I've stuffed the dailies in my shoes: During the Depression, people who were too poor to buy new shoes often stuffed newspapers in their shoes to keep them insulated and to avoid contact with the pavement.
Shanties: Temporary shelters made of scrap lumber or sheet metal, often dilapidated, used during the Depression by the disenfranchised, clustered in "shanty towns."
W.P.A.: The Works Progress Administration, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of his New Deal Recovery Act, provided billions of dollars to fund jobs programs, keeping 2 million Americans employed at any one time through 1941.
Breadlines: During the Depression, many people waited in lines for free food, even just bread.
Depression: After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, America fell into an economic depression that lasted through the 1930s.
Gandhi: Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was a spiritual and political leader in India who led the Nationalist Movement from 1917 until his death, helping to lead his nation to independence from Britain in 1947 though his policy of non-violent resistance.
Windsor and Wally's affair: "Wally" is Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson (1896-1986), a U.S. divorcée who started seeing Edward, the Prince of Wales ("Windsor"). He abdicated his throne in 1936 to marry her, once she had divorced her second husband, thus creating a scandal.
Amos 'n' Andy: A radio show of enormous popularity in the late 1920s and 1930s. At its peak it was heard by 40 million people each week, about one-third of the U.S. population of the time. The show featured two white men (the creators Godsen and Correll) as two black men, the title characters. These portraits would probably be considered racist today. The characters were enacted in a movie by the creators in blackface; there was also a short-lived TV series by this name in the early 1950s in which the characters were portrayed by black actors.
Mah-jongg: A Chinese tile game in which players try to assemble groupings and patterns of samelike tiles. This was very popular in the 1930s through 1970s, but is not to be confused with the current computer game that uses the same set of tiles.
Platinum hair: Best exemplified by Jean Harlow, platinum hair was an artificial hair color near to white that was considered glamorous and chic.
Abie's Irish Rose: One of the most popular plays in the history of American theatre, this comedic take on Romeo and Juliet concerns a Jewish boy who marries an Irish girl. Written by Anne Nichols, the play opened in 1922 and ran for 2,327 performances (five years), a commercial success, though not a critical one, due to its reliance on stereotypes, hackneyed jokes and bad plotting.
Five Dionne babies: The Dionne quintuplets were born in Canada in 1934, the first known quintuplets to survive infancy. The parents, who struggled financially to raise a family, signed a contract to put them on display at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition. …