Thursday, October 1, 2009


Louise Brooks“Forgotten Man.” This term in the 1936 film My Man Godfrey seems such a moving name for homeless people. When you consider that the idea was for those at a soignée party to go on a scavenger hunt and one of the items to bring back was “a forgotten man.” Pretty cruel. This is a very good film and is a romantic comedy—really. And Lombard and Powell are wonderful. But it is also has some poignant moments.

Then there were those trailers for The Gold Diggers of 1933, with Joan Blondell, Ginger Rogers, and others highlighting a "Forgotten Men” musical number. My Man Godfrey2.jpgMy Man Godfrey.jpg

So the term, “Forgotten Man.” There is a book titled The Forgotten Man written by Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations and a syndicated columnist at Bloomberg. This book states it is a new history of the Great Depression and looks like an interesting read.

Here is an intriguing webite which states that “Forgotten Men is the first site in a series dedicated to exploring and preserving the facts, truth and memories of the history, culture and humanities of the United States of America. This project is called American History Central…”

The site also says that….”the term "Forgotten Man" was coined by William Graham Sumner, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at Yale. The term was later redefined and used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during a campaign speech he delivered on April 7, 1932.”

There is also a 1925 film, The Street of Forgotten Men, with Louise Brooks in an uncredited role.

Forgotten Men. The Great Depression. People and events not to be forgotten, lest they be repeated. Of course, to some extent, they already have.


  1. Interesting. I never thought about that phrase to this extent. Good insight.

  2. Very smart piece of pop scholarship by an interesting mind. Encore!