Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Interesting (I Hope) Story

I'm reading a book titled The Hungry Years: A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America. It's a fascinating book, particularly in the way it describes the Depression era with so much detail.

Here's one of many stories that surprised me.

One of the centerpieces of Roosevelt's plans to revitalize the economy was a piece of legislation called the National Industrial Recovery Act. Title I of that act established a National Recovery Administration (the NRA), an agency that worked with industries to develop codes that both industry and labor agreed to follow.

[Describing how this worked, and its consequences, is a fascinating subject in its own right, but I'm not going to attempt that here.]

As part of a nationwide push to get individual businesses to sign up, a logo was designed. Here's a description:
The result was the image of a Blue Eagle patterned after the thunderbird ideograph common in the ritual art of the Navajo Indians. The bird's wings were outspread, its head and beak facing left (naturally, some suspected). In its left talon it held the cog from a factory wheel and in its right, a clutch of lightning bolts. At the bottom of the image appeared the words, "We Do Our Part."

You can see the actual logo here.

If a business signed the blanket agreement, they could display the eagle logo, and there was tremendous pressure on businesses, both from the government and from consumers, to comply. As a result, the blue eagle was everywhere, and when the NFL decided to add a new team in 1933, the team owner decided that there could be no better mascot.

Which is how the Philadelphia Eagles got their name.

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