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The Value of a Dollar: 1860-2019


A century and a half of America’s consumer economy in one easy-to-use volume, The Value of a Dollar records the prices of thousands of items purchased from the Civil War to the present, along with facts about investment options and income opportunities.

Using this data, readers will get a sense of how prices changed over time and how those changes compare to the value of the dollar. This text gives readers a broader understanding of life in America through the wallets of real Americans.

This new edition of The Value of a Dollar is broken down into two comprehensive sections. Section One: 1860-2019 is divided into nine easy-to-read chapters. Each chapter includes currency conversion charts, historical snapshots, selected income, consumer expenditures, investments and standard income. Section Two: Pricing Trends compares the cost of everyday products, services and jobs, in a specified number of years and compares it to today’s dollar.

 A look into what Section One offers:

  • Currency Conversion Charts: used to calculate out what any item in any year would cost
  • Historical Snapshot: a detailed chronology of key economic and historical events from each year
  • Selected Income: a list of jobs in the want ads of major newspapers and reported in the language, representing the types of jobs available and the wages offered across the country.
  • Consumer Expenditures: a report on per-capita expenditures of the day, organized by product type
  • Investments: a selection of yearly investment returns on a diversified portfolio of common stocks
  • Standard Jobs: a selection of national average wages paid for representative jobs

New to this edition is the chapter covering the years of 2015-2019, more images and new conversion charts. This is an invaluable source for all teachers, students, writers and patrons who are researching or are simply curious about social history. The Value of a Dollar is for both the user who simply wants to know what life was like during the time of his or her great-grandparents as well as the serious student engaged in historical research.

Also available, The Value of a Dollar, 1600-1865 which records prices from the Colonial Era until the Civil War. A perfect title paired with The Value of a Dollar, 1860-2014.

Perfect for anyone curious about social history; students studying the topics that require knowledge about everyday life in America; teachers who seek information to enliven classroom discussions; writers who need access to the basic facts of America's commerce; business historians seeking data to establish a framework of wage and price information during a specific period; and reporters seeking to enhance a story with economic details.


Buy the Print & Get Free Online Access
Print edition buyers receive free online access to Value of a Dollar 1860-2014. With this feature, multiple users can research prices and incomes with ease and browse the entire rich compilation of historical and accessible economic data that The Value of a Dollar has to offer in one easy-to-use online format.

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Pub. Date: October 2019
Hardcover: 758 pages
ISBN: 978-1-68217-949-9
Price: $155
Includes Free Online Access on the Salem Press Platform
e-ISBN: 978-1-68217-750-1
eBook User Price: $194