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Key: Politics and Society, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, World
Politics & Society
  • The Ludlow Resolution, requiring a national referendum on the declaration of war, is shelved.
  • Due to a 15 cent wage decrease, pecan shellers strike in San Antonio, TX under the leadership of Emma Tenayuca. One thousand out of 6000 protesters are arrested.
  • Hispanic Civil Rights Congress is founded in Los Angeles by Bert Corona and Luisa Moreno
Movies Released in 1938
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Alexander's Ragtime Band
  • Test Pilot
  • In Old Chicago
  • The Hurricane
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • The Hurricane
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Love Finds Andy Hardy
  • Boys Town
Arthur Dove, Shore Front Shore Front, by Arthur Dove
  • House Committee on Un-American Activities established. Its task is to investigate Socialists, Communists, and other individuals deemed un-American.
  • FDR signed the Fair Labor Standards Act that raises minimum wage from 25 cents to 40 cents an hour and limits the work week to 44 hours. The Act also prohibits manufacturing and mining businesses involved in interstate commerce from employing anyone under age 16.
  • The Revenue Act reduces taxes on large corporations and raises taxes on small businesses.
. .
Nonfiction Books Released in 1938
  • The Importance of Living, Lin Yutang
  • With Malice Toward Some, Margaret Halsey
  • Madame Curie, Eve Curie
  • Listen! The Wind, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • The Horse and Buggy Doctor, Arthur E. Hartzler
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Benjamin Franklin, Carl Van Doren
  • I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Ogden Nash
  • Alone, Richard E. Byrd
  • Elected to the Pennyslyvania House of Representatives, Crystal Bird Fauset becomes the first African-American female to serve in a state legislature
  • FDR presides over the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial.
  • Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada
    The Supreme Court rules that the University of Missouri Law School must either admit African American students or build a separate but equal facility for them.
Science and Technology
  • General Motors mass produces diesel engines.
  • DuPont promotes first nylon product--a toothbrush.
  • First U.S. law for required medical tests before a marriage license can be obtained.
. .
  • Howard Hughes flies around world in record time in a LockeeD Vega--3 days, 19 hours, 8 minutes, and 10 seconds. (Audio)
. .
Hans Hofmann, Afterglow Afterglow, by Hans Hofmann
  • R. N. Harger's "dunkometer" is introduced in Indianapolis as the first breath test for drivers.
January 1938 February 1938 March 1938 April 1938 May 1938 June 1938 July 1938 August 1938 September 1938 October 1938 November 1938 December 1938
Arts and Culture
  • Benny Goodman plays jazz at Carnegie Hall.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs general release. It's the biggest grossing of the decade. (Gone with the Windmade its money in the 40s.)
  • Our Town by Thorton Wilder opens at the Henry Miller Theatre in NYC
Snow White
  • Academy Award--Best Picture to The Life of Emile Zole, Best Actress to Luise Rainer, Best Actor to Spencer Tracy, Best Supporting Actress to Alice Brady, Best Supporting Actor to Joseph Schildkraut, and Best Director to Leo McCarey for The Awful Truth
  • Glen Miller forms his jazz orchestra
  • Pulitzer Prizes awarded: fiction--The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquard, poetry--Cod Morning Sky by Marya Zaturenska, drama--Our Town by Thornton Wilder
      • In boxing Joe Louis defeats Max Schmeling in Yankee Stadium in front of 70,000 spectators--the largest crowd to date.
      • First issue of Action Comicappears with Superman on the cover.
      first Superman cover
      Fiction Books Released in 1938
      • The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
      • The Citadel, A. J. Cronin
      • My Son, My Son!, Howard Spring
      • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
      • Northwest Passage, Kenneth Roberts
      • All This, and Heaven Too, Rachel Field
      • The Rains Came, Louis Bromfield
      • And Tell of Time, Laura Krey
      • The Mortal Storm, Phyllis Bottome
      • Alexander's Ragtime Band premiered as a major hit with 26 Irving Berlin Songs.
      • scene from Alexander's Ragtime Band
    • Hellzapoppin opens on New York. It 1,404 performances it will become the biggest stage success of the decade.
      • cast of Hellzapoppin

        • War of the Worlds aired causing panic as listeners believe that aliens have landed.
        Orson Welles
        • The New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs in four games to win the World Series. (View newsreel)
        • Mary Martin, 24, appears in her first stage performance, Leave it to Me! She becomes a sensation after singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." (This show is also Gene Kelly's Broadway debut.)
        • Irving Berlin releases "God Bless America" with Kate Smith singing it on Armistice Day.
        Mary Martin
        • German measles during pregnancy is related to birth defects
        • Aaron Copland composes his ballet, Billy the Kid--called the first of his American works.
        • DeBeers creates an aid campaing entitled "Traditions" making diamond ring essential for engagement
        • Pearl S. Buck receives the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces."

        Pearl S. Buck
        Pearl S. Buck
        • Hitler announces support of Japan
        • Hitler occupies Austria. (View newsreel)
        • Edward R. Murrow gives his first CBS radio "News Roundup"
        • Japanese General Mobilization Law to free Asia from colonization and communism
        Edward R. Murrow
        Songs Released in 1938
        • "A-Tisket A-Tasket," Chuck Webb and Ella Fitzgerald
        • "Begin the Beguine," Benny Goodman
        • "Bei Mir Mist Du Shon," Andrews Sisters
        • "I'm Gonna Lock My Heart," Billie Holiday
        • Vincon-Trammel Navel Expansion Act passes including one billion dollar expanion of 2-ocean navy over ten years, expanion of bases and ports, 69 new ships, and increase to 40,000 tons for carriers
        . .
        • Korean border skirmish with Soviet troops
        • Kristallnacht ("Night of the Broken Glass")--Anti-Jewish riots in Germany and Austria
        1938 year in review