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The Value of a Dollar: 1860-2019


A century and a half of America’s consumer economy in one easy-to-use volume, The Value of a Dollar records the prices of thousands of items purchased from the Civil War to the present, along with facts about investment options and income opportunities.

Using this data, readers will get a sense of how prices changed over time and how those changes compare to the value of the dollar. This text gives readers a broader understanding of life in America through the wallets of real Americans.

The sixth edition includes new coverage from 2009 to 2019, along with a new Conversion Chart in each chapter to easily compare today’s dollar to that of the past.

Arranged into easy-to-read, 5-year chapters, each offers:

  • Historical Snapshot – a detailed chronology of key economic and historical events from each year
  • Consumer Expenditures – a report on per-capita expenditures of the day, organized by product type
  • Investments – a selection of yearly investment returns on a diversified portfolio of common stocks
  • Standard Income & Standard Prices - charts the salary and job listings for standard professions and the prices of a typical items from the period, allowing the reader to trace the progression of wages and prices over time
  • Everyday Prices & Food Basket – taken from advertisements of the time, this section lists prices of hundreds of everyday items, from apparel to furniture, sporting goods to real estate, to regional prices of ordinary food items
  • Miscellany – additional pricing information pulled from newspaper clips and encyclopedia entries
  • Illustrations, Advertisements & Graphs – enhance the reader’s experience to depict trends for over 100 items, supplemented with product facts.

Also available, The Value of a Dollar, 1600-1865 which records prices from the Colonial Era until the Civil War. A perfect title paired with The Value of a Dollar, 1860-2014.

Perfect for anyone curious about social history; students studying the topics that require knowledge about everyday life in America; teachers who seek information to enliven classroom discussions; writers who need access to the basic facts of America's commerce; business historians seeking data to establish a framework of wage and price information during a specific period; and reporters seeking to enhance a story with economic details.


Buy the Print & Get Free Online Access
Print edition buyers receive free online access to Value of a Dollar 1860-2014. With this feature, multiple users can research prices and incomes with ease and browse the entire rich compilation of historical and accessible economic data that The Value of a Dollar has to offer in one easy-to-use online format.

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Pub. Date: January 2019
Softcover: 758 pages
ISBN: 978-1-68217-949-9
Price: $155
Includes Free Online Access on the Salem Press Platform
e-ISBN: 978-1-68217-750-1
eBook User Price: $194