27 December, 2010

The Census of 1930

As a benefit to my volunteer work, I have access to various genealogical records and documents. Following is a copy of the 1930 Federal Census from the National Archives. It provides some interesting insight into life at 1000 Lake Shore Drive at the time:


(click on the image to enlarge)

The household members include: Edith R Mccormick; (Owner, occupation - none) 57, Gertrude Hellenthal; (lodger; stenographer) 36, Eric Petterson; (servant; chauffeur) 35, Holger Hesselmark; (servant; chauffeur) 28, Lenny Huttman; (servant; chauffeur) 25, Hedwig Hultmann; (lodger; pocketbook maker) 26, Marie Pfaeffle; (servant) 52, Delia Carter; (servant; cook) 40, Helga Fornander; (servant) 40, Delia K Geary; (servant) 23, Sarah Carvey; (servant) 27, Katherine Carvey; (servant) 32.

The value of Edith's home is noted as $1,000,000 in contrast to Cyrus Wilder's (a neighbor on Bellevue Place) at $35,000. In today's dollars this means that Edith's home would be worth $12,727,927, and the Wilder home $445,447 according to the Consumer Price Index. (As I live five streets North of Bellevue I can tell you that $445,000 will get you about 1700 square feet of condo space.)

The fact that Edith's servants are primarily from Sweden and Ireland doesn't surprise me, given the times and Chicago's large Irish and Scandinavian populations. I did happen to notice however that the three chauffeurs; Eric, Holger and Lenny had 'lodger' penciled in over 'servant'. Perhaps this gave them more equal footing with Gertrude and Hedwig, who were primarily listed as 'lodgers'?

Edith missed the 1920 Census as she was living in Europe; she would not return to the United States until September of 1921, after an eight year absence. I would like to see the contrast between 1920 and 1930; given that the Great Depression was now afoot, and Edith was economizing due to mounting debts and family pressure to cut her spending. What I can tell you is that in 1910 (after having been married to Harold for five years) the household consisted of twenty-one individuals; (which included the McCormick family of five) consisting of cooks, a laundress, chauffeurs (one private with a wife and child) and coachman, butlers, the governess, the secretary, and maids of various category.

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