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The Morning Post was founded in 1772. Daniel Stuart purchased the newspaper in 1795 and by employing writers such as Samuel Coleridge, Robert Southey, William Wordsworth and Charles Lamb, increased its status and its circulation.
By 1855 there were ten newspapers published in London. The Times, at sevenpence, was the most expensive and had a circulation of 10,000. Its main rival, the Morning Post, cost fivepence. Both these two papers were badly hit by the arrival of the one penny Daily Telegraph.
In 1937 the Morning Post was purchased by Sir James Berry, the owner of the Daily Telegraph. Berry originally intended to publish it as a separate newspaper but sales were so poor that the two papers were amalgamated together.
The Morning Post, a newspaper of long and honourable tradition, and fine purpose, was suffering a decline in some ways similar to that of the Daily Telegraph, the chief reason of which was that it persistently and resolutely maintained a policy of extreme conservatism which had little support in the country at large. The decline had gone further than that of the Daily Telegraph because the circulation was lower. Lord Camrose's intention was not necessary to cease separate publication, and indeed the Morning Post continued independently for months. On consideration he decided that continuance was not a practical proposition. So the decision was taken to amalgamate.
The Washington Post
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The Washington Post, morning daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the dominant newspaper in the U.S. capital and usually counted as one of the greatest newspapers in that country.
The Post was established in 1877 as a four-page organ of the Democratic Party. For more than half a century it faced economic problems, caused partly by the competition that it faced. The paper was sold in 1889, resulting in the abandonment of the Democratic Party allegiance. It grew in size and reputation and came to be known as an extremely conservative publication.
Sold again in 1905 to John R. McLean, the paper embraced sensationalism and society reporting, and in 1916 McLean’s son succeeded to control. In the 1920s the paper lost stature, in part because its owner, Edward B. (Ned) McLean, was a close friend of Pres. Warren G. Harding, whose policies were generally believed to be too much reflected in the Post. Ned McLean’s management finally brought the paper from disrepute to bankruptcy, and in 1933 the financier Eugene Meyer purchased the paper out of receivership.
Meyer began to rebuild the Post’s character, emphasizing a sound and independent editorial stance and thorough, accurate, and well-written reporting. The Post became noted for its interpretative reporting, and the cartoons of Herbert L. Block ( Herblock) gave the editorial page a cutting edge, drawing much applause (mixed with denunciation from Herblock’s targets) and a wide readership. Meyer turned the paper over to his son-in-law, Philip L. Graham, in 1946, and Graham continued to expand and refine it.
The Post bought the Washington Times-Herald in 1954 and closed its former archconservative rival, acquiring in the process such circulation-building assets as rights to Drew Pearson’s column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round.” Under Graham the Post, staunchly internationalist in outlook and thriving economically, bought Newsweek magazine in 1961. Graham built up the paper’s foreign coverage and moved its reportage of the U.S. government consistently toward excellence. He took his own life in 1963 and was succeeded promptly and firmly by his wife, Katharine Meyer Graham. Her continuance and amplification of the progress that Philip Graham had made brought the Post new domestic and international prestige. For example, she moved editor Benjamin C. Bradlee from Newsweek to the Post.
On June 18, 1971, the Post began publishing excerpts of a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense report, later released in book form as The Pentagon Papers (1971), which disclosed the history of U.S. involvement in Indochina from World War II until 1968, including its role in the Vietnam War. The U.S. Department of Justice obtained a restraining order that suspended further publication of the classified material, but on June 30, 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court—in what is regarded as one of the most significant prior-restraint cases in history—lifted the order, allowing publication to resume.
Graham firmly supported her staff, including reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, in the subsequent discovery and disclosure of presidential complicity in the Watergate scandal. This political scandal surrounded the revelation of illegal activities on the part of the incumbent Republican administration of U.S. Pres. Richard M. Nixon during and after the 1972 presidential election campaign and eventually led to his resignation. In 1973 the Post won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the case.
The 1970s also brought about several new ventures at the Post, including the Washington Post Writers Group (1973)—its own syndication service—and the Washington Post Magazine (1977), as well as changes in leadership. In 1973 Graham was elected chief executive officer and chairman of the Post’s parent company, the Washington Post Company, although she retained her position as publisher of the Post newspaper. Three years later her son Donald E. Graham was appointed the paper’s executive vice president and general manager he succeeded her as publisher in 1979.
The Post continued to launch new initiatives well into the 1990s, including a weekly national edition (1983) and Post-Haste, a free telephone information service (1990). Owing to technological advances and the increasing prominence of the World Wide Web, the Post Company also formed the subsidiary Digital Ink Co. (1993)—a proprietary online news service, which later became Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (1996)—to handle its new media endeavours. The Post subsequently overhauled its print operations (1995), initiated a total redesign of its layout (1995), launched its official Web site (1996), and began using colour print in its art, graphics, and photographs (1999).
In the early 21st century, because of increasing financial difficulties in a struggling newspaper industry, the Post underwent a period of major restructuring, including the appointment of Donald’s niece Katharine Weymouth as publisher (2008), employee buyouts and layoffs, and the closure of its domestic branches (2009). In 2013 Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bought the newspaper and affiliated publications for $250 million.
The paper has won numerous awards for its content, including more than 60 Pulitzer Prizes.
This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.
"OK" enters national vernacular
On March 23, 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of 𠇊ll correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.
During the late 1830s, it was a favorite practice among younger, educated circles to misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang when talking to one another. Just as teenagers today have their own slang based on distortions of common words, such as “kewl” for 𠇌ool” or 𠇍Z” for “these,” the “in crowd” of the 1830s had a whole host of slang terms they abbreviated. Popular abbreviations included “KY” for “No use” (“know yuse”), “KG” for “No go” (“Know go”), and “OW” for all right (“oll wright”).
The cold morning of the day after
On January 6, my wife and I watched the live news broadcasts in disbelief at the scenes unfolding on television, as a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the constitutionally mandated joint session of Congress presided over by the vice president to ratify the 2020 election results. Often curators like to hold off on collecting about an event until the weight of history can sift and settle other times, we have to move quickly, or we’ll miss our chance.On January 7, this was the farthest I could advance before reaching temporary fencing. National Guard troops were spaced every 10 to 20 paces. The shredded cover over the inaugural scaffolding was the primary indicator of what transpired the previous day.
Knowing that many objects from the day’s rally and attack on the U.S. Capitol would quickly be discarded, I volunteered to go down to the National Mall and see what I could find. With approval secured an hour later, I pulled together the usual COVID-era curatorial “field kit” for the morning’s work: tote bags, gloves, face mask, business cards, identification badge, and a mental list of imagery and objects I had seen in news footage the day prior.
As I parked along the National Mall around an hour later, I saw a scene before me of routine. Cleaning crews were hauling away bags of trash and walking the grounds picking up loose material. I could see the first protest signs sticking out of trash cans lining the emerald grass fields. My collecting approach was simple: save materials clearly related to the rally and the attack that followed. The materials, devoid of their creators and users, constituted little more than trash unless saved and contextualized. With time of the essence, however, I could not stop and analyze every item. Instead, I essentially skimmed through the mass of material to pluck out items related to the rally and to COVID-19, as well as related 2020 campaign materials.
Every potential item offered history, but also the risk of contamination. Collecting under “normal” circumstances is tricky enough, but now I contend with the danger of exposure to COVID-19. Suffice to say, I wore a new mask and carried half a dozen pairs of nitrile gloves. After placing the first few signs in the trunk of my car, I began walking toward the Capitol. I saw small business cards, handouts, and leaflets in the bushes, scattered along the ground or tossed in the trash. As news media provided live updates from the National Mall, nary a camera or person noticed the solitary individual wearing rubber gloves, a grocery tote in one hand and a pile of signs in the other, digging through the trash cans.
Crossing over Seventh Street SW, the protest-related paraphernalia increased in volume and variety. Before reaching Third Street SW, I could see two large signs leaning on a signpost. One read “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS – STOP THE STEAL,” while an adjacent sign, ripped from the post, featured a smoking skull with a blond toupee bearing a similar message, “STOP THE 2020 STEAL.” Scooping up the two aluminum signs, I crossed over the street past a row of Virginia State Police cruisers and entered the grass of Union Square just west of the Capitol Reflecting Pool.
The first large item to greet me? A wooden structure on its side with signs affixed to the base. A square piece of plywood read “THIS IS ART.” Graffiti from a variety of hands covered the legs and sides of what I recognized as gallows, sans noose. Unable to remove pieces of the structure, I opted for photographs of the graffiti, with Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia referenced in ink amongst notes such as “Where are you Thomas Jefferson?! Revolution 2021. ” “hang the thieves,” “hang treason,” and “God Bless the USA.” A short distance ahead of me in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, a man waved the “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag, and exchanged curt comments with a few people seeking insight.
Walking around the pool on my way up to Capitol Hill, a line of Metropolitan police officers mingled with an array of law enforcement officials from Virginia and from assorted federal agencies. Reaching the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, a small crowd of maybe 20 stood in front of temporary fencing. Across First Street NW were uniformed National Guard troops, spaced 10 or 20 feet apart. The morning joggers, seemingly oblivious to the events of January 6, robotically moved along, pausing only when the troops directed them to move away from the Capitol. The battlefield of the previous day could be seen ahead. The most visible damage was ripped white material hanging in shreds from the scaffolding erected for the presidential inauguration of Joseph Biden on January 20. Stillness and an exhausted tension permeated the air.
Upon the ground were pieces of discarded equipment from an angry, invading force: signs, banners, a red bag of booklets including “The Continuing American Revolution.” An unknown hand had scratched “TRUMP” in the mud with a stick. I found a sign nearby reading “We’re Right We’re Free We’ll Fight You’ll See.” Hands full, I returned to my vehicle to drop off a dozen or so signs. For the next few hours, I returned several times to fill the trunk of my car, working automatically rather than attempting to digest the various messages and symbology of the objects. As a curator of military history, I felt contextualizing the political nature of these potential artifacts was best left to my political history colleagues. Following the sweep of grass around Union Square and the reflecting pool, the trash cans along the mall took priority.Finding a discarded flag alongside a crumpled rally sign reaffirmed how carelessly the symbols of democracy can be discarded yet are also so vitally important to preserve.
Words fail to describe the “joy” of rooting through public trash cans in search of protest-specific detritus. But between masses of discarded coffee cups, bags of dog waste, empty cigarette packs, and empty liquor bottles could be found other remnants of the previous day. A folder filled with photocopies of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the lyrics of which abolitionist Julia Ward Howe penned a mere mile away, 160 years ago. Flags, so prevalent in the imagery of the sixth, proved elusive. At last, a hint of blue fabric offered hope but proved instead to be a unique item, the word “PENCE” crudely cut off a banner. Farther down the mall, a small “Trump 2020” flag emerged from within the trash—accompanied by a small, mud-stained American flag. Half a mile away, our nation’s most celebrated flag, the Star-Spangled Banner, rested alone in a climate-controlled chamber, free of the COVID virus likely contaminating the material I had just collected. After three hours of walking up and down the National Mall, hands stiff from the cold, I decided to head home and report my progress to my supervisors.
The late Senator Robert Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.” Museum personnel are blessed with opportunities to save a small portion of events across our country, fragments of the present to help future generations understand and interpret one cold Wednesday in our nation’s capital. The events of January 6 will be debated for ages hence. The dirtied, scarred signs and artifacts collected the morning after will hopefully serve as physical reminders of the fragility of civility—and democracy.
Editor’s Note: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will accept a selection of the ephemera brought in as part of rapid response collecting related to the January 6 protest rallies prior to the siege on the Capitol. Materials that are not selected for the permanent collection may be made available to other museums or historical associations.
Frank Blazich Jr. is a curator in the Division of Political and Military History.
The Morning Call History
The Morning Call, the third largest newspaper in Pennsylvania and the leading media company in the Lehigh Valley, has nearly 120 years of publishing history in the Allentown -Bethlehem- Easton area of Pennsylvania.
The company's products reach nearly 70 percent of Lehigh Valley adults when the audience of themorningcall.com and The Morning Call are combined. That reach is even greater when specialty publications such as The Morning Call's Spanish weekly Fin de Semana, Go Guide Street and Inspire Health are added into its distribution mix.
In its community, The Morning Call brand is active additionally in many special initiatives: It conducts an annual survey of the region’s employees and announces the results in the Top Workplaces special publication at the beginning of each year, conducts a readers’ choice program of all area businesses, is an active community sponsor of events such as Musikfest and the Great Allentown Fair , and its special newscasts can be seen during games at the AAA IronPigs Coca-Cola Park and at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ PPL Center.
The Morning Call's history goes back to 1883 when The Critic, an Allentown newspaper, was founded. The editor, owner and chief reporter of the Critic was Samuel S. Woolever.
In what would become a family dynasty that would oversee the company for four decades, in 1894 Muhlenberg College senior David A. Miller went to work for the Critic as its sole reporter. Its owners were Charles Weiser, editor, and Kirt W. DeBelle, business manager.
A reader contest was involved in the naming of the newspaper when, in late 1894, the company said that a school boy or girl in Lehigh County would receive $5 in gold if he or she could guess the publication's new name. The identity of the lucky winner is lost to history, but on Jan. 1, 1895, Allentown City Treasurer A.L. Reichenbach, who had supervised the contest, read out the new name: "The Morning Call."
That same year, David A. Miller and his brother Samuel Miller were able to purchase their first shares of The Morning Call. It was the start of a series of stock buyouts that would leave the newspaper entirely in the hands of the Miller brothers by 1904. In that nine-year period, the Miller brothers worked to gather subscribers. In one case, David A. Miller even attended a corn husking party and had every family there signed up by the time he left.
By 1920, World War I and the work of the Millers had raised circulation to 20,000. A series of newspaper mergers that year, funded by Gen. Harry Clay Trexler, led to the Millers' sale of The Morning Call to the Trexler interests. It was only after Trexler's death in 1933, and at the urging of David A. Miller's sons, Donald P. and Samuel W., that David A. Miller returned to the newspaper in 1934. In 1935 The Morning Call acquired the sole remaining Allentown newspaper, The Chronicle and News, and renamed it the Evening Chronicle. In 1938 the Sunday Call-Chronicle was first published.
In 1951, David A. Miller assumed the official title of president of the Call-Chronicle newspapers. He would keep that post until his death in 1958 at the age of 88. That September his sons, Donald and Samuel, were named publishers. After Samuel's death in 1967, Donald P. Miller continued to run the newspaper. He did so with his son, Edward D. Miller, until the late 1970s when Edward became executive editor and publisher.
The Evening Chronicle went to press for the last time in 1980. In 1981 Edward D. Miller left the newspaper, and Donald P. Miller returned as chairman. The publisher and chief executive officer was Bernard C. Stinner. They retained control of the newspaper until 1984, when it was sold to The Times Mirror Company, joining the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and Southern Connecticut Newspapers Inc., publishers of the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Times. Gary K. Shorts was publisher and chief executive officer from 1987 until succeeded by Guy Gilmore in 2000. Susan Hunt was named publisher in June 2001.
In September 1996, The Morning Call launched its website.
In 2000, Times Mirror was acquired by the Tribune Company, merging 11 newspapers, 22 television stations, four radio stations, a cable TV company, and Tribune Interactive.
In February 2006, Timothy R. Kennedy was named publisher.
In 2010, Timothy E. Ryan, the publisher and CEO of The Baltimore Sun Media Group, also became The Morning Call's publisher and CEO.
In August 2014, The Morning Call became part of Tribune Publishing Company as the former Tribune Co. spun-off its publishing businesses.
In January 2016, Richard Daniels, president & CEO of the Hartford Courant Media Group, became publisher and CEO of The Morning Call after serving in that role on an interim basis since September 2015.
In March 2016, editor David M. Erdman was elevated to the dual role of publisher and editor-in-chief of The Morning Call. In May 2016, Erdman retired after a 35-year career with the company.
Robert York, a San Diego Union-Tribune executive whose newspaper career includes taking photos, editing, marketing and advertising, was named the new publisher and editor-in-chief and started in that role in August 2016. In August 2018, York departed The Morning Call to lead the New York Daily News.
What History Can Teach Us About the Post-COVID Economy
How habits, fear, and sunk costs can reshape economic behavior.
"The new normal" has become part of our lexicon this year, in all areas of life.
Will it become "normal" to wear masks during flu season? Will companies determine that workers are just as productive from home and fully embrace remote work? Will consumers permanently close the door on shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in favor of ordering groceries and supplies online?
To investigate the means through which these shifts could happen—and the likelihood that they will—we identified three main ways the coronavirus could shape the economy long after the pandemic has subsided:
- Habits could evolve, causing lasting change in consumer behavior. As an example of the impact of habits, consider the rise of recycling in the United States over the past several decades. This shift was due in part to the advent of Earth Day in 1970 and the nationwide campaign encouraging Americans to "reduce, reuse, recycle." The Environmental Protection Agency reported that 34.7% of municipal solid waste was recycled in 2015, as compared with 6.6% in 1970.
- Fear can make consumers reluctant to engage in certain activities—in this case, fear of the next pandemic (including a COVID-19 resurgence). An instance where fear led to consumer shifts is when research in the 1960s demonstrated the health risks of smoking cigarettes. This led to a permanent reduction in cigarette sales—approximately 42% of U.S. adults smoked in 1964, compared with approximately 19% in 2011.
- Sunk costs, or costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recouped, could change the long-term plans of consumers and firms. A classic example of sunk costs is the Concorde. British and French manufacturers poured such exorbitant sums into developing the aircraft in the 1950s and 1960s that the jet never became profitable over the decades it was commercially available. (This was such a notorious incident that the sunk-cost fallacy is sometimes also referred to as the Concorde fallacy.)
We explored these three avenues to try to understand what the world could be like after COVID-19. To get a sense of how they've taken shape in the past, and what this could mean for the present moment, we considered five historical events that we believe are comparable to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- World War II and rationing
- World War II and female labor force participation
- The oil price shock of the 1970s
- 9/11 and air travel
- Pandemics of recent history
We analyzed the overall impact of each of these events on long-term economic behavior, and gauged whether habits, fear, and sunk costs fundamentally changed the way people and businesses acted in their aftermath.
What Plays the Biggest Role in Changing Consumer Behavior?
There are three key themes that we think could affect the post-pandemic world: 1) the increase in working from home 2) the future of industries that were severely hit by social distancing concerns during the pandemic, such as dine-in restaurants, air travel, hospitality, and large events and 3) increased adoption of e-commerce and other digital services.
The exhibit below maps out how we think each of these themes will be influenced by habits, fear, and sunk costs.
Habits have evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of social distancing concerns, as many people have cut back on normal activities such as eating at restaurants, traveling by air, attending large events, and shopping at physical stores.
Will this short-term shift in habits lead to long-term changes in consumer behavior? Companies and industries impacted by this reduction in demand are underperforming in the market, implying that investors think it will.
Many of the industries shaped by changes in habits are the same ones that could be impacted by fear of the next pandemic or a COVID-19 resurgence. It's difficult to predict how this fear will shape consumer behavior—especially once an effective vaccine is developed and distributed—but awareness around the possibility of another pandemic may linger in people's minds. While the odds that anyone will continue to avoid eating in a restaurant because of that risk seem low, it's possible that fear may remain around the largest and densest kinds of social gatherings (such as public transit or air travel).
There's also the matter of sunk costs, which are probably the least intuitive and least discussed of the three concepts. Essentially, the pandemic has forced consumers and firms to incur costs they otherwise would not have for instance, purchasing home office equipment to facilitate remote working. Once the pandemic is over, the impetus for the purchase decision will have disappeared, but people will still have the home office equipment, so working from home will continue to be marginally more attractive.
Sunk costs can also come in other, nonmonetary forms, like time. Consider that the surge in working from home has required extensive time on the part of managers, as they've needed to craft work-from-home capabilities, such as drawing up policies and learning the best ways to communicate with remote workers. This may not have been considered a valuable use of their time before the pandemic, but now that firms have been forced to incur this cost, the issue is no longer relevant, and the necessary work-from-home systems are in place.
Similarly, consumers also have limited amounts of time. When people turned to shopping online instead of at brick-and-mortar stores because of social distancing, previously reluctant consumers acclimated themselves to e-commerce out of necessity. Now that they've gotten more comfortable with shopping online, they might continue to do so out of convenience long after the pandemic.
How Do Extreme Shocks Drive Long-Term Economic Behavior?
To better understand how the world might look different after COVID-19, we used these three concepts in our analysis of the five analogous historical episodes that had a significant short-term impact on consumer behavior.
The exhibit below maps out the degree to which each of these episodes led to fundamental long-term changes in economic behavior, based on these three means.
Altogether, our analysis of these historical episodes indicates that there's, at best, modest support for the idea that COVID-19 will affect long-term consumer habits.
Each of these shocks had some impact on short-term consumer behavior, but more often than not, habits eventually reverted to more closely resemble previous behaviors and fear subsided sooner or later. Though each episode was unique, we note that sunk costs were the means through which a longer-term impact most frequently occurred.
The Economic Impact of Food Rationing During World War II
Residents of the United Kingdom were subject to rationing of some combination of petrol, meat, fish, cheese, and more between 1939 and 1954. The island nation imports approximately 70% of its food and was therefore exposed to massive supply-chain disruption as a result of World War II. The rationing continued after the war as the U.K. redistributed food and resources to war-devastated countries under British control.
Did this period of deprivation have a lasting impact on consumer behavior? The fact that it lasted for so long makes the possibility of permanent change seem more likely.
The exhibit below shows the sharp negative impact that rationing had on the demand for key food items. At their respective troughs, per capita meat consumption declined as much as 32%, fat (butter, margarine, and others) 21%, sugar 35%, and eggs 64%.
However, Britons clearly didn't get accustomed to these austere eating habits. Food consumption rebounded in the early 1950s as rationing was relaxed, and by the mid-1950s, consumption of meat, fat, sugar, and eggs was far in excess of prewar levels.
Therefore, wartime rationing didn't have a noticeable long-term economic impact in general, our analysis shows that demand for rationed goods fully recovered after the war.
Did World War II Advance the Rise of Women in the Workforce?
Also during World War II, the number of men off at war and wartime production needs led to a spike in the number of women working outside the home. These catalysts didn't last—the men came home, and those elevated wartime production levels died down—but did this episode play a role in the continued rise of women in the workforce?
Habit may have played a role in this shift as both women and their families became more accustomed to their working. Sunk costs also had some importance as firms needed to experiment with employing more women—and, by all accounts, this experiment was successful in terms of productivity.
But overall, we believe the movement toward greater female labor force participation during the war had only a modest impact on the long-term trend. The fact is that female labor participation in the U.S. was already on the rise, and the 1940s hardly stand out in terms of the trend's longer-term adoption.
The exhibit below shows that the increase during the 1940s tracks with that of other decades—about 6 percentage points, right in line with the average decade from 1930 to 1990.
One could argue that the fast growth in the decades after the 1940s was jump-started by the war, but we think other factors were more important. For instance, economists have proposed the importance of:
- for service-sector and office jobs,
- changes in household production technology,
- removal of barriers to employment for married women, in maternity care (which reduced birth-related mortality and disability),
- the rise of feminism,
- the invention of contraception pills (which enabled women to plan careers and family life more reliably),
- an increase in education levels among women, and
- wage convergence.
It's worth noting that for all the gains women have made in workforce participation over the decades, COVID-19 could threaten these advancements, at least in the short term.
Research by McKinsey has indicated that women's jobs have been 1.8 times more vulnerable than men's jobs during the pandemic: Although women make up 39% of the global workforce, they account for 54% of overall job losses. This disparity may be because this recession has most affected the industries where female labor is concentrated, such as restaurants, healthcare, and hospitality, and because school and daycare closures have increased childcare needs.
Working women with children are especially vulnerable. According to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group, working women spend on average 15 hours per week more on unpaid domestic labor than do working men. As needs for at-home childcare and other home responsibilities increase, women might be more likely than men to give up their jobs because they tend to have lower salaries and earning expectations.
What the Oil Price Shock of the 1970s Meant for Consumer Behavior
These themes also surfaced during the oil price shock of the 1970s, when oil prices averaged $63 a barrel—250% higher than the average from the decade prior—because of a series of supply-side shocks. Unsurprisingly, these severe price increases led to a major drop in consumer demand: Demand growth averaged 0.5% between 1974 and 1985, compared with 7.0% growth between 1940 and 1973.
Oil prices began declining again in 1986 (averaging $32 a barrel from 1986 to 2000), but the exhibit below shows that consumer demand never "caught up" to its pre-1974 average after the price shocks. Rather, oil demand grew merely 1.7% from 1986 to 2000.
So, why did demand remain depressed—and why didn't fuel efficiency levels revert—when oil prices returned to a more affordable level?
Because during the price shocks, the automotive industry had invested in fuel-efficient vehicles in order to make it possible for people to continue to travel at the same rate. And the sunk costs incurred as part of this effort meant that people never fully reverted to driving less-efficient vehicles.
These sunk costs took shape in two main ways:
- Political sunk costs. Fuel standards weren't relaxed when oil prices fell. This owed to both governmental inertia and budding concerns about climate change. Enacting powerful legislation requires a large amount of time, effort, and deal-making. Once politicians had already incurred the costs of developing fuel-efficient cars, rolling back standards wasn't a worthy use of time and resources.
- Monetary sunk costs. Many of the technologies involved in boosting fuel efficiency, such as research-and-development and manufacturing capabilities, were essentially sunk costs. Continued progress in these areas even allowed average fuel efficiency to hold steady in the 1990s and 2000s as consumers switched to buying heavier vehicles such as SUVs and trucks.
Therefore, we believe that the oil shock did indeed have a permanent economic impact with regard to demand for fuel consumption.
Did 9/11 Permanently Depress Air Travel?
The state of U.S. air travel after Sept. 11, 2001, also has clear similarities to the current situation.
Just as fear of COVID-19 has driven recent short-term decreases in demand for air travel and other high-density activities, consumers' fear of terrorist attacks after 9/11 led to a significant decline in air travel for several years. According to a Gallup survey conducted immediately after 9/11, 43% of Americans said they were less willing to fly on airplanes because of the attacks. This number remained at about 30% throughout 2002.
Additionally, this fear of air travel after 9/11 may have brought about a permanent change in consumer habits.
The exhibit below shows the significant short-term impact of 9/11 on U.S. air travel. Industry revenue passenger miles (the standard way of gauging airline industry volume) and the number of passengers lagged real gross domestic product in the years after 9/11.
However, the exhibit also shows that the short-run economic impact of 9/11 started to dissipate in 2004. Revenue passenger miles began catching up to GDP and, by the later 2010s, the ratio of air travel to GDP had even surpassed pre-9/11 levels. At least at the big-picture level, 9/11 had a marginal long-term impact on air travel, despite the substantial shock in the short run.
We did identify one larger long-term economic impact of 9/11 on air travel: business travel. We think that as business customers were forced to cancel work trips in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, they realized that the telephone and newer communications technologies like email were effective substitutes for these trips. This caused a structural shift in the market and allowed more leisure-focused low-cost carriers to take on greater market share. It also forced legacy carriers to retreat to international travel, which is more structurally protected from low-cost competition.
How applicable are these lessons to understanding the post-COVID-19 world? Again, the big picture is that air travel post-9/11 mostly recovered in aggregate, even after being depressed for a multiyear period. Short-haul business travel did appear to be permanently affected, but it's possible that this trend would've played out either way with the advent of new communications technologies.
For that reason, we think 9/11 had at most a modest impact on long-term air travel. The fear initially created by the attacks did depress consumer demand for air travel in the short run, but this effect eventually faded.
The Economic Impact—or Lack Thereof—From Other Pandemics
Finally, we examined the history of recent pandemics for lessons on COVID-19's potential impact on economic behavior.
The most severe pandemic in recent history was the Spanish flu of 1918-20, which resulted in at least 50 million deaths across the globe. This pandemic caused massive short-term disruptions to society, and familiar social distancing measures—face mask mandates, school and theater closures, and canceled public gatherings—were enacted in order to contain the virus. While some studies have concluded that social trust deteriorated as a result of the Spanish flu, it's difficult to reach any concrete conclusions about its economic impact, since it occurred roughly concurrently with World War I.
As for other 21st century pandemics (like SARS, H7N9, and H1N1), these episodes had nowhere near the short-term impact of COVID-19, though they may have contributed to a few minor changes. For instance, SARS led to the widespread acceptance of face masks in China and Hong Kong and may have played a supporting role in China's e-commerce adoption.
Lessons Learned About Potential Changes to Economic Behavior
There is considerable debate about what we can expect for the long-term economic impact of COVID-19. Perhaps the pandemic will dramatically accelerate ongoing shifts in the economy (such as the shift from brick-and-mortar retail to e-commerce), or perhaps it will create new trends entirely (such as permanent shifts away from dine-in restaurants or air travel). Equity markets are implying a major reshaping of the U.S. economy compared with how it looked before the pandemic.
While we believe that the long-term economic calculus of consumers and firms may be impacted by shifting consumer habits, lingering fear, and sunk costs incurred, our analysis of five similar historical episodes suggests that these resulting changes will be modest at best. Our analysis indicates that consumer habits eventually revert, and fear eventually dissipates. It's sunk costs that have the largest—yet still a modest—impact on long-term consumer behaviors.
On the Hill
PULSE CHECK: Biden told Republicans on Monday that he wants to listen to whatever alternative proposal they have on infrastructure, since clearly they’re unhappy with raising corporate tax rates and Democrats’ expansive infrastructure definition, Pro’s Tanya Snyder reports.
As for that split-bill idea from Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), the idea came up briefly during Monday's bipartisan White House meeting but didn’t seem to persuade anyone in either direction, Tanya reports. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Monday that the proposal could be split into as many as four proposals. In other words, nothing seems to be totally ruled out (except raising federal taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year, as Biden made clear last month).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE: Manchin wants tax credits for wind and solar to go to states that have lost fossil fuel jobs, he said during a National Press Club event Monday with the United Mine Workers of America. “That was never done. That’s the injustice that we talk about and that’s what has to be corrected.” Manchin also said he would fight against any losses of existing coal mining jobs in the country as Congress considers infrastructure spending Pro’s Anthony Adragna has more.
FIRST IN ME: Manchin is writing to Biden today to save the nation’s fleet of nuclear power plants, saying the “federal government must use all the tools it has to protect this vital resource.” Manchin said nuclear power would be crucial in reaching the administration’s emissions goals. Read the letter here.
FOLLOW UP: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, is raising concern that EPA’s work to address toxic PFAS has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, saying in a letter sent Monday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan requesting a briefing, that “it now appears that more than a dozen of EPA’s PFAS research and development activities are behind schedule.”
GREEN NEW DEAL: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is reintroducing the controversial Green New Deal resolution this week, she revealed on her Instagram story. She and her progressive allies, including Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) plan to unveil the latest iteration at a press conference today, E&E News reports.
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The most common morning coat configuration is black, usually herringbone weave, with a single button closure and peaked lapels (cumbersomely called a double-breasted lapel in the UK, for no good reason). This style was uncommon in the 19th century but reached the ‘peak’ of its popularity in the 1930s and is arguably the most stylish and elegant of all. Edward VIII, fashion icon, abdicator and Nazi sympathiser, is wearing this configuration in virtually all photographs of him in morning dress. Indeed, it is the style which has persisted to the present day and, unfortunately, you will be hard pressed to find anything straying from this at any contemporary menswear retailers. That said, it does look bloody good:
The Duke of Windsor and some woman on their Wedding Day
Earlier morning coats generally varied much more, with different lapels, colours and button configurations, and many of these variations will be explored below.
Today, the most commonly seen divergeance from the norm is the grey morning coat. A dark oxford grey can be worn as if black, with the appropriate accompanying waistcoat and trousers, though these are rarely encountered. The effect of oxford grey is to soften the overall appearance of the outfit when compared with true black:
Morning coat by Knize in oxford grey, featuring a horrendous silver ascot tie.
Lighter grey morning coats are also available, and these are generally worn as a complete matching suit. In the vast majority of cases the trousers and waistcoat match, though it is not unheard of for a contrasting waistcoat to be worn. Supreme formalists may argue that only a full suit of grey is acceptable, but this shouldn’t matter if it’s pulled off well, and it is a style that has created a respectable pedigree for itself in recent decades:
The Prince of Wales in matching greys with the Duke of Edinburgh in greys with contrasting waistcoat
Dark blue or navy is occasionally on offer from hire establishments, but it’s very rare to see this colour pulled off with any degree of success, with the exception of best-dressed-man-of-the-millenium Hall Walker, MP., and is therefore best avoided.
Lapels & Buttons
Generally speaking, a peaked lapel is an indicator of formality. Notched (or step, or single-breasted) lapels do exist on morning coats, though they were much more common when frock coats were still in circulation, as they were considered a less formal alternative. Now that the frock coat has been supplanted, the peaked lapel is de rigueur, but a notched lapel ought to not be entirely ruled out.
Woodrow Wilson introduces Neville Chamberlain to the concept of notched lapels.
Often, especially when considering vintage options, a notched lapel may be found accompanied by a 2 or even 3 button closure. This is a quintessentially historic look but looks excellent on the right figure, and can flatter those who are more bounteous around the middle.
Two button, notched lapel Edwardian morning coat
Most pre-1920s morning coats have buttons covered with a geometrically patterned damask silk fabric, a feature which can now only be found on top end bespoke garments.
Even rarer than notched lapel morning coats are those with a shawl lapel. This is a look which has never ‘had its day,’ like its peaked and notched brothers, and seems to have hovered on the fringe of obscurity, the exclusive preserve of the sartorially adventurous rather than the common man.
"Oh my bones are aching. Storm's coming up Eddie, you'd better get home quick."
Another lapel option which is really never seen nowadays, and which is very much a hangover from the days of the frock coat, is the slightly fancy addition of silk facings. It’s not worth saying much about these as they are so rare and don’t look good enough to warrent resurrection.
The Morning Dress ambassador to Wikipedia is, like a lot of things on Wikipedia, interesting, but not very good
Equally obscure is the double breasted morning coat, a garment that virtually never appears on ebay, or indeed, anywhere. However, the Duke of Marlborough was kind enough to wear one, or at least be caricatured wearing one, in Vanity Fair magazine, 1898.
Churchill's grandfather overdressed at a David Niven look-alike-competition, 1898
Edging, or piping , basically consists of covering all of the of a morning coat with grossgrain silk ribbon and is a feature that you are unlikely to to able to find outside of modern day or vintage Savile Row (with the exception of Favourbrook, who seem to live for edged morning coats). Old photographs will lead you to believe that this was a common feature of morning coats, but in several years of searching ebay and rumaging through literally hundreds of morning coats in vintage clothing shops, we have seen hardly any in the flesh. It is, however, an undeniably great look, and like a lot of things with morning dress, best illustrated by royalty.
Prince Philip prepares an inappropriate bon mot to greet Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar
Outside of the 1970s, this feature is only really ever seen on black morning coats and in combination with a similarly taped single or double breasted matching waistcoat. This is merely an observation, not a rule – there are instances of it being paired with a contrasting waistcoat – most notably by Prince Charles yet again, at his second wedding. It would be nice to show this style of morning coat modelled by somebody unconnected with the royal family – but we didn’t pay £2 for Edward VIII, His Life and Reign for nothing:
Edward VIII, who married a divorcee on his first attempt
As mentioned above, probably the most commonly used cloth for morning coats is a fine wool herringbone. In the past, heavier weight cloths appear to have been favoured, but now, as almost all morning-dress wearing opportunities occur during the summer months (weddings, races etc.) lighter weight fabrics are favoured. In our opinion, thicker cloths hang better and look better under daylight.
Transition and Rebirth
The Saturday Evening Post’s revival was due in great part to the continuing affection Americans felt for the magazine and to Beurt SerVaas’s business savvy and determination. After SerVaas bought the magazine and restarted the printing presses, the Post’s initial run of 500,000 copies sold out immediately they reprinted 180,000 more and sold those as well.
At the time, SerVaas was known as an entrepreneur who specialized in turning around troubled companies. His life before the Post was as complex and varied as the man himself.
As a student, he hitchhiked to Mexico to learn Spanish. As America was entering World War II, he was graduating from Indiana University with degrees in chemistry, history, and Spanish. He was soon recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to the CIA, where he was sent on missions in China. There he helped the Chinese resistance against Japanese invaders and met with such historical figures as Ho Chi Minh, Chiang Kai-shek, and Mao Zedong.
After World War II, SerVaas ran a fledgling electronics company and then took on the task of revitalizing a silver-plating business. He married Cory Jane Synhorat, and together they marketed Cory’s invention that made it easier to sew aprons. The business was very successful.
Beurt and Cory SerVaas. (SerVaas family photo)
The Saturday Evening Post was not SerVaas’s first foray into turning around magazines. Before buying the Post, he had also revived Trap and Field and Child Life.
In 1969, he learned of the troubles at Curtis Publishing. When he purchased Curtis, he not only got The Saturday Evening Post, but also Holiday and Jack and Jill magazines as part of the bargain.
SerVaas quickly sold off Curtis’s forests, paper mills, circulation department, and book company to focus on the magazine business.
The Post was initially revived as a quarterly publication that sold for $1. It retained its 11 x 13 inch size and revived the masthead of the 1920s and s, the years when the Post became an American institution.
The very first issue brought back famed celebrity interviewer Pete Martin to interview Ali McGraw, commissioned William Hazlitt Upson to write another Alexander Botts story, and followed up on former Post boys (the young boys —and some girls — who sold the Post).
In the first issue, the editors wrote, “The goal of its revival is to re-establish the greatness and the simple grandeur that were its distinction over so many magnificent years.”
When Norman Rockwell announced on national television that he would be illustrating for the magazine again, subscriptions rose sharply, quickly reaching 350,000.
In 1982, the Post was purchased from Curtis Publishing by the Benjamin Franklin Literary Society, which was founded by Cory SerVaas. The Post beccame a non-profit entity that would focus on Cory’s passions: health, medicine, and volunteering.
In 2013, in another reinvention, the magazine returned to its original philosophy: celebrating America, past, present, and future. Since then, the Post has focused on the elements that have always made it popular: good story telling, fiction, art, and history. Today, it publishes a print magazine six times a year and is also vastly expanding its online offerings to include videos, podcasts, and the complete magazine archive.
March/April 2018 of the Saturday Evening Post
Everyone loves a good story, and for nearly 200 years The Saturday Evening Post has told America’s story in real time. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to reflect on the narratives that make our country what it is today.
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The History of the Morning Coat
The Rake‘s sartorial guru delves into the history of the morning coat, from its origins in the late 19th century to its place at Royal Ascot today.
The morning coat remains the single-most formal item of day clothing in the English gentleman’s wardrobe. It can be traced back to the late 19th century and is a derivative of a frock coat that had been modified for horse riding. The straight front edges of the frock were curved back into an elegant sweep to free the rider’s knees from flapping coat edges. The side pockets were removed to accentuate the waist and the silk-facings were omitted. By the Edwardian era, it was a youthful rival to the more traditional frock coat, a development that was encouraged by the normally conservative sartorial trade paper, The Tailor & Cutter. The trade journal applauded the new morning coat for being “delightfully suave” and described it, rather wonderfully, as an “elegant mean” of the lounge suit and frock coat.
George V was the last English king to wear a frock coat but, considering he still had his trousers pressed with side-creases, he is not what we would now call an “early adopter”. His son, the Prince of Wales, was a fan of comfort in his cloths and disliked the “boiled shirts” of his father. When he ascended the throne to become Edward VIII in 1936, one of his first actions was to abolish the frock coat for wear at Court.
And the morning coat has remained in place ever since. When realised in the classic combination of black wool coat with a matching or contrasting vest, and striped grey “cashmere” trousers, it can and should be worn for the following events: the State Opening of Parliament, Investitures, royal garden parties, weddings, memorial services and the race meetings of Epsom and Ascot. We could even describe morning dress as the national costume of England we do not have an “official” national dress and it is more relevant than the Beefeater, Morris dancer or postcard punk that is sometimes used on lazy tourist marketing material to promote tourism. But the trouble is it “puts that terrible word, class, into classic”, as Paul Keers comments in A Gentleman’s Wardrobe – the morning coat is the uniform of the toff. It has associations with public schools (the Eton College uniform is a version of morning dress) and champagne-quaffing hoorays in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot. The class system is alive and well in England. If you compare morning dress to the magnificent Highland dress, which is worn in Scotland on formal occasions, you do not make a class assumption when you see a gentleman in a kilt, but morning dress reeks of privilege.
On a good day, I would describe myself as just about scraping into “lower-middle class” but I elected to wear morning dress for my own nuptials. I recall sharing my wedding photographs with a colleague who preceded to make the comment, “I didn’t know you were posh?” I had to convince them that I had not been “hiding” my class and that I wasn’t privately educated! Politicians are nervous of this association and often try to avoid being seen formally attired so as to avoid accusations of being ‘out of touch’.
But good quality morning dress is thriving and there are so many ways that you can, tastefully, play with conventions. The standard coat has a peaked lapel, but tailor Antonia Ede suggests a rarely seen notch lapel as an absolutely correct and elegant change of pace. Antonia is also a fan of checked trousers over the more conventional stripe and will even suggest a raised outside-seam a very old-school “spivvy” detail that would be spot on for Royal Ascot.
The three-piece morning suit in matching grey has been fashionable since the 1930s and there is often some confusion as to when it can be worn. It is considered less formal than the black coat and is associated with Royal Ascot but can be worn by the groom and father of the bride at a wedding. If you are looking to acquire a grey morning suit, I would always suggest a mid-toned shade of sharkskin or herringbone and, if you are feeling adventurous, I a shawl collar. Juan Carlos, Head Cutter at Oliver Brown, has created one of the most original grey morning coats with a rounded lapel. The combination of curved fronts and shawl collar provides a balance in the design that makes you question why it is not more popular.
The current Prince of Wales is a master of morning dress and is always absolutely correct in his choices. He alternates between a black coat with silk-taped edges and a grey pick and pick morning suit, both with slipped double-breasted vests. His starched collar, small-knotted tie, stick-pin, pocket square and buttonhole are always harmonious, but never too matched. Charles also combines different textures and colours with ease and confidence. When he finally becomes king (and my money is on George VII as his regnal name) I doubt very much he will ban any mode of formal dress from court.