What are the Ten most facts about famous people in the 1930s?

Jesse Owens:

In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin Germany, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the track and field events. He was the first African American to do so. It was reported at the time and has been a long held mistake of fact the then Chancellor Adolf Hitler snubbed Jesse Owens during the ceremonies. In actuality, Hitler, on the first day, only shook hands with those German's who were victorious that day and afterward left the stadium. In response to this Olympic officials made demands that Hitler either shake the hands of all winners or none at all. Hitler decided none at all was the most prudent and did not shake anyones hand for the remainder of the Olympic games. Much was made of this so-called snub but in his own words, Jesse Owens had this to say about the incident:

"When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany. Hitler didn't snub me-it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram"

Neither Franklin D. Roosevelt nor Harry S. Truman ever acknowledged Jesse's Owens accomplishments and it wasn't until 1955 that the then President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave recognition to Owens by naming him the "Ambassador of Sports".

Emelia Earhart:

Was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean non stop. On May 20th 1932, the 34 year old Emilia departed from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland in a Lockheed Vega 5b of which she intended to fly to Paris in hopes to emulate the solo flight of Charles Lindbergh. Facing various mechanical problems, strong winds and icy conditions, she flew for 14 hours and 56 minutes finally landing in a pasture in Culmore near Derry, Northern Ireland. For her accomplishment Earhart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Cross of Knight of the French Legion of Honor and the National Geographic's prestigious Gold Medal.

On July 2nd, 1937 Emelia Earhart took off on her fateful flight in an attempt to circumvent the globe but due to many complications and what are controversial circumstances regarding radio signals, Earhart's last confirmed radio transmission was:

"We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait."

The controversy lies in the disputed transmissions many across the globe received after this transmission that suggested Earhart and another pilot flying his own plane in tandem with her, Fred Noonan, had managed to make a landing on land. If they were in the water it was presumed the water would have shorted out the electrical equipment to make such transmissions. Based on these latter transmissions, many of them presumed to be hoaxes, it was hoped that Earhart and Noonan had landed on the Howland Island, an uninhabited coral island located just north of the equator. Because of the clouds in the region that day and the shadows they cast coupled with the relatively flat geography of the Howland's any immediate search was uneventful. Official searches began one hour after the last confirmed transmission and lasted until July 19th 1937 and search and rescue costs for the Navy and United States Coast guard were upwards of four million dollars, the most expensive search in U.S. history up to that time. Her disappearance is a source of mystery and fascination even today.

Herbert Hoover:

Elected President of the United States in 1929, Herbert Hoover won by a landslide elected by an optimistic nation who anticipated a long and prosperous posterity. His presidency, lasting only one term presided over the dreadful Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the downward economic spiral that became the Great Depression. He was defeated in the next election by Franklin D. Roosevelt left office somewhat bitterly feeling rejected by the voters and unappreciated for his efforts to keep a nation together and afloat. The relationship between Hoover and Roosevelt is one of the most contentious and strained relationships between former and presiding Presidents in the history of the United States.

Albert Einstein:

All ready a revered and respected physicist by the 1930's Einstein was a life long pacifist who found his own ideals challenged by the world events of the day. Finally by 1939, upon hearing that German scientist had successfully split the uranium atom, Einstein abandoned his pacifist ideal and wrote a letter to President Roosevelt urging the President to begin atomic weapons research. Thus, the very same man who changed the world with his profound theory of relativity again helped to change the world at the end of the thirties by supporting what has now become a world filled with weapons of mass destruction and warfare forever changed by notions of mutually assured destruction.

Bonnie and Clyde:

Beginning in the early 1930's and up to about 1934 the Great Depression along with the rising power of organized crime figures brought about an era that became known as the "public enemy era". With such figures as "Lucky" Luciano, "The Mad Hatter" Umberto Anastacio, "Bugsy" Seigal of the "Murderers Inc." infamy. There was Al Capone and John Dillinger and of course, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. While the likes of the members of Murder Inc. and Dillinger and Capone were those of villainy and murder and even though Bonnie and Clyde were also of this ilk, they remain, in many ways, folk heroes of the American psyche. They do so, for many reasons. While the others mentioned tend to typify organized crime, Bonnie and Clyde, on the other hand, do not. They were the embodiment of unorganized crime and more importantly viewed as modern day "Robin Hoods" during that time and even today.

While both were infamous for robbing banks, Clyde Barrow actually preferred robbing smaller businesses such as stores and gas stations. Bonnie Parker was at the time believed to be a full partner in the Barrow gangs villainy but in actuality she was more of a "moll" to Clyde and during the trial of W.D. Jones and Ralph Fults both testified that they had never even seen Bonnie Parker fire a gun. It was an article written by Joseph Geringer titled "Romeo and Juliet in a getaway car" that immortalized these two criminals as modern day Robin Hoods. It was Geringer who pointed out that it was the visibility of a woman in a crime gang that made this bunch so sympathetic to a population weary of a horrible depression. On may 23rd, 1934 both Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by six police officers that ended this now infamous crime spree that remains a part of American folk lore.l

Ayn Rand:

Of all the modern day philosophers no one has been more controversial than Ayn Rand. Either loved or reviled she typified the staunch defender of individual rights throughout the 1930's and 40's and was quite adept in making clear her clear disgust for collectivism, socialism and communism. This philosopher, novelist and playwright immigrated from Russia in 1926 and by 1935 had risen to some degree of notoriety for her Broadway produced play The Night of January 16th. It was during this time span that she first began making notes for her novel the Fountainhead which was in many ways an artistic expression of the objectivist philosophy she formulated. 1936 was also the year she published her semi-autobiographical novel We The Living. This was followed by her novella Anthem in 1937. Both We the Living and Anthem were stinging indictments of communism, socialism and collectivism at a time in America's history where such notions as socialism were gaining strong ground.

It was Rand's defense of individualism and egoism that has made her such a controversial figure and it was the 1930's where she fully developed her thoughts. Egoism she phrased as "rational self interest" and this basic insistence of selfishness as a virtue that has so polarized those who have come to know her work. She is openly despised by those who embrace Marxist ideals and socialist agendas and profoundly worshiped by those who believe in individual accomplishment as the "Fountainhead" of all accomplishment on this planet.

Igor Sikorsky:

Staying with Russian immigrants to America very briefly, it was Igor Sikorsky who invented the first successful helicopter. The importance if this is evidenced by how the nature of war has been changed since the advent of the helicopter. Indeed, the seminal film "Apocalypse Now" about the Vietnam war makes a big point of helicopters and their use in that war and the film We Were Soldiers drives home the point by illustrating how the calvary division incorporated helicopters into warfare as modern day horses...awesome fear inspiring horses. Sikorsky was an avid aviator and inventor of many planes and was a huge influence in the aviation industry and on September 14th of 1939 he finally completed his VS 300, a single three blade rotor with a smaller one created for anti-torque as a tail mounted rotor. This invention not only changed the field of aviation it changed the world.

Howard Hughes:

Staying with aviators for just a bit, this answer would be remiss if it did not acknowledge the profound effect Howard Hughes had on not only the 1930's but his contributions to the world remain a benefit to humanity today. Although the media has taken great delight in presenting this somewhat eccentric man as a goof ball and prime example of how crazy the rich can be, it is not his mental illnesses nor his subsequent physical decline that matter. It is what he did as a sane, healthy and thriving young man that will long outlive the petty jealousies of gossip columnists posing as journalists that truly matter. In 1932, Hughes founded Hughes Aircraft Company and his life as an aviator is heroic and reckless and filled with accomplishment.

On January 19th, 1937 Howard Hughes broke his own previous transcontinental airspeed record by flying non stop from Los Angeles to New York in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds. On July 10th 1938 set yet another record by circumventing the globe in a Lockheed Super Electra, (Not one of his own planes), in only 91 hours. It was his remarkable ability to adapt, improvise and overcome that made this innovator one of the great American heroes of the 20th century and it was the 1930's where he was at his peak. He deserves to be remembered as that rather than the oddball hermit he seemingly became.
Louis Armstrong: No discussion of the 1930's can be complete without a nod to "Satchmo", the great and innovative jazz musician Louis Daniel Armstrong. While he came to prominence in the 1920's, it was in the 30's that this remarkably gifted musician began to flex his melodic muscles and so profoundly influence jazz the form itself shifted from a collective improvisation to more focus on an individual soloist. Indeed, latter day greats such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz all owe much of their notoriety to Louis Armstrong. The early part of the 1930's were essentially the close of what has become known as the "Jazz Age" and Armstrong used the newly innovated ribbon microphone developed by RCA and used it to great effect. It was in the early 30's that Armstrong took his close friend Hoagy Carmicheal song "Stardust" and turned it into one of the most revered and popular recordings of that song ever done. But, in 1931 Armstrong took Carmicheal's collaboration with Sidney Arodin of "Lazy River" and stunned the world with a radical re-interpretation of this song. It was this song that featured Armstrong's groundbreaking melodic styling and phrasing punctuating the song with his own famous growling offerings and in the first verse of this song ignores the notated melody completely instead offering his own vocals as if they were a trumpet solo. He ends this song with his now famous scat singing and this song alone would have endeared Armstrong to music lovers for eternity. Armstrong, however, led a colorful life and in the 1930's moved across the country like a traveling one man band starting in 30 with a move to Los Angeles and by 1931 a move to Chicago that was short lived as the mob actually demanded he leave town. So, off to the famed jazz town New Orleans he went and founded his own baseball team and had a cigar named after him. As much as he loved New Orleans and the people there loved him he was transitory by nature and constantly being shadowed by the mob he finally moved to Europe to escape the harassment. What a cool jazz life for such a cool jazz man. Miles Davis may have given us the Birth of Cool, but it was Armstrong who gave birth to that cool and fathered it as any father who knows best would.
Dr. Seuss: While there are many filmmakers and actors and actresses of note during the 1930's who indeed were a huge influence on film and its evolution, those famous people are mostly who is discussed when remembering the 30's. There were also many famous authors of note in the 30's such as Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, both very influential novelists of that time but now writer is more adored by children and adults alike than the wonderful and engaging Dr. Seuss. It was this mysterious mans frequent use of trisyllabic meter, his use of rhyme and very imaginative characters that has so endeared this author to most Americans and one would hope the world. It was the 30's that became the decade of development for this beloved writer as he published "And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street" in 1936 and the "500 Hats of Bartholomew" in 1938. Both of these works were the fundamental foundation for his later classics "Green Eggs and Ham", "The Cat in the Hat" and "Horton Hears a Hoo".
So, from Olympic Gold Medalists to Aviators and inventors...from physicists to Presidents to authors the 1930's was a the best of times, the worst of times and the times mostly remembered with fondness because of the profoundly influential individuals who dared to ignore the misery of the present and show America, if not the world, that the future was endlessly beautiful, or as Louis Armstrong would sing..."Oh what a beautiful world".