Fireside Chats: Although Nathan heard stern and dry Calvin Coolidge on the radio during the 1924 presidential election, Franklin Roosevelt would popularize presidential radio broadcasts with his Fireside Chats. Bessie, always interested in politics, would listen to Roosevelt on the radio in the years after Nathan died. Several Fireside chats on a variety of topics are available for listening by clicking here.

The Goldbergs: Listening to popular radio shows like “The Goldbergs,” a serialized drama with lots of laughs, kept Bessie’s spirits up. Beginning in 1929, the show centered around Jewish home-life in the Bronx. The Goldbergs made it to Broadway in the 1948 play “Me and Molly.”  The radio series became a television series running from 1949 to 1956, and a 1973 Broadway musical, “Molly.” Unlike most comedies, “The Goldbergs” didn’t shy away from serious issues such as World War Two and Nazi Germany. Listen to radio episodes of “The Goldbergs” here.

Radio Popularity: By 1933, despite the ravages of the Great Depression, sixty percent of all American households would own radios for which they paid $47 or more. The radio had become so important to American life and politics that the 1930 U.S. census included a check box to indicate whether a family owned a radio or not. From the news to baseball, comedies to soap operas, westerns to murder mysteries, it was all on the radio. Listen to some radio shows Bessie and her family would have listened to here.