The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Chapter 2: The Cannery Culture :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Mexicans realize you are dependent upon them, they nearly strike for more money.”
  • “Very frequently, women, and in some instances, children carry the large boxes of fruit, weighing 40 pounds and over. . . . This is important not only because of the number of immature girls in the canneries but because of the presence of married women. Frequently these women are at work while pregnant, often working dangerously near to the day of confinement.”
  • “Each woman is apt to check up upon the earnings of her neighbor … if she is behind, she is certain that the checker has forgotten to record some of her work.”
  • “After work, my hands were red, swollen, and I was on fire! On the streetcar going home, I could hardly hold on, my hands hurt so much. The minute I got home, I soaked my hands in a pan of cold water. My father saw how I was suffering and he said, ‘Mi hija, you don’t have to go back there tomorrow.’ And I didn’t.”
  • “UCAPAWA consciously strove to recruit women for leadership positions at every level”

Thought Questions

  • Compare and Contrast: the roles work, family and social networks filled in the lives of cannery women
  • Describe the This “piece rate” pay scale and how it was used in the cannery industry
  • How did corporate concentration impact the workers in the cannery industry in California and how is Del Monte representative
  • Describe the seasonal structure of the industry and how this particularly impacted female workers
  • Compare and Contrast: The garment and textile industries on the East Coast with the food processing industry in California
  • Explain and Expand: “Often employer attitudes became translated into wage differentials”
  • Describe the impact of gender segregation in the cannery industry on female workers
  • What role did Mexican children fill in the cannery industry
  • What factors diminished cooperation and unity among cannery employees
  • Explain and Expand: “cross-cultural friendships usually ended at the cannery gates.”
  • How did child care impact female cannery workers

 

The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Chapter 1: Community and Family :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “By 1930 Los Angeles had the largest concentration of Mexicans in the United States, and by 1940 only Mexico City could claim a greater number of Mexican inhabitants. Spanish-speaking communities throughout southern California grew at a phenomenal pace during the early decades of the twentieth century. In 1900 only 3,000 to 5,000 Mexicans lived in Los Angeles, but by 1930 approximately 150,000 persons of Mexican birth or heritage had settled into the city’s expanding barrios.1 Los Angeles firms employed one-half of the state’s Mexican industrial labor force, and two-thirds of California’s Mexican population resided in five southern counties. On a national level, by 1930 Mexicans formed the “third largest ‘racial’ group,” outnumbered only by Anglos and blacks.”
  • “Women contributed to the family income through their seasonal labor in agriculture and food processing, and many were employed in the growing service sector associated with California tourism. Mexicanas also performed a variety of home tasks for pay, taking in sewing, washing, ironing, and boarders. Some practiced the art of curanderismo (or folk healing) as a means of economic, as well as cultural, survival.”
  • “In Los Angeles, the old “Sonoratown,” pushed by the commercialization of the downtown area, gradually declined as a residential section. In its stead, suburban barrios grew up east of the Los Angeles River.”
  • “Between 1931 and 1934, rhetoric exploded into action as an estimated one-third of the Mexican population in the United States was either deported or repatriated to Mexico even though many had been born in this country. Mexicans were the only immigrants to be targeted for removal. The proximity of the U.S.–Mexico border, as well as the physical distinctiveness of mestizo peoples, fostered the belief that Mexican immigrants could be easily identified and—perhaps more important—inexpensively transported back to their homeland. Mexicans were viewed alternatively as foreign usurpers of American jobs and as unworthy burdens on local relief rolls.”
  • “Yet, the threat of deportation did not touch all Mexican families equally. Historian Camille Guerin-Gonzáles argues that farm workers newly arrived in Los Angeles from rural California were more likely candidates for removal than long-term urban residents. The food processing workers I have interviewed certainly were aware of the fear permeating the barrios, but their own families were not directly affected.”
  • “Red bandannas [sic] I detest, And now the flappers Use them for their dress. The girls of San Antonio Are lazy at the metate. They want to walk out bobbed-haired, With straw hats on. The harvesting is finished, So is the cotton; The flappers stroll out now For a good time.”
  • “I fought with my parents . . . but I didn’t try to sneak out because I didn’t want our neighbors to talk about me the way they talked about some other girls. That kind of chisme would hurt my family.”
  • “Like many female factory workers in the United States as well as in England and France, most Mexican cannery operatives were young single daughters who lived at home and contributed all or part of their pay checks to the family income … Teenage daughters often entered the labor market first, followed by their mothers if additional income was needed.”
  • “The wages garnered by Mexican women industrial operatives were modest; those employed in canneries and packing houses averaged from $2.30 to $2.70 per day. In contrast, their male counterparts received from $3.50 to $4.50 per day. Yet, the earnings of Mexican women food processing personnel were comparable to those garnered by immigrant women on the East Coast. In 1930, for example, the median weekly wage of immigrant women workers in Philadelphia (primarily Jews, Poles, and Italians) was $15.35, or $2.56 per day.”
  • ““I wanted to be a housewife, but I wanted to work. I wanted to see the world . . . I didn’t have any intentions of just . . . getting married . . . and raising kids . . . and being behind the stove. That was out of my line. I didn’t believe in that.”56 Motivations for married women’s employment were certainly as diverse as the women themselves and defy easy categorization.”
  • “While English and French wives often withdrew from the labor force to manage the family income, Mexican and European ethnic wives in the United States (particularly if second generation) continued working so as to accumulate extra funds.”
  • “While one woman might rationalize her wage-earning role as an extension of her family responsibilities, her U.S. born daughter might visualize her own income as an avenue to independence.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Barrio life nurtured traditional values and customs. The barrio, like the family, offered security and refuge”
  • Explain and Expand: “a dynamic entity which fosters a sense of self-respect and dignity.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Ethnic pride as exhibited in secular and religious groups served as a psychological bulwark against the grinding poverty experienced by the majority of barrio residents in southern California.”
  • Explain and Expand: “the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan”
  • Explain and Expand: “The impact of flapper styles on the Mexican community”
  • Explain and Expand: “Though times were lean, many women had dreams of fame and fortune, nurtured in part by their proximity to Hollywood.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Viewed within the construct of a family wage economy, women’s outside employment was an extension of their role in the family.”
  • Explain and Expand: “For some women, however, wages were not supplements to family income. As female heads of households, Mexican women depended on their meager earnings to support not only their children but also their parents.”
  • Explain and Expand: “While most youthful Mexican Americans maintained their cultural identity, many yearned for more freedom, particularly after noticing the more liberal lifestyles of self-supporting Anglo coworkers.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Thus, the household could no longer be characterized as a family wage economy, but as a family consumer economy”
  • Explain and Expand: “items perceived as conferring American respectability. … Sometimes the desire to become “good Americans” resulted in a rejection of Mexican identity.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Mexican women sought employment in food processing firms for a multitude of reasons depending on age, generation, and marital status.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Appendix A “The Head-Cutters” By Edith Summers Kelley :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

As you are reading the book, think about how each of the quotes below relates to the material.

  • “They’ll have that whistle stopped or make them move their plant.”
  • “From the warm bed into the biting cold: Father and mother and Manuel and Jose, And Joachim and Dolores and little Angelina, And run, buttoning their clothes to the cannery, Teeth chattering all the way, Leaving only the babies at home with the grandma, Sleeping till day.”
  • “It is cold and they shiver and cough, and the hands become slow; And here a boy’s finger the keen knife slits to the bone, And there a girl totters, Gone faint from the icy chill of the blood-freezing water.”
  • “There will be money now for the men to guzzle and gamble, Silk stockings for the girls and high-heeled shoes, Candy and gum to make the children gay. And for the mothers, The bread to buy and the meat, And the rent to pay.”
The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Preface :: Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki L. Ruiz

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This study centers on the historical experiences of Mexican women canning and packing workers in California during the 1930s and 1940s. It explores the connections of work, culture, and gender as well as the relationship between women’s networks and unionization.”
  • “As a historian, I have chosen oral interviews as the primary means by which to examine a cross section of Mexican women wage earners in food processing, women who ranged from single daughters to single parents.”
  • “As wage earners, were they members of a family wage economy, a consumer wage economy, or both?”
  • “More important, what type of networks developed within the plants?”
  • “Under what conditions did this collective identity, rooted in kinship and shared experience, become translated into unionization?”
  • “While important to women’s history, UCAPAWA should also be scrutinized within the context of unionization during the 1930s.”
  • “I have endeavored to write an integrated monograph documenting the history of Mexican women workers within the environs of a particular industry and a specific union using the woman- centered approach. What is woman- centered history?”
  • “The chapters that follow delineate the experiences of a generation of Mexican women cannery operatives who, from 1939 to 1950, took control of their work lives as members of the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “Scholarly publications on Mexican American history have usually relegated women to landscape roles”
  • Who were Dolores Huerta and Jessie Lopez de la Cruz and what is their significance to the labor movement?
  • Explain and Expand: “The typical pattern has been to deny decision- making roles to the female rank and file once the union has developed a foothold.”
  • Explain and Expand: “This failure to translate militancy into democratic locals can be found in other unions as well.”
  • Explain and Expand: “America. In particular, it asks what impact World War II had on this particular segment of industrial employees and to what extent their lives squared with the prevailing image of “Rosie the Riveter.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

Chapter 13: Smashup :: The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 by William E. Leuchtenburg

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “central to the culture”
  • “We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promises of American advertising,”
  • “I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion.”
  • “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
  • “One can assign no single cause to the crash and the ensuing depression, but much of the blame for both falls on the foolhardy assumption that the special interests of business and the national interest were identical. Management had siphoned off gains in productivity in high profits, while the farmer got far less, and the worker, though better off, received wage increases disproportionately small compared to profits. As a result, the purchasing power of workers and farmers was not great enough to sustain prosperity.”
  • “The financial community purported to see the depression as a blessed occurrence that would improve the national character by chastening the spirit”
  • “I do not sympathize with those who think that this process of compulsory mass saving will sap the virility and self-reliance of our race. There will be quite enough grind-stone in human life to keep us keen.”
  • “Men relentlessly sabotaged the technology on which they had preened themselves in the Coolidge years.”
  • “When I think of what has been happening since unemployment began, and when I see the futility of the leaders,” declared Father John A. Ryan, “I wish we might double the number of Communists in this country, to put the fear, if not of God, then the fear of something else, into the hearts of our leaders.”
  • “They are just ready to do anything to get even with the situation. I almost hate to express it, but I honestly believe that if some of them could buy airplanes they would come down here to Washington to blow you fellows all up…. The farmer is naturally a conservative individual, but you cannot find a conservative farmer today…. I am as conservative as any man could be, but any economic system that has in its power to set me and my wife in the streets, at my age—what can I see but red?”
  • “Has the prophecy of Henry Adams, that we are all on a machine which cannot go forward without disaster and cannot be stopped without ruin, come true?”
  • “Sometimes it is a dreadful nightmare, when I feel the cold shears at the back of my neck, and see my curls fall one by one at my feet, useless, lifeless things to be packed away in tissue paper with other outworn treasures.”
  • “It was a time of paradoxes: an age of conformity and of liberation, of the persistence of rural values and the triumph of the city, of isolationism and new internationalist ventures, of laissez faire but also of government intervention, of competition and of merger, of despair and of joyous abandon.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “The prosperity of the 1920s encouraged the contagious feeling that everyone was meant to get rich.”
  • What was the “Great Bull Market”?
  • Affirm or Refute: “No one can explain what caused the Great Bull Market.”
  • Affirm or Refute: “It is true that credit was easy, but credit had been easy before without producing a speculative mania.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Customers borrowed money, bought more stock, watched the stock go up, and borrowed still more money to buy still more stock.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Not long before he left office, President Coolidge announced that stocks were “cheap at current prices.””
  • How did the nature of the stock exchanges change in the 1920s?
  • Explain and Expand: “The policies of the federal government in the 1920s were disastrous.”
  • What role did the Stock Market crashes in 1929 play in the development of the Great Depression?
  • Explain and Expand: “Nothing did more to turn the stock market crash of 1929 into a prolonged depression than the destruction of business and public morale by the collapse of the banks.”
  • In what ways did the Great Depression begin to impact American families?
  • How did President Hoover respond to the growing Great Depression in its early phases?
  • As the Great Depression continued how did President Hoover’s response change?
  • Describe “Hoovervilles”
  • Explain and Expand: “those in destitution and their children are actually receiving more regular and more adequate care than even in normal times.”
  • How did the European economic situation impact the United States?
  • How did the depression in the United States impact Germany?
  • What was the purpose of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and in what ways did it change the depression?
  • Explain and Expand: “While people went hungry, granaries bulged with wheat no one could sell.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Many Americans who had never had a radical thought before in their lives began to question the virtues of capitalism.”
  • What was the “Bonus Army” and how did Washington react to it?
  • Compare and Contrast: The Bonus Army and Coxey’s Army
  • Describe how the Great Depression impacted the Democratic primary for President in 1932?
  • Explain and Expand: “Here we are in the midst of the greatest crisis since the Civil War and the only thing the two national parties seem to want to debate is booze.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Never was a decade snuffed out so quickly as the 1920s.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The depression years killed off the icons of simplicity the 1920s had cherished.”
  • Explain and Expand: “In the 1920s, the events of half a century finally caught up with America”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

The Jazz Age Great Depression New Deal Era and World War 2 America

The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 by William E. Leuchtenburg :: Chapter 9: The Revolution in Morals

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The right of women to vote should have required no special justification, but to overcome resistance to approval of the Nineteenth Amendment suffragists, accepting the traditional view of woman’s nature, had argued that giving women the ballot would purify politics and initiate a new era of universal peace and benevolence.” 
  • “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any specialist I might select— doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestor.”
  • “The hedonism of the period was less a remedy than a symptom of what Walter Lippmann called a “vast dissolution of ancient habits,” and rarely did it prove as satisfying as people hoped.” 

Thought Questions

  • Describe the progress towards female suffrage? How did World War I impact the campaign?
  • How did moral norms and boundaries change in the post World War I era?
  • What role did the decline in religion play in changing values?
  • React and Respond: “The “new woman” revolted against masculine possessiveness, against “over-evaluation” of women “as love objects,” against being treated, at worst, as a species of property. The new woman wanted the same freedom of movement that men had and the same economic and political rights.” 
  • Describe the evolution in the attitudes of women in the post war period?
  • Describe the evolution in the attitudes towards women in the post war period?
  • Compare and Contrast the struggle for women’s suffrage in the North, South and West
  • Compare and Contrast the role Evangelical Christianity and Progressive Christianity played in the struggle for women’s rights in general and suffrage specifically
  • What was the Sheppard-Towner Act? 
  • How did female suffrage impact the economics of family and single life for women?
  • In what ways did men react to the change in the roles of women in society and the home? 
  • How were children and children’s rights impacted by the women’s rights movement?
  • In what ways did the field of psychology impact women and the family in the progressive era?
  • How was Eugene O’Neill significant in the social development of the United States?
  • Expand and Explain: “In the attempt to work out a new standard of relations between men and women, Americans in the 1920s became obsessed with the subject of sex.” 
  • Who were the “Flappers” and what impact did they have on urban American culture?
  • In what ways was the new status and circumstances of women reflected in the arts and how did the arts impact the role of women?
  • “None of the Victorian mothers had any idea how casually their daughters were accustomed to be kissed.”
  • Explain and Expand “The Gibson girl was the embodiment of stability. The flapper’s aesthetic ideal was motion, her characteristics were intensity, energy, volatility. While the Gibson girl seems incapable of an immodest thought or deed, the flapper strikes us as brazen and at least capable of sin if not actually guilty of it. She refused to recognize the traditional moral code of American civilization, while the Gibson girl had been its guardian.” 
  • React and Respond: “Instead of youth emulating age, age imitated youth. Scott Fitzgerald, looking back on the years of which he was the chief chronicler, recalled: “May one offer in exhibit the year 1922! That was the peak of the younger generation, for though the Jazz Age continued, it became less and less an affair of youth. The sequel was a children’s party taken over by elders.” “Oh, yes, we are collegiate” 
  • React and Respond: “Abandoning the notion of saving income or goods or capital over time, the country insisted on immediate gratification … The preoccupation with living in the present had problematic consequences.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 by William E. Leuchtenburg – Chapter 8: A Botched Civilization

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “One’s first strong impression,” recalled Malcolm Cowley, “is of the bustle and hopefulness that filled the early years from 1911– 1916…. Everywhere new institutions were being founded— magazines, clubs, little theatres, art or freelove or singletax colonies, experimental schools, picture galleries. Everywhere was a sense of secret comradeship and immense potentialities for change.” 
  • “you may be sure that an era is dying. It is a law of literary history that these spectacular outbursts which look as if they were ushering in a new epoch are in truth ushering out an old one.”
  • “so gives away the whole long age during which we have supposed the world to be, with whatever abatement, gradually bettering, that to have to take it all now for what the treacherous years were really making for and meaning is too tragic for any words.” 
  • “There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization”
  • “shape without form, shade without color, paralyzed force, gesture without motion.” 
  • “Above all, they loathed the “Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls,” that vast middle class which sought “culture” as it would shop for furniture, which measured everything in money. … They despised capitalism as the foul offspring of Puritanism. They rebelled against what Waldo Frank called the “cold lethal simplicities of American business culture.””
  • “We had begun to develop an idea common to nineteenth century romantics and twentieth century bohemians, the idea that success was synonymous with philistinism,” wrote Joseph Freeman. Quite “unable to distinguish between success and conventional standards of success, we made a cult of failure.” The novelist Scott Fitzgerald, in particular, was fascinated by “the beautiful and damned.” “All the stories that came into my head,” he recalled, “had a touch of disaster in them.” 
  • “What will you say to a man who believes in hell, or that the Pope of Rome wants to run this country, or that the Jews caused the war?” asked Ludwig Lewisohn. “How would you argue with a Methodist minister from an Arkansas village, with a Kleagle of the Klan, with a ‘thisisawhiteman’scountry’ politician from central Georgia?”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “A few years before World War I, the only literary tradition America had ever known came to an end.”
  • Explain and Expand: “[Continued from previous quote] At the time it seemed less like a death than a beginning.”
  • What impact did the end of the Progressive Era have on the static visual arts? 
  • What impact did the end of the Progressive Era have on the performance arts?
  • What impact did the end of the Progressive Era have on the literary arts?
  • In what ways did the 1912 Wilson campaign slogan “The New Freedom” reflect changing social climate in America? 
  • Who was Ezra Pound and what did his writing express about changing American culture and society?
  • Who was Henry James and how did his writing express the schism in American society and culture?
  • What does T.S. Elliot express about American life in his work “The Waste Lands”? 
  • Compare and Contrast: seventeenth century Puritanism and nineteenth century Victorianism in America
  • Compare and Contrast “The Mysterious Stranger” with Twain’s work “The Gilded Age”
  • Who was F. Scott Fitzgerald and what did his writing express about American life? 
  • What was the “Harlem Renaissance” and how did African American gender and sexuality find expression within the movement?
  • Who was Zora Neale Hurston?
  • Explain and Expand: “It is not easy to explain the negativism of the artists of the 1920s in relation to their creativity”

Primary Sources

American Literature

American Visual Art

Articles and Resources

 

The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 by William E. Leuchtenburg – Chapter 7: Tired Radicals

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “his enemies in office and his friends in jail.”
  • “This thing has got to come to an end. New York invited you people here as guests, not to live.”
  • “that the Democratic Party could be relied upon at the right time to do the wrong thing!”
  • “get the viewpoint of the broad prairie farmer. Don’t be a narrow minded hill billy from Vermont dominated by selfish money and manufacturing and union labor interests all your life.”
  • “The 1920s did, though, mark a time of transition within progressivism from the oldstyle evangelical reformism, under leaders like La Follette and Bryan, to a newstyle urban progressivism, which would call itself liberalism.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the circumstances that created the fourparty contest in 1912
  • In what ways did World War I have an impact on American Progressivism?
  • Who was Robert M. La Follette and why was he a polarizing figure?
  • How did Nationalism and Progressivism become linked and what impact did it have on each?
  • What were the issues the parties faced internally and in regards to national foreign and local domestic circumstances in 1916? How did this evolve into 1920 and 1924?
  • Describe the post war Progressive Party 
  • Who was Herbert Croly and what was the significance of “The Promise of American Life” (1909)?
  • Who was Walter Lippmann and what was the significance of “Public Opinion” and “The Phantom Public”?
  • Who were John Dewey, Charles Beard, Thorstein Veblen and how did they seek to impact American Society? 
  • What was the Nonpartisan League and how did it evolve from the Farmer Labor movement?
  • Why does the author mention “George Babbitt”? 
  • How did the mid western farm belt respond to political circumstances in the 1920s?
  • Who was General Jacob Coxey? 
  • How did the sectional divide between East, South and West shape parties in the 1920s?
  • How did Calvin Coolidge fit into the mix of parties?
  • Describe the relationship between Calvin Coolidge and the American Farm Belt
  • Expand and Explain: “The 1920s did, though, mark a time of transition within progressivism from the oldstyle evangelical reformism, under leaders like La Follette and Bryan, to a newstyle urban progressivism, which would call itself liberalism.” 
  • Who was Fiorello La Guardia?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

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