Picture of the Day: October 29 | HistoryNet MENU

Picture of the Day: October 29

6/12/2006 • Picture of the Day


The prosperous Jazz Age came to a close and the Great Depression began when the stock market crashed in October 1929. In the late 1920s, the American economy had never looked better, but the danger signs were there. More products were being produced than could be purchased. In addition, more and more people played the ever-soaring stock market, borrowing on their borrowings to buy nothing but paper profits. By September 1929 the inevitable market corrections began and stock prices fluctuated for a month. On October 24 stock values collapsed and 13 million shares changed hands as small investors frantically tried to sell off their holdings. Thousands of confused investors and brokers were ruined and banks, which had also invested heavily in the market, failed when they could not produce enough cash on demand for angry depositors. ‘Black Tuesday,’ October 29, was the worst day of all as panicked survivors dumped 16 million shares on the market. This photograph, taken that day, shows mounted police trying to maintain order as a nervous crowd gathers on Wall Street. Clerical workers stayed up all night to find that $30 billion in paper value had been wiped out in one day. Stocks continued to slide until 1932, but the fear caused by the crash made Americans unwilling to buy or invest and the economy slowly worsened into the Great Depression.

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