The Great Depression: Breadline and World’s Highest Standard of Living

Morris Huberland - Bread Line. late 1930s. Gelatin silver print: 6¾ x 7¼ in.

1937 photo by Margaret Bourke-White – Breadline during Louisville Flood.

The breadlines during the Great Depression are some of the most symbolic characteristics of the Great Depression. The breadlines were unusually long and crowded, despite of the fact that the agency were providing little bread to each individuals. Although most of people on the breadline were capable laborers, the lack of employment opportunities made them unable to make any production and forced them to wait on a crowded line for most of the day-time. It was quite tragic, since many capable workers were forced to accept the little ration provided by the government. Certain city folks found it unbearable and relocated themselves to rural areas to farm, in hope of using their labor to produce actual food.

The two images above are illustrations of the long, crowded breadlines during the Great Depression. The first picture depicts the breadline on a cold day, in which many people wear wearing heavy jackets and hiding their hands in the pockets. They have no other choice other than waiting there. They could not produce food in the city (or not fast enough, since growing vegetation in the backyard cannot guarantee a stable food source),  so they had no choice but to accept their only stable source of food. On the other hand, the second picture portrays the irony of America’s economics collapse. Just several years ago, the Americans were celebrating the lavish lifestyle and liberal behaviors of the Roaring Twenties; however, by the time of the depression, Americans no longer had the money and leisure to enjoy their freedom and the world’s highest standard of living. Nothing remained but the ad board, which ironically depicted their faded prosperity during the age of wide-scale poverty.

2 thoughts on “The Great Depression: Breadline and World’s Highest Standard of Living

  1. Pingback: Jake's Blog - A Look at the Great Depression

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