[Homestead] Purchasing power of U.S. dollar across the years, something on relative wages

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 9 01:28:34 EDT 2004

Lynda wrote:

>Can you provide cites that show that the pay relative to the cost of living
>was "much" higher than today?

I can give you price comparisons .  As I have mentioned before, the milk 
from 55 cows (hand-milked) brought in ninety eight cents in 1938 for two 
weeks output (after deducting for a pound of butter)---the price paid to 
the trucker hauling the ten-gallon cans of milk was more than the milk 
was worth.  The price of milk improved in 1939, when the U.S. started 
sucking all the capital out of Britain as "the arsenal of democracy".  
We actually started getting as much as seventy five dollars for a 
two-week milk paycheck.

We  had four hundred laying hens.  In the 1930's large flocks of 
chickkens were unheard of---mostly due to the fact that t here was no 
refrigeration and chickens were crated and sent live to retailers and 
sold live to consumers.  The only reason I was able to go to high school 
was the egg  revenue from our hens, paid to me daily by a local grocer.  
The price varied from seventeen cents to nineteen cents a dozen---$6.30 
cents a day was a fortune.  I cannot account for the high price except 
that I did not know a single neighbor who produced eggs for sale as we did..

Cut and packaged pork retailed for seven cents a pound.  Things like 
tongue, liver and giblets were given free by the buther for the 
asking---I got a lot of liver that way to use as bait when I went 
fishing for bullheads in big, but shallow Beaver Dam Lake..

Rent for a good house in town was $35 to $45 dollars a month---we moved 
around a lot, and paid $45 for a very big two story house and garage, 
sublet the top floor to a jobless railroad porter whose ten children 
were supported by the Catholic Church---there were no social services 
other than occasional soup kitchens and the County Poorhouse.  Over 
twenty five percent of the populace was jobless and most of the others 
underemployed---a steelworker friend of mine who lived in Akron and was 
working foreman with a two-man crew on a blast furnace in Gary, Indiana 
only worked three days a week--guy named Jim Price who later built and 
operated the Tata Brothers steel mill in Jamshedpur, India, with 65,000 
employees.  He was paid five dollars a day (like the Ford plant) to feed 
and tap the blast furnace.

A big draft horse sold for $125, a docile one-year old colt that looked 
good, $75., a six-year old  low-mileage 1931 Model A Ford in excellent 
condition, $350.

My one-room country schoolteacher (who bought our tenant farm when I 
went off to the Army Air Corps), was paids a salary of $175 a month, 
lower than teachers in the town high school, but still high enough so 
there were more teachers than jobs.  He was an excellent teacher whose 
graduate students were in great demand by the local high school 
principal, who roamed several townships looking for good academic 
prospects.  But he considered farm prospects better than teacher 
prospects, having observed I raised our farm income (exclusive of eggs) 
fifty percent in 1938 after a rogue horse broke seventeen of my fathers 
ribs, and tried to kill me in the pasture---I was close enough so it was 
more push than impact, so I was merely hurled  twenty or twenty five 
feet.  I don't know what Arland Jackson paid for the farm--the Wonewoc 
bank desperately wanted to sell 212 acres and a huge barn for $14,500 
and I wouldn't pay it---had arrived at the conclusion that to yield a 
good living a farm then would have to be a minimum of 800 acres.  I 
found a beautiful 2200 acres for $20,000 across the Wisconsin River from 
Portage Wisconsin, alluvial silt land and tall trees (no open fields), a 
hundred acres of which would have paid for the land at a nearby lumber 
mill---but having to single-handedly build house and barn at the same 
time was too formidable a taxk, so with no illusions, no romanticism, 
but foreknowledge of WWII since the Panay Incident of 1937 from my 
one-tube radio, I chose a career in what was then called the Army Air 

The high school teacher salaries varied according to difficulty of their 
courses, and how essential the courses wore for a farmer clientele, but 
the high school principal felt that College Prep had better prospects 
for the brighter students he tried to recruit.  We had the usual 
collection of dullards, but in my graduating class of about thirty, five 
very bright graduates, about three more than average. I had a University 
of  Wisconsin scholarship, but didn't use it due to the G.I. bill.  A 
years tuition than was
very low, as I recall $1200 regardless of major.  As I thought, a 
fantastic bargain for the renowned chemistry department and the 
acknowledged best geology professor of the time, one Cameron, whom I 
revered.  Don't know what college profs were paid in 1946..

The history and geography teacher, Mr Ford was brilliant and I suspect 
was at the highest pay level at $250.  The Physics and German teacher 
probably got the same---never forget the many "Aha!" moments in his 
class when the light came on after wrestling with a very complex 
problem.  I built a seventeen-foot kayak and two paddles in the Manual 
Arts Dept---as I recall that teacher got $200 a montth.  The very good 
English teacher was a woman and there was a glass ceiling then 
too---$175 a month.  I literally lived in a marvelously stocked library 
in the town of Beaver Dam from age seven to ten, reading three and one 
half books a day, so I could have gotten along without an English 
teacher entirely.

C.J. Krumm, the high school Principal got roughly double the top 
teacher's salary, about $500 a month.  There was then no such thing as 
an assistant.  No big deal, Wisconsin always paid decent wages to 
teachers---as early as 1906, John Francis Sims received $3000 as 
President of Stevens Point Normal school in sandspur and jackrabbit 
country---then probably the most impoverished part of the State---now 
highly prosperous dut to the influx of people from Illinois, and where 
my youngest boy has his business..

Compare these teacher wages to the wage of a well-paid factory worker in 
1938, $125 a month.

Wages alone are not a good indicator of purchasing power---the available 
databanks generally refer to a basket of goods, some of those that 
existed in 1938 have vanished, and others added, plus the fact that most 
merchandise has been upgraded by addition of all sorts of bells and 
whistles in the case of automobiles, with better bearings, tires and 
what used to be fifty or sixtty thousand miles between overhauls, is now 
three hundred thousand.

Here's some databanks, I know one of the links works (the most 
important), couldn't conjure up the others today.


    The Value of Money

    by Nell Ingalls, July/August 1998 Image of dollar being cut by scissors

    What better way to illustrate how much better things were in the 
"good old days" than to compare how much things cost then and now? One 
can calculate the relative purchasing power of money in different years. 
How realistically the resulting numbers reflect the relative standard of 
living or the quality of life is another question.

    For those situations where relative purchasing power can't be 
compared directly, sources exist that can give readers of history and 
historical fiction a good idea of the worth of amounts of currency and 
the cost of goods mentioned in their reading.

    Finally, here and in a companion article, we mention present-day 
comparative costs of living in different areas across the country and 
around the world.

    Why Figures Can Lie
    The Consumer Price Index
    Where to Find the Numbers
    Calculating Inflation
    Foreign Countries
    Actual Historical Prices
    Comparative Cost of Living

    Why Figures Can Lie
    Generally, the farther apart the years being compared, the less 
valid it is to use the relative prices of goods in those years to 
measure the standard of living. Many variables affect the price of 
goods: supply and demand, new technologies, and increases in workers' 
productivity, among others. John Steele Gordon explains the factors 
involved in an entertaining and enlightening article, "The Problem of 
Money and Time" (American Heritage, May/June 1989, pp. 57?65). And?ask 
anyone in the '90s!?many things besides money contribute to the quality 
of life.

    Goods and services themselves have changed, of course. Regardless of 
relative cost, would most people trade today's capacious, frost-free, 
ice-dispensing refrigerators for the ones their family had in the 1950s 
?which didn't have automatic defrosting and which never kept the ice 
cream quite frozen? Would most people in the '50s have traded in their 
comparatively modern refrigerators for the iceboxes of the '20s and 
'30s? And how about switching your Compaq for a Smith-Corona?

    Changes in the nature of most goods and services are less dramatic 
between years closer together. Still, some goods and services?especially 
those affected by developments in technology?can change radically in a 
short time. Think of how fast your computer equipment gets outdated!

    How far one could stretch a dollar is only half the equation. The 
other half? Income. The average industrial job paid $1,350 per year in 
1939.1 In 1997, even low-skilled factory jobs in the Chicago area paid 
more than that amount per month.2 For a truly accurate comparison, one 
would have to take income into account: How much time would one have to, 
or have had to, work to buy the same amount of goods and services in two 
different years? Those statistics are beyond the scope of this article.

    The Consumer Price Index
    Regardless of what it proves?or doesn't?you still want to calculate 
the worth of today's dollar for a year in the past, and vice versa. 
"Worth" in this context means relative purchasing power. Using 1862 as 
an example, the question can be phrased in three ways:

        * How much (how many goods and services) would an 1862 dollar 
buy today?
        * How much money would it take today to buy what $1 would have 
bought in 1862?
        * By what percentage has the cost of living risen since 1862?

    In other words, inflation.

    The most common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer 
Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures changes in prices (i.e., purchasing 
power) of goods and services over time by using a "market basket" of 
commonly purchased goods and services. Economists have been debating 
whether the CPI overstates inflation?especially lately, in discussing 
how to fund Social Security?because the CPI market basket does not allow 
for substitutions. In the real world, when a certain item becomes too 
expensive, consumers often substitute a less expensive one; the CPI does 
not take this behavior into account. (For a discussion of this issue and 
a more detailed explanation of what the Consumer Price Index does and 
does not do, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Indexes: 
Frequently Asked Questions.)

    The Consumer Price Index is expressed as an index number with a 
specified base period, which is assigned a value of 100. From time to 
time, the CPI is revised and the base period changes; the new period is 
then assigned the value of 100. When comparing the change in prices 
between two years, you must use the same base period for both years. To 
show the difference: the 1997 annual average CPI for all urban consumers 
(CPI-U), U.S. city average for all items, using the 1967 base is 480.8; 
using the 1982?84 base, it is 160.5.

    Where to Find the Numbers
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles the Consumer Price Index. It 
posts many tables for current and historical, national and regional 
versions of the CPI at Consumer Price Indexes. For the kind of 
broad-brush comparison to answer questions prompted by curiosity, the 
best table to use is the Table Containing History of CPI-U U.S. All 
Items Indexes and Annual Percent Changes from 1913 to Present. This 
gives monthly and annual index numbers from 1913 to present using the 
1982?84 base. It also shows the percent change (inflation) from December 
to December and also the percent change between the annual averages of 
adjacent years. Depending upon the reason for the request, one of the 
historical series for regions or metropolitan areas might be a better 
choice. Note: When looking for tables using the 1967 base on this Web 
site, choose "Old Series" from Most Requested Series.

    The Chicago office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, +1 (312) 353 
1880, can provide the same figures. Using a touch-tone phone, you can 
request documents from its Fax-on-Demand service, available around the 
clock. Request the 8-page catalog of documents by calling the same 
number. But you may need to look no farther than your own 
ready-reference shelf; the Statistical Abstract of the United States 
publishes several tables about consumer, producer, and international 
prices and inflation.

    For CPI numbers prior to those available on the Web or by fax, 
Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970 gives 
figures for the Consumer Price Index for the years 1800 to 1970, using 
the 1967 base. Remember, be sure to use the 1967 base for both years 
being compared.

    For even earlier years, see John J. McCusker's How Much Is That in 
Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money 
Values in the Economy of the United States. It "provides step-by-step 
instructions for [converting] past prices?even those expressed in 
colonial currency of pounds, shillings, and pence?to today's values." 
McCusker uses commodity price indexes rather than consumer price 
indexes, so the figures in his book cannot be used to calculate 
inflation as we describe below.

    Calculating Inflation
    Now that you know where to find the figures, you're ready to plug 
them into the formulas. Ladies and gentlemen, start your calculators!

    An 1862 Dollar Today
    How much would an 1862 dollar buy today? Using figures from the same 
base period, divide the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the earlier date 
by the CPI for the later date. In this case, we will use the base year 
1967 because that's what Historical Statistics of the United States 
uses. The CPI for 1862 was 30. Divide 30 by the annual average CPI for 
1997 using the same base period; this figure, according to the BLS, is 
480.8. This yields 0.06. So an 1862 dollar would have bought about 6 
cents' worth of goods in 1997.

    Today's Dollar in 1862
    Another way to phrase the question is, how much does one need today 
to buy what $1 would have bought in 1862? Again, using the same base 
period for both years being compared, divide the annual CPI for the 
latest year available by the CPI for the earlier year; 480.8 divided by 
30 equals 16.03. One would have needed $16.03 in 1997 to buy what $1 
would have bought in 1862.

    Finally, inflation can be expressed as a percentage, which is the 
way it usually appears in news reports.

480.8 - 30
----------  x  100  =  1503

480.8 minus 30 = 450.8, divided by 30 = 15.03, times 100 = 1503

    The cost of living in 1997 was 15.03 times the cost of living in 
1862, for an increase of 1,503 percent.

    Inflation Calculated for You
    Thankfully, we don't have to perform those calculations ourselves. 
Several Web sites can do it for us.

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has posted a Consumer Price 
Index, 1913- table, excerpted from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 
showing the annual average CPI and the rate of inflation for the years 
1913 to the present. Also at this site, the page What's a Dollar Worth? 
contains a calculator that will figure the amount of money the same $1 
of goods and services in year x would purchase, or would have purchased, 
in year y. According to this calculator, if in 1958 I bought goods or 
services for $1, in 1997 the same goods or services would have cost $5.55.

    Another site that uses the same BLS numbers and formula is the AIER 
(American Institute for Economic Research) Cost-of-Living Calculator.

    The Inflation Calculator uses the same Consumer Price Index numbers 
from BLS and Historical Statistics but makes them available back to 1800.

    Instead of the Consumer Price Index, the NASA Parametric Cost 
Estimating Reference Manual's Inflation Calculator uses the GDP (Gross 
Domestic Product) Deflator for the U.S. government's fiscal year, 
October 1 through September 30. According to this calculator, $1 worth 
of goods or services purchased in 1958 would have cost $4.99 in 1997.

    Remember, all of the above sites refer to increases or decreases in 
the cost of a mix of goods and services, not specific items.

    Foreign Countries
    The question becomes more complicated when trying to factor in 
foreign currency. The Consumer Price Index can be used only with U.S. 
dollars, so the tables and formulas based on those numbers will not 
serve to correlate, say, British money of Dickens's time to today's U.S. 

    Historical exchange rates3 translate one currency into another as 
one would convert inches to centimeters; like the metric and English 
systems of measurement, systems of currency express the same quantity in 
different terms. If a loaf of bread costs x in U.S. dollars today, one 
could convert that dollar amount into today's British currency, but the 
loaf of bread itself may cost more or less in Britain than it does in 
the U.S.?that's purchasing power. In fact, likely the cost of the same 
loaf of bread varies within each country according to location. (See our 
On the Web column, Comparative Living Costs, for Web sites to compare 
the cost of living across locations.) Not to mention that the same 
products may or may not be available to purchase in both places today, 
let alone 5 or 25 or 100 or 500 years ago.

    Purchasing Power of the Pound, a table from the UK in Figures (UK 
Government Statistical Service), translates the internal purchasing 
power of 100 pence between selected years from 1914 to date.

    What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, by Daniel Pool, 
contains a table and explanation (pp. 20?22) of the units of value and 
the physical currency used in 19th-century England, handy for readers of 
novels set in that time. While stating that the purchasing power of the 
currency of England from 1800 to 1859 and 1990s America are 
"fundamentally incommensurable," the book provides entertaining 
background about the daily lives of people from different walks of life.

    Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600?1775: A Handbook, by 
John J. McCusker, gives exchange rates (not the prices of goods) in 
pre-Revolutionary America, when each colony had its own currency. It 
includes the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. Short essays help 
interpret the tables.

    Chapter 6, "Money" (pp. 63?76), of Weights, Money and Other Measures 
Used by Our Ancestors, by Colin R. Chapman, "examines the various coins 
and monies of account used over the centuries, chiefly in England" up to 
and after decimalization. It includes a few tables of values of coins 
and representative prices, wages, and living costs.

    Actual Historical Prices
    Above, we talked about comparing the purchasing power of money today 
and in years past. However, the figures obtained from those calculations 
don't reflect the mix of goods and services actually purchased and their 
prices. When your patron, the budding novelist, wants to know how much 
certain items cost back in 19?, what can you do?

    Historical Statistics of the United States gives the retail prices 
of certain foods from 1890 to 1970 in Series E 187?202. Wholesale prices 
for selected commodities are given from 1800 to 1970 in Series E 123?134.

    The Statistical Abstract of the United States contains a section on 
prices. It contains tables of retail prices, covering food, housing and 
household furnishings, clothing, medical care, transportation, energy 
and utilities, entertainment, and educational expenses for recent years.

    The Most Requested Series at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Web 
site includes monthly Average Price Data for utility and energy and food 
products. Prices are available from 1980 forward with a few from the 
late 1970s.

    Check old almanacs. Before 1955, the Information Please Almanac 
published a table listing average retail prices of principal food items. 
After that year, it was replaced by a table showing minutes of work 
needed to pay for certain food items. In some years, the old Chicago 
Daily News Almanac and Year-Book (which SLS Reference Service owns) 
printed tables of food prices specific to Chicago as well as national 

    Search periodical indexes for citations to articles quoting prices 
of yesteryear. For patrons who are interested in reading more broadly 
about this aspect of economic history, search library catalogs using the 
Library of Congress subject heading COST AND STANDARD OF LIVING.

    Some libraries own facsimile editions of early Sears Roebuck and 
Montgomery Ward catalogs, which show retail prices for a wide variety of 
consumer and household goods. SLS Reference Service owns Sears catalogs 
in microform from 1888 through 1993 and Christmas catalogs from 1933 
through 1986, which we will lend. We also own copies of the original 
printed catalogs for many of those years. A 1938 catalog sells 
everything from over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to roofing shingles.

    Consider viewing microfilm of newspapers and magazines for the 
period in question. Advertisements will give an idea of the goods 
purchased then and their prices.

    The Value of a Dollar: Prices and Incomes in the United States 
1860?1989 may save you some digging. It compiles prices and descriptions 
of typical goods purchased, and also contains historical surveys setting 
the context of each period, wages for common jobs and the length of the 
average work week, and other statistics, such as values of certain 
investments and prices of foods commonly consumed. The sources from 
which the prices were compiled include magazines and newspapers, 
advertising trade cards, and some government reports. A table in the 
front gives the value of an 1860 dollar for every year through 1989, 
calculated using the composite commodity price index; this yields 
different results than do the formulas and tables using the Consumer 
Price Indexes described above.

    As the title suggests, The Value of a Pound: Prices and Incomes in 
Britain 1900?1913 contains statistics for prices, employment and 
earnings, and incomes, along with brief essays describing the economic 
conditions to put the numbers in context.

    In general, books and articles about life in times past may tell 
prices and wages, along with narrative about daily life to put the 
figures in perspective.

    Comparative Cost of Living
    Consumer price indexes measure changes in prices in a single 
geographic area, however large or small, and cannot be compared across 
areas. For Web sites with comparative cost-of-living data, see our On 
the Web column, Comparative Living Costs. Here are some printed sources. 
Remember to check publication dates and the age of the data, when 
possible, for both printed and electronic sources.

    ACCRA Cost of Living Index. This quarterly publication lists the 
prices for grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health 
care, and other basic goods and services for 329 urban areas. ACCRA 
calculates an index figure for direct comparisons. Data are submitted by 
volunteer organizations from each area, so many areas?unfortunately, the 
Chicago area currently among them?are not covered. The Statistical 
Abstract of the United States reprints the ACCRA composite and category 
indexes, at a lag of about a year and a half.

    "Managing Your Career," a special edition of the College Edition of 
the National Business Employment Weekly ("How Much Is a Paycheck Worth?" 
by Gabrielle Solomon, Fall 1995, p. 31) showed how to use the ACCRA Cost 
of Living Index to calculate an equivalent salary in another city, as 
some Internet sources do.

    Using the following formula and figures from the ACCRA Cost of 
Living Index for the first quarter of 1998, compare Jonesboro, Arkansas 
(City #1) to Juneau, Alaska (City #2).

City #1   Index # x starting salary
-------   -------------------------  =  $______
City #2           Index #

    How much salary would one have to earn in Jonesboro to have the same 
standard of living as on a salary of $30,000 in Juneau?

Jonesboro, AR   88.1 x $30,000
-------------   --------------  =  $19,709
Juneau, AK          134.1

    It would take only $19,709 to maintain the same standard of living 
in Jonesboro as a salary of $30,000 in Juneau. But going in the other 
direction, you'd need $45,664 to stretch as far in Juneau as $30,000 
does in Jonesboro.

Juneau, AK     134.1 x $30,000
-------------  ---------------  =  $45,664
Jonesboro, AR       88.1

    A different formula, given in the prefatory matter of the ACCRA Cost 
of Living Index, explains how to calculate the percentage increase in 
after-tax income needed to maintain the same lifestyle when moving to a 
more expensive city, or the percentage decrease one could sustain when 
moving to a less expensive city.

    American Cost of Living Survey. Arsen J. Darnay and Helen S. Fisher. 
Gale Research, 1994; 2d ed., 1995. "A compilation of reported prices for 
nearly 600 products and services in 443 (2d ed., 455) cities in the 
United States drawn from more than 70 sources, including federal and 
state statistical reports, city surveys, association databases, and the 
periodicals literature. Includes an ACCRA overall index number for 
direct comparisons.

    World Cost of Living Survey. Helen S. Fisher. Gale Research, 1997. 
Compiled from similar sources as the American Cost of Living Survey for 
645 locations around the world with as much uniformity as possible, 
given the nature of goods available. For direct comparisons, includes 
overall index numbers calculated by the U.S. Department of State (where 
available) to compare the cost of living in Washington, D.C., with a 
foreign post. Note: This index cannot be used to compare the cost of 
living between foreign posts or in a foreign post over time.

    U.S. Department of State Indexes of Living Costs Abroad, Quarters 
Allowances, and Hardship Differentials. The U.S. Government publishes 
these indexes quarterly "to compute cost-of-living allowances for 
employees at posts where living costs, based on an American pattern of 
living, are significantly higher than the Washington, D.C., area." A 
separate index is calculated for private citizens living abroad, which 
does not include special advantages available only to U.S. Government 
employees. Note: This index cannot be used to compare the cost of living 
between foreign posts or in a foreign post over time.

    Prices and Earnings Around the Globe. Union Bank of Switzerland. 
Compares prices and wages for major cities of the world using actual 
figures and index numbers. Includes tables of working hours and incomes 
for common jobs in construction, industrial, service, and professional 

    Nell Ingalls is a Research Librarian at the Suburban Library System 
Reference Service.


    1 The Value of a Dollar: Prices and Incomes in the United States 
1860?1989. Gale, c1994.

    2 Crain's Chicago Business 1998 Top Business Lists, vol. 20, no. 52.

    3 For sources of historical foreign exchange rates, see "Pounds to 
Dollars," by Glenn Kersten, Points of Reference no. 153 (July 1991), pp. 
6?7. Foreign exchange rates also appear in the Dictionary of Statistics 
by Michael G. Mulhall (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1899, 
reprinted by Gale) and the New Dictionary of Statistics by Augustus Webb 
(London: George Routledge and Sons, 1911, reprinted by Gale, 1974).

    ACCRA Cost of Living Index. Alexandria, Virginia: ACCRA, 1967?.

    American Cost of Living Survey. Arsen J. Darnay and Helen S. Fisher. 
Gale Research, 1994; 2d ed., 1995.

    American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) Cost-of-Living 

    Chapman, Colin R. Weights, Money and Other Measures Used by Our 
Ancestors. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996, c1995. Originally 
published in England under a different title.

    Current Value of Old Money
    A bibliography of printed and online sources for comparing the 
prices of goods and services over time.

    Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
    Consumer Price Index, 1913-
    What Is a Dollar Worth?

    Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970. 
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1975.

    The Inflation Calculator (Great Neck Township, Long Island, New York)

    McCusker, John J. How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price 
Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United 
States. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1992.

    McCusker, John J. Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 
1600?1775: A Handbook. Published for the Institute of Early American 
History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, c1978.

    Parametric Cost Estimating Reference Manual's Inflation Calculator 

    Pool, Daniel.What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. Simon & 
Schuster, 1993.

    Prices and Earnings Around the Globe. Union Bank of Switzerland. 
Most recent edition is 1997. Phone its Public Relations office in New 
York, +1 (212) 821 3000, to request a free copy.

    Purchasing Power of the Pound

    Statistical Abstract of the United States. U.S. Department of 
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, annual.

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Most Requested Series
    Consumer Price Indexes
    Consumer Price Indexes: Frequently Asked Questions

    U.S. Department of State Indexes of Living Costs Abroad, Quarters 
Allowances, and Hardship Differentials. Department of State Publication 
10197, Bureau of Administration, Office of Allowances. Published 
quarterly in January, April, July, and October.

    The Value of a Dollar: Prices and Incomes in the United States 
1860?1989. Gale, c1994.

    The Value of a Pound: Prices and Incomes in Britain 1900?1913. Gale 
Research International, c1995.

    World Cost of Living Survey. Helen S. Fisher. Gale Research, 1997.

    Nell Ingalls is a Research Librarian at the Suburban Library System 
Reference Service.



Jolene Carlson
carlsonj at sls.lib.il.us

Reviewed: October 06, 2003 .

Copyright: 1997-2004
Suburban Library System




http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/publications/business_stats/page/1563  (wages)



>>In my case, the quality of education depended upon the quality of the
>>teacher, all the way from first grade through college, and particularly
>>in high school, on the quality of the high school principal, who had
>>free rein in choosing an outstanding staff of teachers.  He was
>>certainly aided by the fact that teachers were relatively much higher
>>paid than today---attracting the best as in any other business other
>>than education.  In the 1930's, administrators did not blot up the
>>majority of education funds to defund teachers---Depression Era taxes
>>had to be focussed on essentials---real essentials.  All books were
>>provided by the school, not as an expense loaded upon parents as today,
>>and recognizing that food is essential for mental acuity, as well as the
>>fact that some students might only get one meager meal a day, all
>>students in Wisconsin got morning milk and some kind of solid food, and
>>because of the mineral deficiency in Wisconsin soil, iodine tablets.

(calculating purchasing value of a dollar---mix of goods, not individual 


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