Notable Events and Statistics of 1931

President: Herbert Hoover

U.S. Population:  124,000,000

Cost of a first-class stamp:  $0.02

Unemployment:  15.9%

Albert Einstein begins doing research at the California Institute of Technology.

Thomas Edison submits his last patent application.

Release of the movie City Lights starring Charlie Chaplin. 

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin gives speech calling for rapid industrialization.

Official inauguration ceremonies for New Delhi as the capital of India begin.

Vatican Radio makes its first broadcasts.

The original film version of Dracula staring Bela Lugosi is released in the United States.

The USS Arizona is placed back in full commission after a refit.

The Star Spangled Banner is adopted as the United States’ national anthem.

Nevada legalizes gambling.

American television actor Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s Spock) is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

An earthquake destroys Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000 people.

The automobile manufacturer Porsche is founded by Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart.

Construction of the Empire State Building is completed in New York City.

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory is put on display for the first time in Paris at the Galerie Pierre Colle.

The Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoner of war enters into force.

John Haven Emerson perfects his negative pressure ventilator ("iron lung”) just in time for the onset of the polio epidemic.

The millennialist Bible Student Movement adopts the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” at a meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

The China Floods reach their peak in possibly the deadliest natural disaster yet recorded.

Japanese military stage the Mukden Incident as a pretext for the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

The United Kingdom abandons the gold standard.

Chester Gould’s  comic strip detective character Dick Tracy makes his debut appearance in the Detroit Mirror newspaper.

American gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion in Chicago.

The Chinese Soviet Republic is proclaimed by Mao Zedong.

Heavy hydrogen, later named deuterium, is discovered by chemist Harold Clayton Urey.

James Whale's film Frankenstein  premieres in New York.

Jane Addams becomes the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thomas Edison dies.

© Steven Oberlander 2015