Question of the Week
Bank Failures and the Great Depression in Philadelphia
Students today have experienced the first recession of the 21st century, but they may not be able to compare their emotions and the daily consequences of this economic event to those of the people who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. This document activity provides a method for them to understand the Depression through the eyes of those who lived through it by examining the perspectives of a Philadelphia bank director, the bank's depositors and the bank's employees. The sources are drawn from the collections of HSP's Albert M. Greenfield Papers and Philadelphia Record collection.
- Historical skills (organizing information chronologically, explaining historical issues, locating sources and investigate materials, synthesizing and evaluating evidence, and developing arguments and interpretations based on evidence) are used by an analytical thinker to create a historical construction.
- Historical literacy requires a focus on time and space, and an understanding of the historical context of events and actions.
- Learning about the past and its different contexts shaped by social, cultural, and political influences prepares one for participation as active, critical citizens in a democratic society.
- Analyze the interaction of cultural, economic, geographic, political, and social relations for a specific time and place.
- Contrast multiple perspectives of individuals and groups in interpreting other times, cultures, and place.
- Articulate the context of a historical event or action.
Background Material for Teacher
End of Unit Assessment
The lesson plan includes a written paper and class discussion, either of which can also be used as a formal summative assessment for this lesson.
Plans in this Unit
About the Author
This lesson was created by Beth Twiss Houting, senior director of programs and services at HSP, using research of Michael Regan, program director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship at Temple University. It was modified and updated for SAS by Kimberly L. Parsons, Education Intern, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.