Claude Barber, 1940

1940 census
By 1940, our family census page is no longer populated with farmers. They have moved to the city, most a generation earlier following World War I.

Leoria grew up in a comfortable middle to upper middle-class home. Her parents (adoptive grandparents) owned their home as did Claude’s family. Leoria’s childhood home was large for the time and they employed a maid, and possibly a gardener. The Wilburs can afford more than most since they were older. As an elected truant officer, which is a member of the board, he has a well-paid position.

Claude’s father, Fred, is a skilled laborer who works as a machinist, sometimes listed as a mechanic, for a factory. With three children to raise, as younger parents than Leoria’s are, and a blue collar job, Claude’s childhood is solidly middle class. His grandparents were farmers whereas Leoria’s grandparents are her adoptive parents which means she is raised in a home two generations from the farm.

The Claude Barber family is moving up. Claude is a serviceman for IBM on the tabulating machine. His salary is $2,664, $400 more than a high school teacher who is six years older than him, and about half of what the private practice doctor, his age, on the census page earn. The value of their home is $5,000 which when adjusted for inflation, still retains that equivalent. Contrast the Binghamton, NY real estate market with Riverside, CA where a home built in 1935 for $3,500 now sells for eight times as much.

Other fun facts:

  • Claude, Sr., Carolyn, and Burton were  born in Connecticut. Carolyn and Burt in Bridgeport, and Claude in Fairfield. Everyone else is born in Broome County, New York.
  • Their daughter, Leoria Carolyn, is the third successive generation of daughters with that name.
  • Leoria, completed through her second year of high school.
  • Claude completed four years of high school.
  • Daughter Betty Jean, known as Jean to us, is a junior at 15.
  • Claude, Jr. and Fred are in the same grade at school, but they are not twins.