Exhibit Home Dancing Through the
Great Depression

Student life at the University of South Carolina, 1929-1939.

Produced by the University Archives,
South Caroliniana Library
October 2004



football action from the 1929 big thursday game
Football action from the
1929 Big Thursday game.
In October of 1929, the stock market crashed, marking the end of the Roaring Twenties and the beginning of the Great Depression. South Carolinians, preoccupied with the Big Thursday Carolina-Clemson game and the other events of the State Fair, didn’t really notice at first. 

The state’s two main economic resources, textiles mills and agriculture, had already been in a depressed state since around 1920, so the Palmetto State did not suffer the dramatic plunge that the Depression brought to the more prosperous, industrial economic centers in the nation. The hard times simply continued to worsen.

letter from parent asking for extension of tuition deadline
Letter from parent asking
for extension of tuition deadline
The University of South Carolina was dealing with tough times as well. After reaching an appropriations peak of just over half a million dollars in 1926, Carolina’s state funding began a decline that would continue until 1933, resulting in a cumulative cut of sixty-nine percent. The institution avoided wholesale layoffs by raising tuition, cutting programs, paying faculty in scrip, and abolishing scholarships.

Carolina students from all socioeconomic backgrounds sought out jobs to help their parents pay school expenses. Administrators frequently received letters from students and parents asking for financial aid or extensions to the deadline for payments. However, the grim economic times couldn't dampen the students' zest for college life. This exhibit highlights the activities of Carolina students during the Great Depression 

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