“It's worthwhile to get something from your holiday”: Vacationing During the Depression

Cindy S. Aron

in Working at Play

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195142341
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849024 | DOI:
“It's worthwhile to get something from your holiday”: Vacationing During the Depression

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The economic depression would seem an inhospitable climate for vacations in the United States. Surprisingly, evidence suggests that Americans continued to promote, endorse, and take vacations. Vacationing remained a prevalent and popular American institution throughout the 1930s, experiencing only a temporary decline in the early years of the decade. But longstanding cultural anxieties about leisure and vacationing remained, intensified in fact by the abundance of “leisure” that the depression seemed to be producing. No longer able to suggest that people mix vacations with work, cultural critics returned to a familiar 19th-century theme—leisure in pursuit of personal growth and self-improvement. The fear of leisure and relaxation—expressed as soon as mid-19th-century middle-class vacationers began traveling to beaches, springs, and mountains—took new forms but endured not only through the 1930s but until today.

Keywords: United States; economic depression; vacations; vacationing; leisure; self-improvement; personal growth; relaxation; work

Chapter.  9119 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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