Quick Click From the DJN Davidson Digital Archive, December 1, 2016



djn-1952-04-11-0_003One always wonders if there has been real progress in the world. I would argue, yes, we have made real progress. Think of the advances in medicine or telecommunications or the fact that there has been a State of Israel for nearly 70 years or that women have been able to vote since 1920. These are just a few of the signs of significant and historical progress.

But, do you want real evidence of progress? I found indisputable proof in the April 11, 1952, issue of the Jewish News, in an advertisement from the Hadley Finsterwald Department stores.

Hadley Finsterwald was a small department store chain in Downtown Detroit, Redford and Wyandotte. In a great bargain for 1952, it offered a state-of-the art, large 20-inch screen, black-and-white Motorola TV for a mere $249.95!

The TV came in a mahogany cabinet with “Good Neighbor” shielding (to prevent interference with the television set next door), and the store would be happy to give you a home demonstration.

Sounds like a great deal … until one realizes that $250 in 1952 would be well over $2,000 in 2016. For $250 today, one can get a 30-inch or better color, flat-screen television. Now, this is progress.

Yes, I know. Open-heart surgery or antibiotics are important innovations, but cheap TVs are hard to beat!

One other point regarding progress — according to other articles in the JN, Hadley Finsterwald Department Stores were among the first in Detroit to hire African Americans in all departments of its operations.

Want to learn more?  Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

By Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News
Foundation Archivist

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