1940s magazine

Let’s talk about inflation.

It’s tax day. What better time to think about money and the economy, right? Probably depends on whether you filed early or you’re rushing off to the post office today; I’ll bet it’s also a delicate subject if you discovered you owed Uncle Sam more than expected. Anyway, some interesting data on household budgets:

From the booklet "Establishing a Home" published by the New York Herald Tribune. Copyright 1940.

From the booklet “Establishing a Home” published by the New York Herald Tribune. Copyright 1940.

This chart fascinates me. It shows the percentage of a two-person family’s annual income spent across a variety of categories in 1935-1936. I love that both reading and tobacco made the list. Reading DEFINITELY makes the list in my book!

Ironically, my commuting costs, car payment and insurance premiums cost 6.7% of my annual income–it’s not entirely unreasonable to think that even though this guide was published in 1940, some of the other percentages still hold true as well. Taxes and medical expenses, probably not, but I’m curious about some of the others.

I can’t even imagine trying to live on $1500 a YEAR. For TWO PEOPLE. Not in the United States, anyway.

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The Homemaker, a women's magazine from the 1940s

The Homemaker: Spring 1946

The Homemaker, a women's magazine from the 1940s

Cover of the spring 1946 issue of The Homemaker

While cleaning her attic, my  mother found a small collection of magazines from the 1940s. My favorite is called The Homemaker, which was published by the Institute for Better CookingThe name of the publisher fills me with glee. Who doesn’t appreciate  better cooking? Periodocally, I’ll explore different issues and share tips from some of the magazine’s articles here.  

Spring 1946 featured articles like “The Plastics Picture: What do you know about plastics?”, “Sidelights on A Suit,” “Borrow or Buy: Informative and interesting books for the intelligent homemaker,” and “Today’s Slump, Tomorrow’s Hump,” a piece on the importance of good posture. Fascinating stuff.

I love the cover: despite the spring flowers and lush lawn in the background, the cover model sports a black dress. I imagine she’s preparing to host a swanky dinner paty that evening. Her hair and makeup look appropriate, and I love the formal touch of the ribbon around her neck.

The illustrated article “Coiffure Analysis” offers insight into your personality based on your hair style. I’m a sucker for these types of things–surveys and quizzes lure me in. So what does your signature hairstyles say about you? Are you pink roses and pastel chiffon or fine tweeds and good leather? Read the article to find out.

Coiffure analysis

Coiffure Analysis from the Spring 1946 issue of The Homemaker.