Chart from the U.S. Dept of Labor shows the first federal minimum wage law enacted in 1938 (25 cents), and all subsequent increases through 2009. Some states set minimum wage higher than the federal level.
The 1998-1999 Occupational Outlook Handbook discusses each occupation in a short chapter. Many of these chapters include a section titled "Earnings." Use the table of contents to find a page number, then enter it in the "Jump to" box to quickly navigate to a certain occupation.
Covers the early 1990s, gives the average weekly earnings for selected occupations in a given region or city. The tables also give the number of workers surveyed in that profession for a particular pay range.
Select any year from 1954-2007; tables of contents will appear for each issue. Look for tables describing EARNINGS expressed in "current dollars." Mostly covers jobs in manufacturing, industry and production. Note that earnings data for states and major cities are also available in these reports.
Shows hours and average hourly wages in both "current" and "constant" (1982) dollars. Provides detailed industry breakouts according to the 1987 SIC industrial classifications. Volume I lists wages for goods-producing industries; Volume II for service industries. Link for Volume II
The periodical Farm Labor has been in publication for nearly 90 years. It was originally published monthly, and then became a quarterly. Wages expressed in dollars can be found in every issue, it seems. After clicking on the link above, scroll down the section titled "Previous Releases."
For those who want the simplest possible figure, which does not take into account number of rooms, square footage or home location, see this U.S. Census Bureau chart showing the average and median selling price of all new homes, reported monthly back to January 1963.
The U.S. Census Bureau's Characteristics of New Housing series tells average and median sale prices of new homes by number of bedrooms, square feet, and also by region of the country. First choose a report by date, then use the "Search in this Text" feature for the phrase "SALES PRICE," or just "price." See for example this table that shows sales price of house by square feet and location for 1995-1999.
Annual data for 1968-1998 plus narrative information on historical gold prices back to the 1700s. Tells the eras in which "a man could buy a fine suit of clothes" with one ounce of gold. Source: U.S. Geological Survey publication, Metal prices in the United States through 1998
Buying power of historic wages expressed in today's dollars
This calculator allows you to compare the buying power of wages earned at different points in history. For example, a dollar earned in 2016 had the same buying power as 4 cents in 1913. Conversely, a dollar earned in 1913 had the same buying power as $24.24 in the year 2016.