Depression Era: Folks Struggled to Find Good Jobs

Kansan discusses how the 'economy of the times' during the depression era made good jobs scarce.

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Good jobs were very difficult to find during the depression era. Even if work was exchanged for necessities, still it seemed the value received for work done was short due to the economy of the times.

An employer was hard-pressed to pay a good wage at this time, even for an excellent worker. Farm hands in a western section of Kansas reported they received 15~ a day, plus board, room and laundry. Some, would work, for an allotment of meat or vegetables if an employer had enough.

Some men out of work wandered the dusty roads, laboring for food and shelter for a day, a week, or for however long they were needed. Neighbors traded work to save what money they had, men helped each other with farm work and women assisted each other with gardening, food preservation, making clothing and quilts for winter.

Reva M. Smith
Abilene, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.