America in 1901
The year 2001 marked Valdez’s centennial. On July 1, 1901, Valdez residents voted to incorporate and form an official City government.
What was America like during the year that the City of Valdez formed? Here’s a sampling of what the nation was wearing, doing, and experiencing during 1901:
- Baseball was popular, but basketball and football hadn’t caught on.
- The best selling books of 1901 were “The Crisis” by Winston Churchill, “Daily Strength for Daily Needs” by Mary Tileston, and “The Simple Life” by Charles Wagner.
- A college professor earned $3,500 a year and a skilled laborer such as a plumber earned $1,248 a year.
- Roast beef cost 15 cents per pound and milk was 6 cents per quart.
- In 1901, women wore very fancy hats with feathers and other ornaments. They attached the hats to elaborate hairstyles with hat pins up to 12 inches long. Middle class and wealthy women wore lacy pastel colored dresses with corsets and button up shoes.
- Women sought rights to own property, have a personal claim on their earnings, share equal guardianship of their children, and have the right to vote. Many organizations were growing to support this movement. Women across the nation finally gained the right to vote in 1920.
- Child labor was rampant. 10% of all American girls between the ages of 10 and 15 and 20% of boys had jobs. Boys working in mines and quarries received 60 cents for a 10-hour workday.
- Only 7 states required school attendance to 16.
- The average life span for men was 46 years old. Women were expected to live to the age of 48. Major causes of death were tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, diphtheria, and influenza.
- The temperance movement was strong during 1901. Five states were already dry – and a growing number were considering becoming dry. Prohibition of alcohol sales & production took hold nationally in 1919.
- Electricity was used primarily in industry in 1901, but was rapidly spreading.
In 1901, communication, transportation, technology, and society were all changing at an incredible pace in America. Even though Valdez was a long distance from the rest of the nation, it was a relatively modern and well-informed place. Many of the fashions and trends, and much of the technology that was taking hold in America was – at the same time – taking hold in Valdez.