October 2007

The Value of a Dollar
Are We Losing or Gaining Ground?
Quite by accident I found a historical reference chart produced by the Department of Labor and Statistics. By calculating the inflation rates for various periods over history, it shows how much money is needed today to purchase the same item(s) with today's dollars. (The chart ends in 1991 dollars however.) The chart compares wages against buying power.

To use the chart, say for example, in 1991 it would have taken $14.85 to purchase what only one dollar would have bought in 1875.

1820-1850 $13.28 1935 $9.91
1850-1875 $13.14 1945$7.56
1875-1900$14.85 1965$4.31
1900-1925$11.38 1975$2.35
1985$1.26 1991$1.00
Using the data from the above chart, I calculated how much a specific product cost then and in 1991 dollars.
ProductYearCost Then Cost in 1991 $
Chrysler Coupe 1925$750 $8,535
Oldsmobile Sedan1965$2,995$12,908
Buick LeSabre1985$7,088$8,930
Dozen Eggs1925 27 Cents$3.07
Dozen Eggs1965 42 Cents$1.81
Dozen Eggs1980 69 Cents89 Cents
Annual Salary
Minimum Wage
(40 hours week)
1938 $520$5,153
Annual Salary
Minimum Wage
(40 hours week)
1963 $2,600$11,206
Annual Salary
Minimum Wage
(40 hours week)
1975 $4,368$10,648
Abraham Lincoln Home
Springfield, Illinois
1854 $1,200$15,768
James Garfield Memorial
Cleveland, Ohio
1890 $150,000$2,227,500
United States
President Salary
1820 $25,000$332,000
United States
President Salary
1875 $50,000$742,500
United States
President Salary
1965 $100,000$431,000
HistoryBuff.com Update

The last week of September, I travelled to primarily Kentucky and West Virginia to shoot panoramas. I was not satisfied with the quality of the photos I took at the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, Kentucky in August, so I went down and re-shot them. I also did a panorama of the Daniel Boone Grave at Frankfort, Kentucky. It turned out to be extra nice since it was shot at sunset. I also went to Webster, West Vriginia and did panoramas of the Anna Jarvis home exterior and interior. She was the founder of Mother's Day. In addition, General McClellan made her home his encapement headquarters in the early days of the Civil War. While in West Virginia, I stayed at subscriber Kathleen Panek's Gillum House Bed and Breakfast. (Hello Kathleen and thanks again. Pretty state.)

Casemate Publishing has donated fourteen different new history books to award as Grand Prizes in my monthly trivia contests. The first offering is the Grand Prize in this issue of my newsletter.

September Contest

GRAND PRIZE QUESTION: Who was the first president to wear long pants in the White House? (Up until this period, men wore knickers that came to just below the knees.)


ALTERNATE PRIZE QUESTION: Which president was the first to be elected that had been divorced prior to being elected?


Only forty-six people entered the contests - My lowest yet so you had the best odds of winning in this one. One entered 10 days after the deadline. All prizes were claimed.
The September Contest Winners Were:
  • John Urban - Illinois
  • Walt DiDomenico - Florida
  • Laura Miller - California
  • Bart Falcone - New Jersey
  • Lynne Swirsky - Flordia
  • Patti Watkinson - Virginia
  • Kitsa Theodorou - New York

This Issue's Questions:

To enter the Grand Prize Contest, answer the question: Which US president is known to have a degree in nuclear physics?

To enter the Alternate Contest, answer the question: Who wrote the United States' Pledge of Allegiance?

Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Tuesday, October 16, 2007. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the HistoryBuff.com newsletter.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but can only win one prize.

  • To enter either contest, email your answer to help@historyreference.org.

  • If entering for the Grand Prize, enter "Contest Entry Grand Prize" for the subject heading.

  • If entering for alternate prize contest, enter "Contest Entry" for the subject heading.

  • Alternate contest entries with prize desires such as "any prize is OK," "any of the historic newspapers" etc. will be disqualified. You MUST select ONE prize. The Grand Prize is considered as only one prize.

  • If entering both contests, send separate emails.

  • From subscribers entering the alternate contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE alternate contest prize they want to win, SIX will be selected to win ONE of the alternate contest prizes below.

  • From subscribers entering the Grand Prize contest, one will be selected to win the prize from those submitting the correct subject heading, correct answer, and by the deadline.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.
Grand Prize
(One winner will be selected)

Hardbound Book
Iran's Nuclear Option
Tehran's Quest for the Atomb Bomb

At a time when international terrorism is the focal point of our concerns, a far more pressing threat has arisen to the balance of power in the world and ultimately to the security of our country. Since the Islamic Republic admitted, just two years ago, that it was secretly producing highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium, leading nations have struggled to react in an appropriate manner. In this book, the U. S. public is able to learn exactly what the Europeans and UN have been trying to forestall.

Iran's Neuclear Option is essential reading for anyone with an interest in global security and the perilous volatiliticy of the Middle East. It also comprises an indicator for America's own options, should it be willing to counter the threat while time remains, in favor of world peace rather than greater global instability.

If you don't win this contest, the book can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking this link

Alternate Contest Prizes
(Only one of each offered)

ClassicTV DVD
Episodes of the Classic TV Series - 1950's

DVD Movie
Hell in Normandy (1968)
Movie about the days prior to the Normandy Invasion

Original Historic Newspapers

New-York Spectator historic newspaper from 1834

Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC) historic newspaper from 1842

Original Manchester American & Messenger (New Hampshire) historic newspaper from 1853

New York Tribune historic newspaper from 1860

Original Coldwater Republican (Michigan) historic newspaper from 1876
That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown

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