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kbooth Posts

An American Artifact


The serial code displays a letter ‘F’ on the right side, which was key to discovering the production date.

It was the late 1930’s, my grandfather strolled into the cozy living room of his grandparents home on Locust Drive in Rochester, New York. His grandmother, fondly called “Nanny” firmly established she would listen to her music until the Rochester Red Wings game was scheduled to start, they were my great-great-grandfather “Gaga’s” favorite. Their home, next to the Stromburg Radio was the home of the Victrola music machine for many years.

It was surprisingly simple to uncover the production date of this specific Victrola. The serial number began with the letter F, which quickly narrowed the search to 1914 or 1915. Then I found a production record that showed models from early 1915 that were being produced will small decorative feet. Ours is without feet, meaning it is a 1914 model, and 102 years old.

A portion of the production data from the Victor-Victrola Page

Despite the age, it is still functioning perfectly. The record player was a staple in my family’s community back then, it was one of the first common technological advances that brought people together. Technology in our homes would continue to advance and further connect us, telephones to bring us together when we traveled and televisions and movies that gave initiates a bond through common sources of entertainment.

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The Victor-Victrola Talking Machine began production in 1911, and continued for fifteen years until 1926. There were an estimated 570,000 machines produced in mahogany and oak. The buy price was originally set at $50, however after a new market line was released it was raised to $75.



“The Victor-Victrola Page.” Victor-Victrola,
Accessed 8 Sept. 2016.

(And my grandfather, Richard L. Booth Sr!)

Black Monday – Interview with Rich Booth


October 19th of 1987, marked the largest one-day market drop in the course of history. Nicknamed “Black Monday” as stocks plummeted which had previously ridden on the tailcoats of the 1982 bull market. Starting in Asia, the collapse was at America’s doorsteps by the opening bell. The Dow Jones dropped a record 22% and sell orders quickly surpassed those for buyers. Rich Booth was an options trader working on the equity trading floor for EF Hutton in midtown Manhatten when the market began to unravel into a state of chaotic losses for the following week.

“Well I remember getting on the subway and riding the train home to Connecticut and I remember everybody looked really grey, and it didn’t seem like anybody talked to each other. It was a very gloomy time. I also remember the stock of the company that I worked for, EF Hutton, a
lot of people thought that we were going out of business. And the stock traded, I think in 1986 it was trading in the fifties and I think at one point in the crash it was trading at 6 dollars.”

Many influences were accredited with the blame for causing the crash, including a false sense of security generated by portfolio insurance, foreign affairs and an increase in international investors. Although longterm solutions were eventually created to prevent similar causes in the future, Mr. Booth believed the aggressive decision making made by the Federal Reserve and central government helped avoid the longterm negative impacts such as those that followed the crash of the 1920’s. During the week of Black Monday, job losses and bankruptcies were wide spread and adding to the fear in investors. Yet the devastating losses were curbed to avoid a recession of long term negative effects.

“I think it was pretty aggressive action by the central bank and by the US government to reassure investors and to back companies that were trading securities, you know specialists down on the floor. I think the first couples days after the crash most of those guys were bankrupt and I think the banks lent them money that so that they could buy stocks, cause people were afraid, they were losing, you know some people were just panicking and selling. So because they were able to borrow some money some of these specialist firms were able to buy stocks, kind of stay in business and then when the stocks started going back up they sold them out. They all had losses, but not as bad as it could have been.”

The video below aired the week of the crash, and in conversation afterwards, Mr. Booth stated that he remembered seeing this on the news and calling his worried mother saying that “he felt better now”.


Further Reading:

1987 Stock Market Crash Chart



25 Years Later: In the Crash of 1987, the Seeds of the Great Recession



Bernhardt, Donald, and Marshall Eckblad. “Black Monday: The Stock Market Crash
of 1987.” Federal Reserve History, edited by Alan Greenspan, Federal
Reserve Bank of Chicago,
48. Accessed 5 Sept. 2016.

Colombo, Jesse. “Black Monday – The Stock Market Crash of 1987.” The Bubble, Accessed 5 Sept. 2016.

Itskevich, Jennifer. “” History News
Network, Accessed 5 Sept. 2016.

Turner’s Frontier Thesis: An Exploration

Turner’s Frontier Thesis gives us imagery of a wild, primitive expanse that strips those who enter of all frivolity or levity, and leaves the brave soul with solely two options: adapt or perish. In Train Dreams, Granier’s logging captain is living proof a surviving and thriving American man forged through desperation. He lost his whole family to influenza, thirteen siblings gone in a week. Nonetheless, he represents a model frontier citizen: a strong, fair leader, who doesn’t complain, and keeps to himself and his son Harold. Turner poses and explores a question of the effect following the loss of the western frontier, a critical piece to American identity. However, in River of Shadows we are introduced to an Industrial Revolution where “speed becomes efficiency: time is money.” (180) After laying the floor of the foundational frontier, America searches for bigger, better, and bankable in all facets.

An American Experience: Volleyball

UVa Volleyball via Snapchat

The USA loves sports. Athletic events provide an arena for all of our favorite things: underdogs, hardworking heroes, and teams working together to reach an ultimate success; winning. In a country where the most expensive TV commercials revolve around a football game and professional athletes make the president’s pay grade look laughable, regular support and even involvement in sports is expected, if not a given. Despite not personally knowing a single player on the volleyball court in Mem Gym on Saturday night, I felt inexplicably drawn to support the orange and blue as they battled back from an early lead taken by the enemies, Northwestern University. As a volleyball player myself, trips with school and travel teams were often encouraged by coaches hoping the grit and dedication of players at the next level would inspire us. We look up to these athletes as the epitome a hardworking, successful individual. And often, “great games” are categorized as come-from-behind victories or last second buzzer beaters. When the water boy or team manager suits up, their success is received with ovations. These stories and the pride they invoke, create a community that is almost unparalleled. In fact, at this very game I unintentionally and individually encountered two teammates, an athletic trainer, and a previous travel volleyball coach. I used snapchat to capture the event and accessed a geotag that catered specifically to the sports team I was supporting just to add an exclamation point to the proof on social media and now this blog post that, yes, I love our sports team too.

So, why do we love sports so much? Perhaps partially, cause everyone else does. We are groomed from a young age to love sports, from big leagues to college, high school and even the little tot with a soccer jersey past their knees. So much of sports culture, is our culture. And it was the same strand of patriotic pride that propelled me to happily spend two and a half hours of my Saturday night in a packed gym, with no AC, so I could watch strangers hit a ball back and forth over a net.

The Great Gatsby (c. 1-3)


“She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”


Do you think that Daisy considers herself a fool?




Photo Citation:

 “The Great Gatsby: Daisy Buchanan’s Engagement Ring Style.” Ritani, 17 May 2013,
the-great-gatsby-daisy-buchanans-engagement-ring-style/. Accessed 24 Aug.