Barbara David

Travel Adventures, Cincinnati Attractions & Writing

’37 Flood finds: New novel, new research

As I continue on Chapter one, which takes place in Cincinnati on Christmas 1936, I needed to know a few facts. Helen wants to set a festive mood for her daughter, and so puts on a record, a 78 of course–but what might it have been. A search of Bing Crosby, and then a look at Billboard, and then a very helpful link and we have a reference to “Silent Night,” a hit for Bing in 1935.

Of course, a story about a mother and daughter at Christmas infers a gift exchange. What were people giving that year? A trip to downtown library and a quick lesson about the new microfilm machine and I was soon scanning through The Cincinnati Enquirer from Sunday, December 20, 1936, to find out. (I could happily spend the rest of my life reading old newspapers except that the microfilm room was pretty cold and the chair very hard.)

The Sunday paper was huge. Not only filled with news and ads, but also with pages of comics, schedules for the radio, and lots of short stories, including this one by Fannie Kilbourne.IMG_1285 I wanted to read them all, but the library closes at 5 on Sundays.


So, for Christmas, daughter Paulette gets this sweater vest that she picked out herself. My mom, born in 1930, loved these all her life. She wore a sweater vest everyday, except the hottest days of summer, but perhaps not always in “gay, gifty colors.”


I used this list for more gift ideas. Love the prices, and so glad I never had to wear “gift gloves.” I assume these are the everyday, dress-up gloves women wore, and not the adult counterpart to mittens, which I still prefer.

I also looked up Twin Sets and found out that these were sweaters with a cardigan over top. Another favorite of my mom.

IMG_1273Helen, the mother, gets a gift too, one just like this 89c Glazo set!

And let’s not leave out the “help.” Nadine gets this new carpet sweeper!  Certainly just what she wanted.





Finally, for a book about the flood, weather is important. So, I went to Friday, December 25, 1936. Apparently, it snowed in 1935, but hit the mid 50s in 1936.IMG_1290




I also came across some fascinating but irrelevant info as well.

The front page had an article about Roosevelt and the pope,IMG_1288along with this piece, bizarre IMG_1289for the front page of Cincinnati’s newspaper on Christmas day. Right next to the article about the Pope and President, a picture and caption about Prom Queen Miss Green of Freeport, Illinois, chosen as “most beautiful and popular” of her junior class. Congrats, Miss Green!


Another blurb I came across was rather unsettling. It mentions that on December 25, 1936, Hitler hosted orphans and other poor children to a Christmas dinner. No mention of what he did for Jewish children on Hanukah. The world just didn’t see the evil yet.

IMG_1294 (1)

Questions, comments and other sources about ’36 & ’37 welcome. Still at work on Chapter 1, but loving it!

3 comments on “’37 Flood finds: New novel, new research

  1. Rachel
    July 13, 2015

    Oh my goodness, this is stuff is awesome!

    I seriously can’t look at a sweater vest without thinking of Grandma. 🙂 ❤

    • Barbara David
      July 13, 2015

      I know! It’s funny how something popular when she was 6 stayed with her. Another curiosity, Mom loved Puffed Rice too, a styrofoam cereal. I never understood it–not only flavorless, but a horrible consistency, especially with milk. This summer, reading Shirley Temple, The Girl Who Fought the Depression ( I found out that Shirley’s picture was on the box in the 1930s. Mystery solved.

      • Rachel
        July 14, 2015

        I wonder what/if we have things like that. The thought that I might be harboring a love for late eighties fashion, or worse — the homeschool denim jumper, scares me a bit. 😉

        I am totally adding that Shirley Temple book to my reading list.

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2015 by in Cincinnati, Writing and tagged , , , , .
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