all revenues in the US, and employed 7% of all factory workers.

J C Penney, who had a few hundred stores in 1920, expanded his empire dramatically. He opened his 500th store in 1924 and by the end of the decade, he had 1,000.

People invested


The New York Times – July 15, 1928

Many companies needed capital to expand. They often preferred to raise that capital by selling stock or bonds on the stock market.

For the first time, middle class people could invest by buying company shares or bonds. They were promised growth and dividends for their investment, and the promises delivered.

By the mid-1920s, people bought the shares “on margin”, paying 10 per cent of the value and borrowing the rest. Thus, a small investment could leverage a large return.

Income Inequality

Like always, there were winners and losers. More than 60 per cent of Americans lived just below the poverty line.

“Getting Ahead of the Band Wagon!” Los Angeles Times, 1928

Income inequality reached staggering rates. The wealthy and middle class profited.

The incomes of the top 1% of Americans increased by 75% during the decade. The incomes of the remaining 99% increased by 9%. By the end of the ’20s, the top one percent of U.S. families had more wealth than 22 percent of the population.

Farmers suffered. They had been the mainstay of American life and the economy for generations. Now, in 1920, they needed machinery to compete, but couldn’t afford it on the scale of the family farm. Small farms lost their viability.

Workers on farms and in small towns didn’t share equally in the robust economy. This was the start of a trend that would last for many decades.

Coal mining was beginning to stagnate. Before the 20th century, coal ran the economy. Now, in the 1920s, electricity was replacing coal as the power of choice.

Generally, groups such as farmers, black Americans, immigrants, workers in the traditional industries and working class women did not enjoy the prosperity of the ‘Roaring Twenties’.

U.S. Leadership

The US became the richest country in the world and had the largest total GDP. Its industry was becoming based on mass production and consumerism.


Timeline – 1923


Sources

2 thoughts on “178 – Home Life 1922, 1923

  1. Louise Longworth September 24, 2021 / 4:51 pm

    As always – a riveting overview of the era in the US, with fascinating photographs..
    Enlightening information for a ‘Brit.’ across the pond ‘ !!
    Love the family photos.
    Louise Jervis Longworth.

    Like

  2. Mark Jarvis September 25, 2021 / 4:08 pm

    Thank you Louise. I always enjoy hearing from you. Hope you’re well and happy. One of these days after Covid we’ll meet up.

    Like

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