United States and American History: 1924

About the history of the United States in 1924, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, worst U.S. tornado in history, immigration laws tightened, Bobby Franks kidnapped and murdered.


Feb. 12 George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, a new kind of symphonic jazz, was performed for the 1st time, with Gershwin as piano soloist and the Paul Whiteman orchestra accompanying.

Mar. 18 The worst U.S. tornado to date obliterated 35 towns in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. Eight hundred persons were killed, 3,000 were injured, and 15,000 were left homeless.

May Congress decreed that admissions of immigrants were to be on a quota basis, 2% of the number of persons of foreign birth residing in the U.S. in 1890. The discriminatory bill reduced the number allowed to approximately 150,000 immigrants per year.

May As 13-year-old Bobby Franks, son of millionaire Jacob Franks, a retired pawnbroker and real estate investor, was walking home from school he was kidnapped. Before ransom could be delivered, the boy was killed and thrown in a culvert. Clues led to Nathan Leopold, Jr., and Richard Loeb, son of Albert H. Loeb, vice-president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. Both young men confessed to killing Bobby Franks for "the thrill of it." Each was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 99 years for kidnapping.

Aug. 23 Mrs. Miriam A. (Ma) Ferguson won the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas by more than 80,000 votes. She then went on to become one of 2 women elected governor of a State in 1924.

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