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Collection Calvin Coolidge Papers

The Coolidge Administration

Coolidge's economic themes were given concrete form by the initiatives of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon and Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. Mellon's term of office spanned the administrations of Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover from 1921 to 1931. His policies, enacted in the Revenue Acts of 1924, 1926, and 1928, reduced the national debt and aided business and consumption by cutting federal taxes. Hoover conducted a "war on waste" in government and industry and cut business costs through standardization and simplification of industrial parts and procedures. He also reorganized the Department of Commerce, creating seventeen internal divisions, each with a specific area of economic responsibility.

Herbert Hoover, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly right, listening to radio on a headset
Herbert Hoover, ca. 1925, National Photo Company Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. LC-USZ62-111716 (b&w film copy neg.).

The use of social science research methods was an important component of government information gathering in the 1920s. Secretary of Commerce Hoover actively promoted scientific research undertaken with the cooperation of business, government, organized philanthropy, and social science research agencies. Among the most ambitious government-sponsored studies of the Coolidge era, partially represented in Prosperity and Thrift, were Recent Economic Changes in the United States (1929) and Recent Social Trends in the United States (1933). These massive works focus on the interrelationship of social and economic trends during the 1920s, surveying such subjects as invention and the new technologies, agencies of communication, taxation and finance, labor, rural life, consumers, racial and ethnic groups, and the activities of women outside the home. Many other government reports and private-sector studies are included in the collection as well.

Additional Resources

For related material in the Calvin Coolidge Papers, see File No. 3, Commerce Department (Part I and Part II), and File No. 21, Treasury Department (Part I, Part II, and Part III). The Coolidge Papers contain files for each cabinet agency.

For additional related entries in Guide to People, Organizations, and Topics in Prosperity and Thrift, see the following: On the Coolidge administration, see Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, Charles Sumner Hamlin, Standardization, and Frederick W. Taylor. On legislation, see Agricultural Credits Act of 1923, Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, James Couzens, McNary-Haugen Farm Legislation, and Truth-in-Fabric Legislation. On social science research, see Herman Hollerith and Robert Staughton Lynd.