Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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November 24, 1931

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Banks are in the business of receiving capital on deposit, paying or not paying interest on those deposits, lending capital to individuals or institutions at various interest rates, otherwise investing capital deposited, incurring expenses for transacting business, and attempting to realize a profit for their owners. Whenever a depositor lawfully requests a withdrawal from his or her account and the bank is unable to tender payment, the bank has failed, or defaulted, or closed. Banks most often fail when borrowers are unable to repay loans or when other investments fail to produce anticipated returns. In the course of the Great Depression bank failures were common. Borrowers from banks simply did not have the cash required to repay their loans over time. At the same time other bank investments soured as well.

In reply Governor Emmerson advised Mr. Sosynski to contact the office of the auditor of public accounts which oversaw the state's banks. Further the governor suggested that Sosynski seek legal counsel.

Points to Consider

What was Walter Sosynski asking Governor Emmerson to do?

Explain the circumstance in which Mr. Sosynski and his family found themselves.

Where could the Sosynski family have turned to for help?

Locate Royalton on a map and describe what it must have looked like there for the Sosynski family on November 24, 1931, two days before Thanksgiving.

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