financial records included in the Tirocchi collection are among
the most interesting elements of this story. But, it is not as easy
as it might seem to make sense of the figures in the various records.
The value of money changes over time. As Panfilo Basilico illustrated
in his oral history interview:
"Well, in those days, of course, a nickel was a lot of
money. You could ride the bus for a nickel. A nickel went a long
way. We went dancing. What did we needtwenty-five cents?
The subway, I think, was fifteen. You could buy a nice suit for
Today, in Providence a bus ride costs $1.25, twenty-five times
what Mr. Basilico remembers. Historians use complicated calculations
to figure the historical value of money, but they do include factors
like the cost of basic goods such as food, clothing, and housing.
You can use an interactive
currency converter at the Columbia Journalism Review's web site
to make conversions of specific amounts, but we have done some sample
conversions for you here.