The Ohio Department of Aging has posted the first results of its Great Depression Story Project on the department’s Web site, www.aging.ohio.gov.
In March and April, the department solicited stories about the Great Depression of the 1930s from Ohioans who lived through it. The department will release a new collection of excerpts to its Web site each month through December (four in total).
“Our hope was to gather recollections and lessons learned that people of all ages today could use for perspective on our current economic situation, as well as some advice for surviving adversity,” said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. “Ohio’s greatest generation did not disappoint us. More than 300 individuals sent in their stories of life, adversity and triumph during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.”
In March, 2009, the department issued a news release asking people to submit their recollections from the Great Depression stories so that the sacrifices they made and the lessons they learned may be shared with other generations currently facing tough economic times. The project garnered statewide and national media coverage. The original April 10 deadline was extended two weeks due to overwhelming interest.
In total, the department collected 313 stories from people in 54 counties all over the state, as well as six individuals from out of state who used to reside in Ohio. About a quarter were submitted via e-mail, the rest via the U.S. Postal Service. The average age of those submitting stories was 85. The oldest subject was 103, the youngest 64.
The submissions presented a diverse range of topics from food and clothing, to employment, home life and differences between then and today. The most common theme throughout the stories was that people, families and communities of that era seemed much more self-sufficient than we are today.