Interwar Leisure and Recreation

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The decades between the two world wars were arguably the most important years for leisure and recreation in the history of the United States. Public recreation facilities, parks, playgrounds, and community centers expanded at unprecedented rates. National park and recreation organizations flourished. Amusements and commercial recreation grew as never before. Fads and fashions, once the dalliances of the rich, swept the nation. Technology improved; radio and the movies came into their own. The automobile opened new vistas to a newly mobile public.

Debate Over Increased Leisure

But more importantly, the 1920s and 1930s saw the culmination of the century-long work-reduction movement as labor turned to the five-day week and then the six-hour day, the next steps in its campaign for the "progressive shortening of the hours of labor." Not only had working hours been continually getting shorter for 100 years, the process seemed to be accelerating. Working hours were getting shorter faster, as evidenced by the 16 percent reduction of working hours that had occurred during the two decades before the end of World War I. Labor's new initiatives presaged reductions that were to be even more rapid. Leisure and recreation became public and political issues, discussed and debated as never before, or since.

As the 1920s began, few expected that the trend would end. On the contrary, hundreds of books and articles were written predicting that work would soon become a subordinate part of life, and rightly so. For example, speaking before the Young Men's Hebrew Association in New York, Julian Huxley called the two-day workweek "inevitable" for the simple reason that "the human being can consume so much and no more. . . ." John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, prominent business leaders, and even historians predicted the dawning of a new age of leisure.

A leisure movement and vision had gained prominence. Increasing productivity made it inevitable that more and more people would eventually get "enough" simply because human needs that could be expressed in the marketplace were finite. As more efficient work led to the increased satisfaction of economic "necessity," the economy would begin to stabilize (or "mature"). An age of "abundance" was at hand. Having "enough," humans would be able to progress beyond work and the marketplace, spending more of their lives "outside" in those regions of human existence that were "free" and worthwhile in and for themselves. Beginning with the family and moving outward toward community and the state, people would gain increasing access to political participation, cultural expression, and creation. Advancing even further beyond the confines of utility, the average individual might even approach the realms of mind and spirit previously reserved mainly for the elite, directly experiencing nature, history, art, literature, and the life of the mind—enjoying those "given" parts of humanity that were, in their essence, free. This did not seem to be so much a distant dream as an emerging reality in the 1920s, a reality made manifest through the advent of shorter working hours.

However, such great expectations were not greeted with universal enthusiasm. Businesspeople, academics, and social critics were worried that ordinary humans would be corrupted by too much time on their hands. Some, such as Keynes, were simply concerned that leisure would become a problem, challenging humans to live up to their freedom. Many more feared that mass leisure would lead to social chaos. American industrialists and managers identified shorter hours with union "radicalism," predicting the spread of communist revolutions to American shores if the eight-hour day or five-day week became a reality.

At the start of the 1920s, most businesspeople, industrialists, and their supporters were more concerned with their immediate future than with the effect of leisure on the human condition. The decade began with a postwar depression that appeared to be different from previous economic downturns. Observers speculated that it was distinctive because too much rather than too little was being produced.

Businesspeople and journalists feared that the then current overproduction was more than a temporary economic dislocation. Perhaps overproduction was now a signal that industrial production was exceeding what people wanted to buy and were willing to give up their lives to work for. What John Stuart Mill and other economists had predicted seemed to be about to come true. Once humans got enough, they would naturally turn from work to spend time in the freer parts of their lives. Business-people and their supporters recognized "abundance" as a threat, a threat embodied by steadily increasing leisure.

The "threat of leisure" was clear. As people turned from work to pursue happiness in "higher," better, and freer activities, the business of America would cease to be business. The economy and work would take secondary places in American society, assuming the role of servants to a new social and cultural center.

Commercialization of Leisure

However, by mid-decade, a new buoyant business philosophy began to dispel these fears. Abandoning their worries about "abundance," and facing the "threat of leisure" head-on, the American business community discovered and then embraced a "New Economic Gospel of Consumption." Led by economists, American business leaders began to believe that human needs for industrial products were not limited to a "natural" set of goods and services—that humans would never get "enough" and necessarily turn from work to increasing leisure (Hunnicutt, pp. 37-44).

Countering the leisure vision, a new work-expansion vision gained prominence. A new utopian hope was born: that industry could manufacture new "needs" as efficiently as it had been producing goods and services. Human needs for industrial products and services could be expanded eternally. Only improved advertising, marketing, and product development were necessary. With the help of advertising, Americans would always find new reasons to continue working "full-time." As each new luxury became an everyday necessity, a process would be set in motion that would ensure perpetual economic growth. "Abundance" would cease to threaten the nation with further erosions of work.

During the 1920s, advertising came into its own in the United States. Within companies, marketing departments gained prominence over production departments for the first time. Mass media, funded by the new marketing imperative, expanded as never before. Radio, for example, began the 1920s with one Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, station, but entered the 1930s with two national networks, the Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company, which together had over 400 local affiliates. In 1920, a radio was a novelty. By 1930, over 40 percent of American families had one.

Herbert Hoover's Committee on Recent Economic Changes investigated these developments extensively, reporting in 1929 that

. . . as a people we have become steadily less concerned about the primary needs—food, clothing and shelter—and we now demand a broad list of goods and services which come under the category of "optional purchases." . . . The conclusion is that economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied . . . (Emphasis added; Report of the Committee on Recent Economic Changes, p. xv).

Moreover, leisure, held at bay by a standard forty-hour-or-more work week, was being turned into an economic advantage. Hoover's committee documented this development as well, concluding

It was during the period covered by the survey [the 1920s] that the conception of leisure as "consumable" began to be realized upon in business in a practical way and on a broad scale. . . .[The] leisure that results from increasing man-hour productivity helps to create new needs and new broader markets . . . (Report of the Committee on Recent Economic Changes, p. xvi).

The great discoveries made during the decade, according to Hoover and his committee, discoveries comparable to the "boundless fields" of America's original frontier, were that all human values and goods could be expressed through the marketplace and all "higher" activities performed as work. There were no nonpecuniary, or "free," activities that necessarily transcended work and the economy. Leisure had no privileged position, no special claims to liberty or the "realm of freedom."

Some of the most vital areas of economic growth involved commodification of the new leisure, and the transfiguration of free activities into jobs. Amusements, storytelling and conversation (radio), sports, the automobile and other transportation, recreational equipment, new fads such as mahjongg and Ping-Pong, and sheet music and records gave new employment to millions and sorely needed investment opportunities to a nation embarrassed by the "oversaving" of its wealthy.

SOURCE: Recent Social Trends p.949
1. Government Expenditures  
a. Municipalities $ 147,179
b. Counties 8,600
c. States 28,331
d. Federal 9,300
Total $ 193,410
2. Travel and mobility  
a. Vacation Travel in the USA  
i. Automobile touring 3,200,000
ii. Travel by Rail 750,000
iii. By air and water 25,000
b. Vacation Travel Abroad  
i. To Canada 266,283
ii. To Mexico 55,642
iii. Travel Overseas 391,470
iv. Miscellaneous 77,326
c. Pleasure use of cars, boars, etc  
i. Autos (except touring) 1,246,000
ii. Motor Boats 460,000
iii. Motorcycles 10,796
iv. Bicycles 9,634
Total $ 6,492,151
3. Commercial Amusements  
a. Moving Pictures 1,500,000
b. Other Admissions 166,000
c. Cabarets and Night Clubs 23,725
d. Radios and Radio Broadcasting 525,000
Total $ 2,214,725
4. Leisure Time Associations  
a. Social and Athletic Clubs 125,000
b. Luncheon Clubs 7,500
c. Lodges 175,000
d. Youth Service 75,000
Total $ 383,500
5. Games, Sports, Outdoor Life, Etc.  
a. Toys, Games, Playground Equipment 113,800
b. Pool, Billiards, Bowling Equipment 12,000
c. Playing Cards 20,000
d. Sports and Athletic Goods 500,000
e. Hunting and Fishing Licenses 12,000
f. Resort Hotels 75,000
g. College Football 21,500
h. Camps 47,000
i. Fireworks 6,771
j. Phonographs and Records 75,000
Total $ 883,071
Total annual cost of recreation (figures from 1928–30, in thousands of dollars) $ 10,165,857

More than ever before, investors bought "growth stock" in companies that served the new leisure market, or provided products specifically designed for people to use during their free time. Existing commercial recreation expanded as never before. Vaudeville, burlesque shows, cabarets and nightclubs, dance halls, pool halls, and amusement parks were among the growth "industries." Entrepreneurs developed and expanded many of the forms of entertainment and leisure products that have become familiar. Commercial parks such as Coney Island, hotels, and excursion packages, sales of phonographs and records, sports equipment, board and parlor games, and bicycles flourished.

Motion-picture attendance more than doubled during the 1920s. By 1930, over 100 million people were going to the movies each week. "Talkies" were not introduced until 1926. Still, by 1932, nearly two-thirds of the nation's movie houses were wired for sound. When the Great Depression began, Americans were spending over $1.5 billion annually on the movies.

Motion-picture production, distribution, and exhibition became a national industry. Observers estimated that by the end of the decade, Americans had invested more than $2 billion. A third of a million people found employment in the industry. Building from its humble base in a few nickelodeons in the 1910s, the movie industry boasted over 22,731 theaters nationwide by 1930.

Hollywood perfected its organization, adopting the "studio system" and creating a tight web of distributors and exhibitors, ensuring vertical and horizontal control of the industry. The "star" system came into its own. Actors such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford amassed fortunes. The industry also introduced, and then perfected by mass production, the film genres, or formulas, that it continues to use: slapstick, romantic comedy, western, adventure, horror, and so forth.

The decade also witnessed a dramatic growth of spectator sports. College football led the way. Attendance at college football games more than doubled. Receipts grew over 200 percent from $2.5 million to $8.3 million. Colleges and universities embarked on major construction projects, expanding stadia capacity nearly 150 percent, from just under 1 million to over 2.3 million seats.

Baseball revenues grew as well, but somewhat slower than football. Major league receipts increased 10 percent, class "AA" 20 percent. However, radio reached many millions more, who sat to listen instead of watch. Night games were introduced in 1935 so that people could go to the ballpark without having to miss work or school. Boxing reached something of a historical peak during the 1920s with champions such as Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney making national headlines (Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends ; Report of the Committee on Recent Economic Changes).

Sports came into their own as true "professions." Not only had sports emerged as serious moneymaking concerns, they were afforded increasing historical significance. Sportswriters began to keep careful, more extensive records from season to season, defining champions as record breakers.

The modern practice of taking sports events seriously as history-making occurrences spread during the decade to include all major sports. Record breakers attracted fans. There could be only a limited number of team championships per season. However, a Babe Ruth hitting home runs at a record-shattering pace, or a football player passing or rushing more than anyone had done previously, drew fans to watch even a losing team. Records multiplied; in baseball, careful attention was paid to batting averages, "runs batted in," home-runs, "earned run averages," and so forth, on to dozens of categories.

During the interwar period, organizers and promoters designed new national prizes and awards, reinforcing the historical significance of what were once simple playing and local games. For example, the American League created an early version of the modern Most Valuable Player award in 1922 (the National League following suit in 1923) and the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City introduced the Heisman Trophy for college football in 1936.

Hoover's Committee estimated that Americans were spending nearly $10.25 billion on "leisure and recreation," nearly 13 percent of the nation's total budget, by the end of the 1920s. Historians and economists still agree that recreational spending increased rapidly during the 1920s. The economist John Owen suggests such spending increased 47 percent from 1909 to 1930, constituting the most rapid increase in the nation's history (Hunnicutt, 1988, p. 23). However, later observers saw the totals differently, estimating that recreational spending was no more than 4.7 percent of the nation's total budget by 1930. (See Table 1)

The difference may be explained by the Hoover Committee's inclusion of automobile expenses as part of recreational spending. The committee understood that the rise of automobile manufacture was proof that Americans were buying new things to use in their new leisure. J. F. Steiner, the author of the committee's report on recreation, claimed that when automobiles were used for vacations, such expenses (amounting to well over $3 billion annually by 1930) should naturally be included as part of the nation's recreational budget. Moreover, using national traffic surveys of daily automobile use, Steiner concluded that "at least one-fourth of the use of passenger cars is for recreation," assigning an additional recreational spending figure of $1.246 billion (Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends, p. 948).

One of the most impressive examples of what Hoover's Committee predicted coming true was that "optional spending" for recreation and leisure would become necessities, continually opening the way for new spending. After the Great Depression, statisticians separated automobile expenses from recreational spending altogether and began to view automobiles as one of the most important sectors of the nation's total budget in its own right.

However, for some, such figures were more the occasion for alarm than for rejoicing about healthy economic growth. For example, Jay Nash criticized the rapid growth of professional sports and commercial recreation, pointing out that Americans were becoming passive in their free time, consuming rather than creating their amusements. He warned that that a new malady, "spectatoritis," infected the nation. Critics also feared that people were also becoming passive in more significant parts of their lives. Family life suffered and the community weakened, as previously free kinds of convivial and discussional activities were made into work, produced and sold, and distributed by mass media cut off from local roots (Hunnicutt, 1988, p. 137).

For such critics, a more promising national growth occurred in the public sector devoted to leisure service. The National Recreation Association, critical of the expansion of commercial recreation and the growth of passive recreation and amusement, labored to enlarge free and public places for healthier kinds of recreation. Local politicians, club members, and "recreation professionals" joined together to resist the advance of consumerism and mass culture, struggling to find ways to protect local culture and culture making. They sought to preserve and encourage free local group activities and associations: clubs, storytelling, choirs, community bands and orchestras, community drama and festivals, local sports, voluntary and charitable organizations. Such individuals sought to serve the new leisure in new, public ways that would resist the commodification of local culture.

Hoover's Committee on Recent Social Trends investigated the growth of participatory sports and recreations during the 1920s, noting that the rise of active sports somewhat counterbalanced the expansion of passive watching. Steiner wrote, "The two most important trends in recreation in this country have been . . . commercial recreation . . . for passive amusements, and the rapid growth of private and public facilities for the participation in . . . recreational activities (Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends, p. 954).

To meet the new demand, the nation built nearly 4,000 new golf courses between 1923 and 1930, more than a 200 percent increase. Tennis playing and tennis courts expanded nearly as rapidly. Clubs devoted to active sports and games doubled their membership dues between 1921 and 1930.

Public infrastructure providing for the new leisure expanded as well. Municipal park acreage increased by 238 percent between 1907 and 1930—a period of very rapid growth occurring between 1925 and 1930 when municipal park acreage expanded from 201,445 to 279,257 acres. During the decade, National Parks and Forests expanded rapidly and saw record numbers of visitors. A newly mobile public headed for the out-of-doors, ballooning National Park attendance by 202 percent and visits to National Forests by 560 percent (Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends, pp. 912-957).

The interwar years was a period of remarkable increases in local voluntary associations. Club membership grew rapidly. Local businesspeople performed yeoman community service, founding luncheon clubs such as Rotary International, Kiwanis, and Lions. Membership in luncheon clubs expanded over 700 percent between 1917 and 1929. Hoover's Committee found in the early 1930s that "fraternal societies . . . are reaching the peak of their development"; the nine leading fraternal organizations having increased their memberships 100 percent between 1905 and 1926. During the 1920s, municipal community centers more than doubled as well. Local schools were given double duty as the community schools movement successfully transformed hundreds of local schools into after-hours "community clubs" (Report of the President's Research Committee on Social Trends, pp. 937–937).

Women's clubs expanded as well. Following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920, women's groups such as the League of Women Voters (LWV) and the National Women's Party (NWP) reformed to promote equal rights and, in the case of the NWP, promote an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

Women's groups were particularly interested in shorter work hours as a strategy to allow more women access to the workforce. Women, more than any other group, had difficulties finding jobs that allowed time enough to meet traditional demands made on them by their homes. They were among the strongest supporters of the six-hour day for just this reason.

For rural women, few organizations competed with home-demonstration agents and the clubs they founded for building "social capital" among women largely isolated on their farms. In 1920, the Farm Bureau Federation formed, establishing and offering educational and support services to 210,560 groups of women by 1922, building to 403,602 groups by 1929. Other women's clubs, such as the Junior Leagues of America, followed suit, providing unprecedented opportunities for women for social engagement outside both the home and the job. Women also increased their participation in sports and recreation, expanding their horizons and their freedom as they rode bicycles, played tennis and golf, and swam in record numbers (Gordon).

Historians have demonstrated that the times spent working have offered workers few opportunities for self-expression and for the formation of working-class identities. The same might be said of working women, who found purpose and the identity of their movement in that portion of their lives lived beyond the workplace, in the new "leisure" they won from both their jobs and their traditional social roles.

Impact of the Great Depression

With the onset of the Great Depression, the new social and economic projects of the 1920s to commodify leisure, expand work into previously free activities, and perpetually expand economic need appeared to many to have reached dead ends. The massive unemployment of the 1930s demonstrated to people such as William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, that "free time will come, the only choice is unemployment or leisure" (Hunnicutt, 1988, pp. 77, 103).

Just as they had done in the early 1920s, observers concluded that the economic dislocation that was the Great Depression resulted from overproduction—from industry producing more than people were willing to work for and buy. The New Economic Gospel of Consumption appeared to be a false testament. Industrial progress naturally entailed increasing freedom from work. There was no way around more free time. Inexorably it would come, either in the healthy form of leisure or the disastrous form of massive unemployment.

The depression hit the new forms of commodified leisure hard. For example, attendance at baseball games and movies sagged alarmingly. The movie industry overextended its capital investment, trying to retain its customer base with new theaters and the new "talkies" technology, more than tripling its debt. Still, during the first years of the depression, movie attendance and revenues fell more than 40 percent. The industry faced bankruptcy. More than a third of the nation's theaters closed. Struggling to keep their customers, theaters slashed ticket prices, offered double features, give-away gimmicks, and lottery schemes. Baseball followed suit, offering more entertainment (doubleheaders, night games) at lower prices. As commodified forms of leisure failed, public leisure services thrived: noncommercial activities and nonprofit organizations expanded. Unable to afford the new and expensive, "goods-intensive" (a spending ratio requiring more goods and less free time) recreation, Americans began to turn to "time-intensive" (fewer goods to more time) leisure activities. Attending public facilities, visiting parks, reading, engaging in conversations, playing games at home, participating in community activities (dances, sports, band concerts, etc.) began replacing seeing movies, going to restaurants, motoring, and so forth.

The movement away from leisure spending, and toward less expensive forms of recreation is hard to document. Few records exist that note such changes nationally. One hard historical fact is clear, however: recreation spending lagged far behind leisure's increase during the 1930s.

By far the best and most informative historical studies of changing leisure patterns are local. Extensive interviews have been done with the Kellogg workers in Battle Creek, Michigan, who lived through the Great Depression, and who had the benefit of working a six-hour day because of W. K. Kellogg's (the company owner) desire to combat unemployment in the city.

Public recreation expanded substantially in Battle Creek. Library use doubled, visits to city parks grew. Moreover, workers, particularly working women, reported spending much more of their time than before with their families, "doing things around the house," "reading to the children," "visiting," and so forth. They also consistently reported spending more time (than before or since) in participating in community organizations, going to church, singing in choirs, helping out in the neighborhood, volunteering at schools and churches, attending clubs, fraternities, etc. Men shared these recollections. The 1930s media confirmed these memories. (In 1932, agents from the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor interviewed nearly all of the women who worked at Kellogg's. Local and national media reported extensively on Kellogg's six-hour day and workers' opinions about the experiment.)

Kellogg workers talked frequently about increased use of "public space," for which there is no historical record apart from their memory. They spoke of time spent together on front porches and in living rooms; of backyards and sidewalks regularly filled with people visiting, telling stories, and debating issues. The women interviewed in the 1990s were young during the depression, and frequently they recalled the sports activities of their youth. Community team sports thrived, according to their reports. Businesses in town regularly sponsored teams. Local enthusiasm for games such as ping-pong and roller skating flared briefly during the 1930s.

Such local developments may represent the most important trend in recreation of the Great Depression. Without reformers offering them "guidance," residents of Battle Creek began on their own to explore the new interstice of time between work and "home duties" opening for them. Many reported finding active, communitybased alternatives to passively watching others do things, or using leisure to consume goods and services. The 1930s may well have been a time when "spectatoritis" and commodified leisure were in retreat, and a more communitybased, active, engaged recreation began to emerge.

The "extra two hours" provided by Kellogg's six-hour day was something of a testing time, a laboratory of sorts for experimentation with new kinds of social forms and cultural ways. Several of the Kellogg managers and workers feared the new time as a place for dangerous experimentation, repeating to interviewers the old adage about idle hands, devils, and workshops. One wrote: "The six hr. shift was the reason for much hanky-panky going on in both sexes!" (Hunnicutt, 1996, p. 185).

During the 1930s, the federal government expanded its support of public leisure services, instituting a number of public works projects designed to help expand a leisure-support infrastructure, vital for the coming new leisure. Agencies such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the National Youth Administration spent nearly $1.5 billion on the construction of parks, swimming pools, camps, and trails, employing recreation leaders in record numbers. The Works Progress Administration funded millions of dollars of construction at dozens of zoos, providing for inexpensive recreation during the depression and World War II.

The Response of America to Joblessness and to the Challenge to the Centrality of Work

More importantly, the work reduction movement gained unparalleled national support, emerging as a central political issue during the Great Depression. The nation, with nowhere else to turn, responded to mass unemployment (25 percent or more of the workforce) by initiating a share-the-work movement, attempting to provide more jobs by reducing the hours of those who were still employed.

Expanding leisure as social and political issues gained unprecedented prominence, appearing as never before or since to be the unavoidable national destiny. With the politicization of work reduction, the leisure movement reached its historical high-water mark. Debate about the value of leisure, apart from its economic importance, filled the nation's presses and airways. Never before or since has increasing leisure seemed so inevitable, so likely to become soon the dominant social reality, presenting the nation with unparalleled challenges and opportunities.

An abundance of free time had inundated the nation. The task ahead was to redistribute the freedom from work represented by unemployment in healthy forms of shorter work hours. The challenge of the future would be to train humans in "the wise use of leisure" and to build public-sector infrastructures (parks, libraries, community centers) to support and serve the new freedom.

However, paying heed to his advisors such as Rexford Tugwell, and feeling the pressure from the business community, Franklin Delano Roosevelt retreated from his initial support of the Black-Connery Bill (the "worksharing" bill that would have mandated a thirty-hour week). Many observers, particularly businesspeople, felt that a six-hour day would "tip the balance," refocusing the nation's attention from business and work to life beyond the marketplace. Commerce and its disciples would take second place.

By 1935, FDR and his advisors had developed a new, coherent economic strategy to counter work-hours reduction and to deal with the nation's unemployment crisis. Relying on new economic "counter-cyclical" spending theories developed in the 1920s, the administration introduced a bold new vision of government's role in society and the economy. Redefining work sharing and increasing leisure as "sharing the poverty," and for the first time defining a "full-time" job as a forty-hour or more work week, FDR began deliberately to create new work to replace work historically "lost" to machines.

After 1934, the New Deal's primary legislative achievements put this new philosophy into operation. Key administration figures such as Rexford Tugwell directly attacked the leisure movement/vision while crafting the work-creation alternative to work sharing. Tugwell wrote that the time had arrived to "seize on the prospect of the final release from labor and put it for a time at the center of our thinking." However, Tugwell condemned the prospect. Leisure would never provide humans with a sense of purpose and direction. Leisure could never be the source of meaning and identity. Only work could provide these things. Human progress must be redirected from "abundance" to the perpetual creation of new work. If business and industry were unable to provide people with "full-time" work, government must step in (Hunnicutt, 1996, p. 251ff).

Roosevelt committed the federal government to underwriting the New Economic Gospel of Consumption. He began marshaling the resources of government to support perpetual economic growth in order to protect the newly defined public good, "full-time" jobs for all. With FDR's support of work creation though government expansion and economic growth, the progressive shortening of the hours faded as a public issue. The leisure movement and vision receded as well, replaced by a new social ideal and political vision of "full-time" work for everyone, in perpetuity.

The Eclipse of the Leisure Movement

Roosevelt and his administration concluded that it was not vacant "free time" or vapid leisure that humans needed and longed for; it was worthwhile jobs. For the New Deal and the generations that followed, progress lay on the frontiers of new work, not the backwaters of mass leisure/idleness.

The advent of government-supported work creation was arguably the watershed of twentieth-century domestic politics, setting the tone for politicians across the political spectrum who have followed, who have consistently campaigned on the slogan jobs, jobs, jobs.

The brief account here may offer a few pertinent historical insights into work's modern ascendancy, which eclipsed the leisure movement and brought progressive shortening of the hours of labor to an end.

See also: Automobiles and Leisure; Baseball, Crowds; Basketball; Football; Impresarios of Leisure, Rise of; Postwar to 1980 Leisure and Recreation; Prohibition and Temperance; Progressive-Era Leisure and Recreation; Railroads and Leisure; Tourism; Working-Class Leisure Lifestyles


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Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt