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[Detail] Vacuum cleaners on display at the J.C. Harding & Co.

6) Thrift

While easy credit and advertising encouraged living beyond a consumer’s means, Calvin Coolidge and organizations such as the Y.M.C.A. promoted saving for the future. A search on thrift yields an undated statement made by Coolidge.

It is not so much what we earn today as what we save today that determines our position tomorrow . . . No man is so poor that he cannot begin to be thrifty. No man is so rich that he does not need to be thrifty.

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Calvin Coolidge Papers

Also available are details about National Thrift Week, an economic movement beginning annually on January 17th with a celebration of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday and a discussion of a specific thrifty enterprise for each day of the week.

You can also search on Anna Kelton Wiley Papers for the September 1928 newsletter with 10 Financial Commandments Still Going Strong for Thrift as well as copies of the National Thrift News and Thrift Week programs.

  • Why does National Thrift Week begin on Benjamin Franklin’s birthday?
  • Why would President Coolidge be interested in promoting thrift?
  • Who is most likely to need the “10 Financial Commandments”?
  • Are there specific “commandments” for different parts of society?
  • How would you reorganize these “commandments”? Why?