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Prices and Wages by Decade: Introduction

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Prices and Wages by Decade

This guide points to consumer prices and wages reported in primary sources for each decade back to the 1700s.  Whenever possible, we refer to retail price and wage averages as reported in government publications.  When those are not available, we point to figures listed in other contemporary sources such as commercial catalogs, travel guides and newspapers.  

This site is based on freely available historic resources, mostly from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis FRASER®  digital library and the HathiTrust Digital Library.  To understand the value of a historic price or wage in current dollars, we recommend the website MeasuringWorth.com.

This website is managed by Marie Concannon of the University of Missouri Library's Government Information Department.  


Acknowledgements:

Thanks to MU Library employees Lindsay Yungbluth, Catherine Hutinett, David Steinmeyer, Amanda Krewson, Kamilah Jones, Scott Peterson, Carrie Carter, and Guinevere Lawson, as well as to Pamela Campbell of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' FRASER®  digital library, all of whom provided assistance in the enhancement of this resource.

Head, Government Information

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Marie Concannon
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