What a Difference a Century Makes:  1924
US Population: 114,109,000 

By:  M. Callahan

President Coolidge with his Mother, Mrs. Jones in the White House Garden 

President: Calvin Coolidge
Vice President:  Charles G. Dawes
Virginia Governor:  Elbert Lee Trinkle
Chief Justice Supreme Court:  William Howard Taft
Speaker of the House:  Frederick H. Gillett (R-Massachusetts) 
Senate Majority Leader:  Charles Curtis (R-Kansas)
VA Senators: Claude A. Swanson & Carter Glass
BORN:  Marlon Brando, Tom Landry, Gloria Vanderbilt, James Baldwin, George H.W. Bush, Robert Mugabe, Henry Mancini
DIED: Woodrow Wilson,  Henry Bacon, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Louis Sullivan


  • Mahatma Gandhi is released from jail early because of ill health. He served less than two years of a six year sentence. Gandhi decides to write about improvements for India instead of taking part in political action. 

  • In Munich, the trial against Hitler for treason in the Beer Hall Putsch begins. He is found guilty, sentenced to 5 years of hard labor but only serves 9 months. During his imprisonment, he writes Mein Kampf (My Struggle). It was part political treatise and part autobiography. The book lays out Hitler’s his ever increasing antisemitic and militaristic views. 

  • An immigration law is signed by Pres. Calvin Coolidge restricting immigration to the U.S. Part of the law is the Asian Exclusion Act which banned the entry of Asians to the US from a variety of countries.  

  • The Indian Citizenship Act was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge declaring all Native Americans to be U.S. citizens. 

  • J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the FBI. 

  • The Statue of Liberty is declared a National Monument

  • Nellie Tayloe Ross is elected as the first U.S. female governor (Wyoming) much to the surprise of her male colleagues.

  • Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy students from the University of Chicago, kidnapped and killed 14 year old Bobby Franks to demonstrate their supposed intellectual superiority by committing a “perfect crime” without consequences. They were each sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 99 years for kidnapping.  The trial of Leopold and Loeb at Chicago's Cook County Criminal Court became a media spectacle and the third – after those of Harry Thaw and Sacco and Vanzetti – to be labeled "the trial of the century." The Leopold and Loeb families hired the renowned criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow to lead the defense team. Darrow took the case because he was a staunch opponent of capital punishment. Both Leopold and Loeb were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, and an additional 99 years for the kidnapping.  They were sent to Northern Illinois Penitentiary near Joliet. In January 1936, Loeb was razor-slashed and killed by a fellow inmate, toward whom Loeb allegedly had made sadistic homosexual advances.

  • Coal Mining, a dangerous occupation, suffers two horrendous accidents. A coal mine explosion occurs Near Castle Gate, Utah, killing all 171 miners. The explosion was so powerful that the steel gates of the mine were ripped from their concrete foundations.  19 people die in another coal mine disaster in Benwood, West Virginia. The majority of miners killed were recent immigrants from Europe. 

  • The caliphate, which had ruled the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years was abolished by the Turkish National Assembly bringing the Ottoman Empire to an end. All authority of rule and property of the caliphate were transferred to Turkey’s National Grand Assembly.  
  • Germany’s Reichstag approves the Dawes Plan, named for then US Vice-President Charles Dawes who shared the Nobel Peace Prize the next year. The Dawes Plan called for France to end its occupation of Germany’s Ruhr regions and established a war reparation plan for Germany.  Many in France believed this plan was too lenient on Germany.  Others believed this plan was largely responsible for the rise of the Nazi Party as Germany could not afford the repayment.

  • Two U.S. Army planes complete an around-the-world flight, from Seattle to Seattle with 57 stops. 

  • Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie begin their first joint venture, later merging into Mercedes Benz. 

  • Putsch in Munich begins. 

  • The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Corp becomes IBM.

  • The first crossword puzzle is published by Simon & Schuster.

  • The Little Orphan Annie comic strip by Harold Gray is first published in the New York Daily News.

  • The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in New York City. 

  • The first photo facsimile is transmitted across the Atlantic by radio from London to New York City. 

  • The first diesel electric locomotive enters service in the Bronx, New York City. 

  • The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England. This model cost between $3 and 10K in 1924 depending on the accessories. Today it is valued at $610,775.

  • George Mallory disappears just short of reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

  • St Petersburg, Russia is renamed Leningrad.

  • Millions mourn and pay tribute at the mausoleum of Lenin in Red Square, Moscow.

Australia:  Prime Minister Billy Hughes until February 9th, then Stanley Bruce
Brazil:  President Arthur Bernardes
Canada:  Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
Egypt:  Sultan Faud I
France:  Gaston Doumerque  
Germany:  Chancellor Wilhelm Marx
Italy:  Prime Minister Benito Mussolini
Japan:  Prime Minister Kato Takaaki Kenseikai under a coalition government
Mexico:  President Plutarco Elias Calles
Russia / Soviet Union:   Joseph Stalin
South Africa:  Gov. Gen, Rt Hon. The Earl of Athlone
United States:  President Calvin Coolidge

Sen. George Pepper (PA) playing Baseball with Congressional Pages.

Sen. George Pepper (PA) playing Baseball with Congressional Pages.

 1924 Washington
Population DC:   1,467,000 

Francis Scott Key lived in this House located at what is now the foot of Key Bridge.

Francis Scott Key lived in this House located at what is now the foot of Key Bridge.

March 29,1924 C&O Canal ceases to operate after yet another flood causes excessive damage. Owned by the B&O Railroad, they kept title to the property until 1938 when the 185 mile canal was sold to the US Park Service for $2,000,000.

The Key Bridge replaced the Aqueduct Bridge built in 1830 to carry the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal across the Potomac to connect with the Alexandria Canal on the Virginia shore. The bridge was converted into a roadway during the American Civil War.  In 1866, the canal was restored and a new wooden roadway built over it atop trestles. The bridge was demolished down to its stone piers in 1884.  A second Aqueduct bridge, erected on the old piers, opened in 1889. Within a dozen years, proposals were being made to replace it. On June 1, 1916, the Army Corps of Engineers named the new bridge "Francis Scott Key Bridge," in honor of the man who had written the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner and whose home was just a few blocks from the bridge's abutment. The federal government turned title to the new bridge over to the District of Columbia on November 15, 1924. The Washington and Old Dominion Railway, which had operated streetcars across the Aqueduct Bridge, declined to operate on the new bridge. (1)

The Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 was a US state law in Virginia for the sterilization of institutionalized persons "afflicted with hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness or epilepsy”.  It greatly influenced the development of eugenics  in the twentieth century. The act was based on model legislation written by Harry H. Laughin  and challenged by a case that led to the United States Supreme Court decision of Buck v. Bell. The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional and it became a model law for sterilization laws in other states. Justice Holmes wrote that a patient may be sterilized on complying with the very careful provisions by which the act protects the patients from possible abuse. Between 1924 and 1979, Virginia sterilized over 7,000 individuals under the act. The act was never declared unconstitutional. However, in 2001, the Virginia General Assembly passed a joint resolution apologizing for the misuse of "a respectable "scientific' veneer to cover activities of those who held blatantly racist views. (2)

By 1924, 15 states had enacted similar legislation; however, unlike Virginia, many or most or all of those states failed to rigidly enforce their laws requiring specific qualities in all persons seeking to marry.  Forced sterilization, however, was much more common. (3) 

In 1924, the Virginia General Assembly enacted the Racial Integrity Act. The act reinforced racial segregation by prohibiting interracial marriage and classifying as "white" a person "who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than "Caucasian". The act, an outgrowth of eugenicist and scientific racist propaganda, was pushed by Walter Plecker, a white supremacist and eugenicist who held the post of registrar of Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics. (3)

The Racial Integrity Act required that all birth certificates and marriage certificates in Virginia to include the person's race as either "white" or "colored"  The Act classified all non-whites.  including Native Americans, as "colored". The act was part of a series of "racial integrity laws" enacted in Virginia to reinforce racial and prohibit the mixing of races; other statutes included the Public Assemblages Act of 1926 (which required the racial segregation of all public meeting areas) and a 1930 act that defined any person with even a trace of sub-Saharan African ancestry as black, thus codifying the so-called one-drop rule. (4)  Not until 1967 did both the Racial Integrity Act and the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 were officially overturned by the United States Supreme Court in their ruling Loving v. Virginia 

The 1924 World Series was the championship series of the 1924 Major League Baseball Season. A best-of-seven playoff, the series was played between the American League (AL) pennant winner Washington Senators and the National League (NL) pennant winner New York Giants. The Senators defeated the Giants in seven games to win their first championship in club history. The Giants became the first team to play in four consecutive World Series, winning in 1921–1922 and losing in 1923–1924. Their long-time manager, John McGraw,  made his ninth and final World Series appearance in 1924. The contest concluded with the second World Series-deciding game which ran to extra innings.

In Game 7, with the Senators behind 3–1 in the eighth,Bucky Harris hit a routine ground ball to third which hit a pebble and took a bad hop over Giants third baseman Freddie Lindstrom.  Two runners scored on the play, tying the score at three. Walter Johnson then came in to pitch the ninth, and held the Giants scoreless into extra innings. With the score still 3–3, Washington came up in the 12th. With one out, and runners on first and second, Earl McNeely  hit another grounder at Lindstrom, and again the ball took a bad hop, scoring Muddy Ruel with the Series-winning run.

In the bottom of the 12th inning, Giants catcher Hank Gowdy stepped on his own discarded mask while trying to catch a Muddy Ruel foul pop-up, and dropped the ball for an error. Given a second chance at-bat, Ruel doubled. Johnson reached first on another error, and with Ruel on second and Johnson on first, Earl McNeely hit a "bad hop" ground ball to Lindstrom that was almost identical to Harris' eighth inning hit. Lindstrom again failed to catch the ball as it bounced over him into left field, and Ruel scored the series-winning run.

1924 Trends 

  • Playing the game mah-jongg was the craze.
  • All things Chinese became the rage in fashion, art, and décor.
  • Because so many more Americans owned cars, auto travel to the country, especially to  Health Spas became a trend especially those with Healing Hot Springs

    Most Popular Songs

  • George Gershwin, Rapsody in Blue
  • Ishan Jones, It Had to be You
  • Al Jolson, California, Here I Come
  • Arthur Gills + his Gang, Charleston
  • Ernest Hall + Billy Jonas, Hinky Dinky Parley Voo
  • Clarence Williams, T’aint No Business if I Do.

Popular Books

  • A Passage to India, EM Forster
  • The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann
  • Poirot Investigates, Agatha Christie
  • When We were Very Young, AA Milne
  • Billy Budd—Herman Melville
  • A Hunger Artist, Franz Kafka
  • The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell

Popular Movies

  • Greed, ZaSu Piyts
  • The Sea Hawk, Douglas Fairbanks
  • The Last Laugh, Emil Jennings
  • The Iron Horse, George O’Brien
  • Sherlock, JR, Buster Keaton
  • 1924 Names and Inventions
  • Top Ten Girl Names of 1924: Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Betty, Margaret, Ruth, Virginia, Mildred
  • Top Ten Boy Names of 1924: Robert, John, William, James, Charles, George, Joseph, Richard, Edward, Donald
  • McDonald’s introduces the Cheeseburger.
  • Chester Rice and Edward Kellogg, invented the modern loudspeaker system.
  • Johnson & Johnson produced Band-Aids on a massive scale and made Earle Dickson the Vice-President of the company. 
  • Frosted incandescent light bulbs are invented by Pipkin.
  • Bromine from seawater discovered by Edgar Kramer.
  • Disposable paper tissues made by Kleenex will replace cotton handkerchiefs as far more hygienic, but not for decades.  In the mean time, they are available and growing in popularity.
  • Astronomer Edwin Hubble publishes that Andromeda is actually another galaxy, and that the Milky Way is only one of many such galaxies in the universe.
  • John Logie Baird (Scotland) sends rudimentary television pictures over a short distance.
  • Václav Holek designs the ZB vz. 26 light machine gun for Zbrojovka Brno.
  • The earth inductor compass is developed by Morris Titterington at the Pioneer Instrument Company in Brooklyn, New York.


    World Series: Washington Senators defeated the NY Giants in seven games to win their first championship in club history. The Giants became the first team to play in four consecutive World Series, winning in 1921–1922 and losing in 1923–1924.   

    Stanley Cup:  Montreal Canadians over the Calgary Tigers 2-0
    World Heavyweight Boxing:  Jack Dempsey
    USPGA Championship:  Walter Hagen
    British Open: Walter Hagen
    US Open:  Cyril Walker

    Horseracing-Triple Crown: 
    Kentucky Derby – Black Gold
    Preakness Stakes - Nellie Morse

    Belmont Stakes -  Mad Play
    Grand National:Master Robert
    Wimbledon Men’s Singles:  Jean Borotra (France)
    Wimbledon Women’s Singles: Kitty Godfree (Great Britain)
    US National Tennis Championship:  Bill Tilden and Helen Wills  Moody
    Rose Bowl:  Navy Midshipmen v Washington Huskies 14-14 tie



    Peace:Not awarded
    Literature: The Peasants" by Wladyslaw Stanislaw  
    PhysicsKarl Manne Georg Siegbahn for his discoveries and research in the field of X-ray
    Medicine:  Dutchman Willem Einthoven “for his discovery of the mechanism of the electrocardiogram”.
    Pulitzer Drama: Hell-Bent for Heaven by Hatcher Hughes.
    "The Able McLaughlins" by Margaret Wilson  
    Pulitzer Biography: “From Immigrant to Inventor" by Michael I. Pupi and Letters of Walter H. Page. 
    Pulitzer History: "The American Revolution—A Constitutional Interpretation" by Charles Howard Mcllwai
    Pulitzer Journalism Reporting: Magner White, San Diego Sun, for his story of the eclipse of the sun.  
    Editorial Writing:  Frank Buxton of the Boston Herald, for an editorial entitled "Who Made Coolidge?" 
    Pulitzer Poetry: New Hampshire:  A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes by Robert Frost.


    Housing, fuel  and miscellaneous items have remained stable while food, clothing, and furniture have declined in price. Only small fluctuations are seen between 1923 and 1929.  Unemployment rate drops to 7.9%.  Most laborers worked five days a week for eight hours and a half day on Saturday and earned $49.50 a week.

    Consumer Price Index:   17.1%
    Unemployment: 12.0%

    Ave Net Income: $3,481.00
    Hudson Super Six Coach: $1,500.00
    Essex Six Coach:  $975.00
    Morristown, 2 family, 2 car garage:  $7,500.00
    Cedar Knolls, 6 rooms:  $2,400.00

    Men's Clothing

    Men's coat, Hart, Schaffner & Marks, 35.00-75.00
    Men's suits, 4 piece, 24.00-28.50
    Men's shirts, Oxford, 1.59

    Women's Clothing
    Women's skirt, 4.95-10.95
    Women's dress, silk, 15.00
    Housedress, .95
    Women's dress shoes, 4.85-7.85/pair
    Women's coats, Twill, 16.94-23.94

    Children Clothing
    Boy's suits, 4.95-12.00
    Girl's dress, .59-1/00
    Tots's bloomer dresses, .95

    Bacon, Swifts Scheid, .35/lb
    Beef, roast, .33/lb; chopped, .22/lb
    Butter, Brookfield, .40/lb
    Chocolates, Cloverland, .45/lb
    Chicken, frying, .39/lb
    Cocoa, Hooton's, .13/half pound can
    Coffee, Rex Blend, .41/lb
    Cranberry sauce, .24/no.2 can
    Duck, Long Island, .29/lb
    Eggs, .32/dozen
    Fish, cod steak, fresh .18/lb
    Ham, Swift's Premium, .25/lb
    Ketchup, Sundale, .19/large bottle
    Lemons, .25/dozen
    Lettuce, head, .15/lb
    Onions, .05/bunch
    Oranges, .25/13
    Peaches, Del Monte, sliced, .15
    Pineapples, Regina, .29 large can
    Potatoes, .89/half bushel
    Soda, Cliquot Ginger Ale, .25 for 2
    Spaghetti, Franco American, .10/can
    Tea, Orange Pekoe, .29/quarter pound

    Household and Personal Products

    Baby crib and mattress, 15.25/set
    Bed, metal, 16.50-30.00/each
    Lamps, table, vase pottery, 10.75/each
    Rug, Linoleum, 9X12, 12.98/each
    Rug, Persian, Serappi, 8X11, 295.00
    Lawn mower, 8.05/each
    Carpet sweeper, 2.79-3.50/each
    Cleanser, Old Dutch, .07/container
    Curtains, 1.00-2.00/pair
    Clothes washer, 77.50/each
    Dishes, dinner plates, .10/each
    Disinfectant, Lysol, .69/pint
    Laundry soap, Borax, .13/lb
    Paint, Benjamin Moore, 2.49/gallon
    Range, Public Service Gas, 97.00
    Sheets, 1.24/each
    Toilet bowl cleaner, Saniflush, .19/can
    Aspirin, Bayer's, .79/100 count bottle
    Bell-Ans, indigestion pills, .50pkg.
    Face cream, White Youth Clay, .50jar
    Hot water bottle, rubber, .79/each
    Milk of Magnesia, .25/pint
    Razor blades, Gillette, .50/dozen
    Talcum powder, .15/lb
    Toilet paper, 2.25/12 rolls

(1) Wikipedia
(2) Lutz Kaelber. "Eugenics: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States". University of Vermont.

(3) Laughlin, Chapter XV and Bernhard Schreiber, THE MEN BEHIND HITLER: A German warning to the world, Trans. by H. R. Martindale,"
(4) Brendan Wolfe, Racial Integrity Laws (1924–1930), Encyclopedia Virginia .

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The Human Fly John Reynolds on roof of
Times Herald Building in Washington, DC 1924

A marble championship between Senator and Pages Senator Ralston leading off Senators Magnus Johnson and Overman and Fess waiting their turn

George Mallory (photo taken in 1915)

Mahatma Ghandi

Mahatma Ghandi


Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb

	Funeral Mass for Castle Gate Greek miners

Funeral Mass for Castle Gate Greek Miners


Calvin Coolidge with Native American group at White House Washington, D.C.


 	  President Coolidge stands with four Osage Indians at a White House ceremony.

Pres. Coolidge stands with four Osage Native Americans at the White House Ceremony.

Sen. Robert M. LaFolletteSen. Robert M. LaFollette (R- Wisconsin)
He initiated the investigation into the Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s and ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1924.


Three Models from Washington_s Spring Fashion Show at the Tidal BasinThree Models from Washington's Spring Fashion Show at the Arlington Beach near the Tidal Basin


Stanley Harris gives Calvin Coolidge the baseball that opened the1924 World Series.

Likely Giants pitcher Art Nehf sliding in safely at home during game one of the 1924 World Series

Likely Giants pitcher Art Nehf sliding in safely at home during game one of the 1924 World Series

Bucky Harris Home Run 4th inning of 7th game of World Series 10 10 2
Bucky Harris Home Run 4th inning of 7th game of World Series held on 10 10 24

US Capitol east fron 192US Capitol East Front 1924

 Tige the White House cat and pet of Mrs. Coolidge has been returned

Tige the White House cat and pet of Mrs. Coolidge
has been returned

 Nine justices of the United States Supreme Court posed standing outdoors with William Howard Taft on eve of opening session of the cour

Nine justices of the United States Supreme Court posed standing outdoors with William Howard Taft on eve of opening session of the court.


Pictures are from Wikipedia and the Library of Congress, the National Archive, Private Collections, Library of Virginia, 

Reproduction of this story and photographs, in part or in whole, requires the written permission of the author.  Copyright © 2011 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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