Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Documenting the Great Depression
As part of a nationwide campaign to recognize the importance of archives to teaching and research, in October the IU Libraries presented a month-long series of events documenting the Great Depression.
The celebration featured exhibitions, film showings, a sing-along of popular music from the 1930s, and discussions. Keynote speaker and author Mildred Kalish talked about her book, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2007.
The month’s final event coincided with the anniversary of the great stock market crash of 1929. Performers sang selections from the sheet music collections at IU’s Lilly Library, including “We’re in the Money” and “Hallelujah I’m a Bum.”
“Our troubled economy clearly provides context for the theme this year,” says Indiana University archivist and organizer Phil Bantin. “Archives and special collections, in their many forms, help us better understand our shared history.”
This is the fourth year IU and community organizations have participated in the nationwide observance organized by the Society of American Archivists. In 2008, the Society of American Archivists recognized IU’s campaign as the best in the country.
Related exhibitions are sponsored by the Monroe County History Center, IU Art Museum, IU Press, Fine Arts Library, Lilly Library, and Herman B Wells Library.