Photo Credit: Steinfeldt Photography Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

I wish I could write these melodramatic things with some ominous background music. In fact, why don’t you click the music file below to enhance your reading pleasure.



Here’s a group of Jewish teenage girls in pants, posing outside a storefront on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s the summer of 1929. Herbert Hoover is in the White House. The stock market is robust and promising. It’s good to be an American. And it’s good to be a Jewish girl in Minneapolis, because, hey, you get to wear pants.

These girls were born into the new, post WW1 American affluence, but in less than six months they’ll become witnesses to a decade of depression that will completely change who they are and how they think and feel about everything. They’ll see so much poverty and suffering, their poor little hearts will be bruised. They’ll stop smiling so much.

Music continues. Keep looking at the girls.