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The Value of a Dollar: 1860-2014


A century and a half of America's consumer economy in one easy-to-use volume.

This fifth edition of the highly successful The Value of a Dollar records the actual prices of thousands of items that consumers purchased from the Civil War to the present, along with facts about investment options and income opportunities.

Each Five-Year Chapter includes:

  • Historical Snapshot - A chronology of key economic and historic events from each year.
  • Consumer Expenditures - A report on per capita consumer prices nationwide to serve as a benchmark for specific wage and price information.
  • Investments - A selection of investment returns compiled from Federal Reserve reports, including a diversified portfolio of common stocks monitored annually with splits and dividends noted.
  • Selected Income - A section of jobs listed in the want ads of major newspapers and reported in the language of the ad.
  • Income/Standard Jobs - A selection of national average wages paid for representative jobs traced annually and based primarily on reports compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Food Basket - A regional report of food pricing compiled from reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Selected Prices - A section of priced items selected from advertisements of the period.
  • Standard Prices - A selection of representative items tracked annually, allowing the user to trace price fluctuations.
  • Miscellany - A selection of anecdotal prices and income reports from publications of the period.
  • Trends - Charts and narrative showcasing how the price of certain items changed over time, compared with the change in the value of a dollar.

New for this edition:

A new chapter covering 2010-2014 has been added to this fifith edition. In addition, this edition also contains expanded data on Pricing Trends. This informative section provides added detail on the reasons prices changed within the time period, including industry developments, changes in consumer attitudes and important historical facts. Plus, new Conversion Charts in each chapter allow for easy comparisons between the dollar of the time to today’s dollar.

The Value of a Dollar is for both the student engaged in historical research and the user who simply wants to know what life was like during the time of his or her ancestors.

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.

Also Available: The Value of a Dollar 1600-1865


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