REFERENCE

The Value of a Dollar 1860–2019

Grey House. 6th ed. ed. 2019. 758p. ISBN 9781682179499. $155. REF
COPY ISBN
While opera fans in 1875 could attend The Marriage of Figaro for two dollars (still a bargain at under $50, adjusted for inflation), those purchasing an airplane ticket from New York to Chicago in 1931 didn’t fare as well, as their $119 ticket would cost $2,000 today. Organized into multiyear increments, this book offers a peek at how prices and monetary values have changed over time, from apartment costs to food prices to income levels and more. Summary notes begin and end each section. Occasional black-and-white photos add interest. Items listed also tell a tale, as women’s gloves, carbon paper, and ads for “strong young men” for railroad jobs give way to olive oil, charging cradles, and advertisements for graphic designers.
VERDICT A fascinating look at what Americans have bought, paid, and earned over the past 150 years.

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