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Prices and Wages Give Us a Glimpse into the Past

The Prices and Wages by Decade research guide has found fans across campus, the state, and the world since Marie Concannon, Head of Government Information, created it six years ago.

Esteemed research scientist Jay Zagorsky, who collects data for the National Longitudinal Surveys of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the latest scholars to use the detailed lists of resources for prices and wages throughout the history of the U.S. Zagorsky investigated how prices at high end restaurants have changed since 1899 using menus found via the guide.

Marie enjoys making historical prices meaningful by placing them in context with average wages paid at the time. The guide directs users mostly to U.S. federal and state government information, supplemented by other primary sources when needed.

The audience for the Prices and Wages by Decade guide has dramatically increased each year. Maries notes that the vast majority of visitors find the guide through Google searches. She says, “I developed the site expecting that most people would look for hard-to-find information from the 1800s, but it turned out that the most popular decades are the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you use the guide, let us know about your project and how the information you found on prices and wages made the research process easier.

 

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Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.