Monday, March 7, 2011

Life this Week: March 7, 1938

It's time for Life this Week!  In this edition, I'll explore the March 7, 1938 issue of Life magazine, available online at Google Books.

This issue contains an interesting profile on Neville Chamberlain and Anthony Eden, along with the rest of the British cabinet ministers.  What's to be done about Germany and Italy?

Seems some Americans have always had trouble understanding what makes someone a Nazi: American fascists in New Jersey "hail George Washington as first fascist."

"Beautiful" Paul McNutt, the "Adonis of the Wabash," was campaigning for the 1940 Democratic nomination in 1938.  Life reports, political campaigns were seldom "launched with such fanfare so far in advance."

On a much lighter note, Life traveled to Palm Beach with "New York's prettiest models" for fashion and frolicking.

Claudette Colbert: "...I'm convinced my throat is safest with Luckies."

Movie of the Week: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Norman Taurog, 1938)

I didn't really want to watch this movie at first, but I quickly warmed up to it.  It's a charming adaptation of Mark Twain's novel.  The humor is done really well and I can't understand why it's not on DVD!  You can watch it on YouTube, however:

Look at what you could get for $30 in 1938!  This is from the Spring 1938 Sears and Roebuck catalog at

O.K.--I have to admit it's been "one of those months" so far.  More recipes coming soon, I promise!


  1. Safest with Luckies - a little scary. Love what $30 will buy, even if she does look a little standoffish!

  2. There are so many great movies not on DVD. That's why I support the Warner Archive (among others). I actually got a chance to talk to a guy that is friends with the head of the archive and he gave me a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Maybe I can call him again and get an interview for my blog. :)

  3. Another great review of This Week in Life. I have two questions: (1) I notice that the word popular seems to come up a lot in advertising in this time. When did "popular" become such an important thing? I also notice that "popular" seems to have disappeared from advertising after the sixties. I guess it is just implied now . . . (2) I was watching The King's Speech and didn't understand the reason that Baldwin gave for resigning. Wikipedia doesn't explain it either. Do you know?

  4. Granted, the 1930s are a bit past the era in British history I studied (17th century), but my understanding is that when a prime minister has either failed in his policies or is in total disagreement with the monarch, he is expected to resign. I think the abdication crisis is difficult, because so much of it centered around personal honor and questions of what was acceptable behavior at the time.

    Prime Ministers are never elected (they are simply the head of the party in power), so they don't have set terms and they aren't expected (or weren't expected) to stay and fight if their views went against those of the monarch or those of the rest of their party.

    That's my understanding of the situation, but if anyone has other ideas, please chime in.

  5. So Baldwin resigned and Chamberlain took over because of the abdication crisis, not because of his position about war and Hitler?

  6. I don't know--Baldwin's views on both the abdication crisis and fascism were different than those of the king. I'm sure it was probably a little of both. I just understand that Baldwin stepped down because he felt it was the honorable thing to do. If you're really interested, I found a bibliography of Stanley Baldwin biographies:

    I haven't formally studied British history outside of the Tudors, Stuarts or Hanoverians (15th - 18th centuries), so I'd be better equipped to answer questions about George Villiers, Anthony Ashley Cooper or Denzil Holles--I studied politics and foreign relations during the reign of Charles II and James II.

  7. I just dug out a coat lately from my estate sale stash that has fur lapels about the size of those in your ad...the tailoring is very boxy, and of course, with HUGE fur pieces in the front, it definitely makes a statement when you enter a room. But how nice to know an approximate date. Do you know if there's a name for that cut?

  8. Lisa- I've seen coats that are mid-calf in length and made like a men's frock coat referred to as "three-quarter coats." I'm no expert, though. Maybe one of the vintage fashionistas who read my blog could help us out?

  9. What a veautiful suit - and for a mere $30! They don't make them like that anymore - and certainly not at those prices!

  10. wow $30! that's so crazy! i love the picture! great blog! xo

  11. Thanks, Lauren. The Baldwin resignation scene from the King's Speech was bothering me and it was really baffling that I couldn't find an explanation anywhere.

    But, I just found an article that explains that the resignation scene misstates Baldwin's reason for resigning (in the movie Baldwin says he is resigning because he was wrong about Hitler).

    The scene doesn't match up to anything on Wiki because it was fabricated for dramatic purposes and is completely historically inaccurate. (

  12. Laura- Good to know! Sorry I wasn't more informative! I'm glad you found the answer, though.


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