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Image of Norfolk, Nebraska, 1 Dollar, 1933
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Materials: Paper
Measurement: 9.4 x 20.7 cm
Source: Unknown

Norfolk, Nebraska, 1 Dollar, 1933

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, regular money was withheld from circulation. Spending was curtailed, available cash was hidden, and, by the fall of 1932, runs on banks across the country were leading to "bank holidays" in state after state.

By the beginning of 1933, bank closures were becoming commonplace. Indeed, the new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ordered a national bank holiday, during which time an army of examiners fanned out and checked the solvency of banks across the Republic. They certified the sound ones and closed the unsound ones. If people were hoarding money, and banks were locked up, how did buying and selling go on?

The brief answer is that local institutions supplied their own money. Towns and counties, factories and unemployment agencies, a fish processor in Massachusetts, and a college in California all created money for their communities. Emergency issues came from all of the forty-eight states, plus the territories of Hawaii and Alaska and the District of Columbia. The new money was mostly made of paper, but issues in leather, wood, tinfoil, and other materials also appeared.

In the Midwest, an idea first developed in Austria and Germany was tried in a number of places, including Norfolk, Nebraska. This Norfolk note bears simple designs, but the idea behind it was sophisticated. The city fathers reasoned that money would only be useful if it stayed in circulation.

And the best way to ensure that would be to require affixing small stamps to the back of the note, dated by hand. If they weren’t added on a regular basis, the bill became irredeemable. The authorities also added pleas for circulation on the top and bottom margins of the note. From the stamps' use, the plan worked.
Related Events
1929: The stock market crashes, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.
1932: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is established to assist failing banks, railroads, and insurance companies.
1933: President Roosevelt declares a "Bank Holiday," suspending the sale of gold and silver to restrict hoarding.
1935: The Works Progress Administration and other relief agencies are created.
1941: U.S. enters World War II.
Legends of the Human Spirit The following objects are in this section.
United States, 2 Dollars, 1776Connecticut, 2 Shillings 6 Pence, 1776Confederacy, 1 Dollar, 1862
United States, 30 Dollars, 1776Confederacy, 5 Dollars, 1862Norfolk, Nebraska, 1 Dollar, 1933
Virginia, 15 Dollars, 1776Confederacy, 5 Dollars, 1863Pismo Beach, California, 1 Dollar, 1933
Maryland, 1 2/3 Dollars, 1775Confederacy, 10 Dollars, 1863Pismo Beach, California, 50 Cents, 1933
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