Home / General / “The demand for the larger apartments with baths far exceeds the supply”: Visions of the Past, Thanks to Gutenberg (IX)

“The demand for the larger apartments with baths far exceeds the supply”: Visions of the Past, Thanks to Gutenberg (IX)

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North_Main_Street,_Fall_River,_MA

As a response to growing labor unrest, in 1916, major corporations decided to create the National Industrial Conference Board to undertake investigations of their own to show how much families needed to live, labor conditions, and the like, from a pro-business perspective. The Wilson administration valued this effort and used it during World War I to support various economic plans. That gave it greater legitimacy, despite the corporate taint. This is its 1919 study on the cost of living in Fall River, Massachusetts. It’s doesn’t explicitly try to undermine unions, although certainly the companies opposed the unions trying to organize the city’s large textile mills in the years before those employers would move to the South to avoid unionization. It mostly just presents facts and figures about the cost of living, changing prices of goods over time, and other raw economic data. Kind of interesting as a primary source, not that exciting as a read.

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