HOOVERVILLE

What could be more insulting than having all the economic miseries of life named after you? That’s what happened to President Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression. The wretched shantytowns of the homeless were known as Hoovervilles. Hoover flags were empty pockets, turned inside out in hopes of finding a stray coin. Newspapers that men wrapped around themselves when sleeping rough were called Hoover blankets. Hoover shoes featured cardboard linings to cover the holes in the soles. Even a busted flush in poker was nicknamed a Hoover flush. Like “malefactors of great wealth,” “Hooverville” made a brief comeback with the economic downturn of 2008.

Hooverville, Seattle, ca.1932-1937

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