late 1940s was a period of political and cultural transition for the United
States. World War II was over and the US and the Soviet Union emerged as the
super powers. The "Cold War" became a familiar phrase.
By the end of World War II only 5000 black and white televisions, having 5 inch screens, were in American homes. By 1951, 17 million had been sold. During the late 1940s Hollywood continued to turn out popular movies. Some of the movies these students may have seen include Easter Parade, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and the Third Man. Popular books they may have read included Strawberry Girl, Cowboy Small, and Door in the Wall.
During this period teachers still struggled for an adequate salary. The average annual salary was approximately $2,500 compared to $1,390 in the mid 1920s. Pennsylvania ranked twenty-first in comparison with the teacher salaries in other states. A survey by the Department of Public Instruction in 1948 indicated that about half of all students received less than 12 years of formal classroom instruction.
S.K. Stevens, Pennsylvania 1947: a
(Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: Harrisburg, 1948), 45.
S.K. Stevens, Pennsylvania 1948: a
(Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: Harrisburg, 1950), 70.
Photo: courtesy Johanna "Chubby" Ferrandiz Buser