Originally created 04/17/99

1928: A look at the 20th Century



The presidential election of 1928 wasn't much of a nail-biter.

The candidates came down on opposite sides of the Prohibition issue, with Republican Herbert Hoover supporting the constitutional amendment banning alcohol and Democrat Alfred E. Smith advocating an end to Prohibition.

Smith carried only eight states, sending Hoover to the White House with a mandate for continuing Prohibition.

The son of a Quaker blacksmith, Hoover was raised with strict rules and morals. In sharp contrast, Smith -- the first Roman Catholic nominated for president by a major political party -- widely attacked Prohibition from his office as New York governor.

Smith, a self-described "wet" Catholic, campaigned aggressively for the repeal of Prohibition.

Smith was rejected heavily in the South, encountering harsh opposition from Prohibitionists, Protestant leaders and the Ku Klux Klan.

The Augusta Chronicle published remarks Sept. 23, 1928, by William H. Fleming, who led a convention of Dry Democrats in Macon. Despite their affiliation with the Democratic Party, the Dry Democrats held firm in their support of Prohibition.

Smith failed to get support from them and Democrats like them, and Hoover became the nation's 31st president with much more than half the popular vote. Charles Curtis of Kansas was Hoover's vice president.

Also in 1928, Walt Disney released the world's first fully synchronized sound cartoon, Steamboat Willy, with Mickey Mouse. The cartoon premiered at New York's Colony Theater.

Chrysler Corp. unveiled plans for its new world headquarters, which would become the world's tallest building.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact, a universal renunciation of war, was signed Aug. 27 in Paris by representatives of 65 nations.

The 1928 Olympic Games were held in Amsterdam, and Augusta had a direct link to the games.

Henry Cumming of Augusta was selected to represent the United States in the 200-meter dash. Cumming was eliminated during semifinal competition, but Augustans still were proud of their Olympic hero.

The feminist movement was well under way in 1928. Women all across the country were moving to take their place in society. They had obtained the right to vote, but they still wanted to be equal to men on every level.

Women's events were featured for the first time at the Amsterdam summer Olympics. U.S. women athletes brought home gold, silver and bronze medals.

In swimming, American Eleanor Garatti won a gold and a silver. Diver Georgia Coleman finished with a silver and a bronze. In track and field, Betty Robinson was awarded a gold and a silver.

American men also did well, bringing gold medals in gymnastics and fencing home from the Amsterdam Olympics.

"We are here to represent the greatest country on Earth. We did not come here to lose gracefully. We came here to win -- and win decisively," declared U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, president of the American Olympic Committee.

Another woman who would change history, aviator Amelia Earhart, made her first trans-Atlantic flight on June 17-18, 1928. Ms. Earhart told the world that she was merely a passenger, but her flight was celebrated across the nation.

Ms. Earhart made her first solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1932. Later, she attempted to fly around the world -- a flight from which she would not return.

In the Soviet Union, dictator Josef Stalin announced his first five-year modernization plan with a call for government seizure of private farms, development of heavy industry and collectivization of all workers.

The result: complete state control to speed industrialization and improve agriculture. Later communist countries would adopt Stalin's model.

But citizens of many totalitarian countries sought to escape to new lives in the United States.

David Stusky, Russian by birth, came to Augusta in the late 1920s. He worked for 50 cents a day while attending evening school to learn English.

Stusky started a successful business, financially supporting many community projects. His generosity and honesty brought him respect and admiration in the Garden City.

F. Lewis Marshall was another Augustan praised for his devotion to the community. The Chronicle published a tribute to Marshall, who was leaving Augusta for Rome, Ga. Marshall was credited with helping Augusta persuade the military to build Camp Hancock, a World War I Army training post, in Richmond County.

Marshall was also responsible for "securing the Lenwood Hospital," a government psychiatric center, according to The Chronicle. He influenced his uncle, Walton H. Marshall of the Vanderbilt Hotel in New York, to lease Augusta's Bon Air Hotel as the Bon Air-Vanderbilt Hotel.

In New York, Anna Anderson Manahan captured public attention when she claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolayevna, the daughter of the late Russian Czar Nicholas II.

Anastasia was reported executed with her family, the Romanovs, after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Despite many attempts to prove her identity, Manahan died in 1984 with many believing she was the czar's daughter.

In 1993, a comparison of her DNA to that of the Romanov family was tested scientifically, but the results showed no genetic link.

Ashlee Griggs can be reached at (706) 823-3512 or newsroom@augustachronicle.com.

Time line

Jan. 1: The road from Augusta to Waynesboro, Ga., was paved.

Feb. 16: The Junior Ku Klux Klan put on a minstrel show at Tubman High School.

Feb. 18: Mrs. Lillian McKie, who was convicted in the murder of her husband, was granted a retrial and found not guilty.

Feb. 23: Penny Savings Bank was forced to close.

March 4: New York Giants began their spring training workout in Augusta.

March 28: With 4,796,270 shares, it was record trading on Wall Street.

April 21: Bobby Jones set a new course record of 70 at Augusta Country Club in exhibition.

May 15: MGM, Paramount and United Artists obtained licenses to use MovieTone for sound films.

May 17: William Shakespeare's The Tempest opened on Broadway.

July 9: Henry H. Cumming of Augusta was selected to represent the U.S. Olympic team in the 200-meter dash.

Aug. 3: Lilac Time, with Gary Cooper and Collen Moore, opened in New York.

Aug. 17: The Savannah River reached 36 feet, flooding the Aiken County town of Hamburg.

Aug. 27: The Kellogg-Briand Treaty outlawed international war.

Sept. 7: The first completely talking movie shown in Augusta was Lights of New York.

Sept. 15: Alexander Fleming discovered a bacteria-killing compound in London.

Oct. 2: Augusta's Maj. James C.C. Black died at age 87.

Oct. 9: The Yankees beat the Cardinals in four games to win the World Series.

Oct. 10: Sears, Roebuck & Co. store opened in the former J.B. White building downtown at Albion and Broad streets.

Oct. 29: The Catholic Laymen's Association passed a resolution calling on each man to vote his political preference in the 1928 presidential election without direction from the clergy; the resolution called for the clergy to stay out of politics.

Nov. 7: Republican Herbert Hoover won presidency of the United States.

Nov. 18: Augustan Ruby Radford published The Mystery of Adventure Island.

Dec. 8: Wall Street stock market plunged 22 points.