Pardon me while I get maudlin…
Yesterday, I read this in the 1930 diary I have: Had 16 little piglets today, but the old mother laid on 4 and killed them.
This made me sad. Especially if you’ve seen the cute piglet pictures I posted here. But it also got me thinking about how common death is, especially on a farm. And especially in the 1930s.
Well, it’s not a giant leap from cute piggies dying to human mortality… Again, especially in the 1930s. So I started digging.
For instance, did you know that in c1930…
- Most children died between the ages of 1 and 5, and usually in the first quarter of the year (January-March). 
- 59% of the children between the ages of 1 and 5 who passed away died from Diptheria. 
- On average, there was one physician for every 1400 persons. 
- The leading cause of death in adults was heart-related, followed closely by influenza and pneumonia. 
- Penicillin was not discovered until 1928 and was not used to treat infections until 1942. As a result, many deaths were caused by complications due to infection. 
- Stillbirths were 24% more likely for women between the ages of 20 and 24. 
- The leading accident-related cause of death on farms was due to agricultural machinery, most often in the months of May-July. 
- Nearly 1% of women who gave birth died within six months from puerperal (postpartum) infection. 
What this all means is that I’m pretty lucky my relatives made it through the 30s.
What it means to a writer is that there are lots of Very Mean Things I can do to poor Rose and Harold. Because that’s what writers do…