What Else Was Happening in 1931?

The year the E.N. Huyck Preserve was founded, lots of other things were going on, too. Here are just a few of the events taking place in 1931.  

  • At 102 stories and 1,250 feet high, New York’s Empire State Building became the world’s tallest building. (1)
  • New York Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig drove in a record 184 runs. (1)
  • The “Star-Spangled Banner,” by Francis Scott Key, was approved by President Herbert Hoover and Congress as the national anthem. The lyrics of the anthem were inspired during the bombing of Fort McHenry by British ships at the head of Baltimore harbor in September of 1814. (2)
  • Bell Laboratories radio engineer Karl Guthe Jansky discovered radio waves emitted by objects outside the solar system, laying the basis for modern radio astronomy. (1)
  • The George Washington Bridge opened to traffic between New York City and New Jersey. (6)
  • Boris Karloff starred in the title role of the movie Frankenstein and Bela Lugosi played the vampire in the horror film Dracula,. (5)
  • The fungus that causes Dutch elm disease was introduced into the U.S. (3)
  • Swiss chemist Paul Karrer and others first synthesized vitamin A, leading to a greater understanding of the role of vitamins in general and the synthesis of others. (1)
  • Pearl Buck published her popular Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Good Earth. (1)
  • Dick Tracy was created by cartoonist Chester Gould. (1)
  • Alka Seltzer was introduced. (3)
  • American pathologist Ernest William Goodpasture developed a way to grow virus cultures in eggs, a technique fundamental to the development of vaccines for diseases such as polio and influenza. (1)
  • A swarm of grasshoppers destroyed thousands of acres of crops in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. The corn fields were totally destroyed, without a stalk left standing. (3)
  • Thomas Alva Edison, whose many inventions included the the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting light bulb, died. (3)
  • Luke Weisgram of Sweets Industry of America invented the “Tootsie Pop (4); General Mills introduced Bisquick (3); Clarence Birdseye introduced his new frozen foods to the market (5); and Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip and the chocolate chip cookie. (5)
  • Jacob Schick invented the electric razor.

  • The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer was first published. (7)
  • The state of Nevada legalized gambling. (2)


1. Brownstone, David; Franck, Irene. Timelines of the 20th Century; New York: Little, Brown and Company; 1996.

2. America’s Best History: U.S. History Timeline 1930-1939; http://americasbesthistory.com/abhtimeline1930.html

3. Food History Timeline
1931 to 1935; http://www.foodreference.com/html/html/food-history-1930.html

4. Food Inventions of the 1930s: http://www.ehow.com/info_8553068_food-inventions-1930s.html

5. What Were Some Inventions of the 1930s? http://www.ehow.com/info_8090443_were-inventions-1930s.html

6. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey/George Washington Bridge/History; http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-history.html

7. Most Popular Books Published in 1931; http://www.goodreads.com/book/popular_by_date/1931

About L. Stephenson Carter

L. Stephenson Carter is a science writer/editor and was also on the board of directors of the E.N. Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, NY.
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1 Response to What Else Was Happening in 1931?

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