I wanted to know historic minimum wage in the United States, so I did some math.

The amount column is the lowest amount that a person could earn that year. Some years there were different classes of jobs. For example, in 1968, adjusted for inflation, the highest minimum wage for most people was $11.53. And for clarity, this was calculated for December 2017 inflation levels.

The historical data for minimum wage rates comes from the United States Department of Labor.

And I used the CPI Inflation Calculate for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Date of Wage Change Amount Adjusted for Inflation
Oct 24, 1938 $0.25 $4.40
Oct 24, 1939 $0.30 $5.28
Oct 24, 1945 $0.40 $7.04
Jan 25, 1950 $0.75 $7.87
Mar 1, 1956 $1.00 $9.20
Sep 3, 1961 $1.00 $8.22
Sep 3, 1963 $1.25 $10.04
Sep 3, 1964 $1.15 $9.12
Sep 3, 1965 $1.25 $9.75
Feb 1, 1967 $1.00 $7.90
Feb 1, 1968 $1.15 $8.29
Feb 1, 1969 $1.30 $8.95
Feb 1, 1970 $1.45 $9.41
Feb 1, 1971 $1.60 $9.89
May 1, 1974 $1.60 $8.12
Jan 1, 1975 $1.80 $8.52
Jan 1, 1976 $2.00 $8.87
Jan 1, 1977 $2.20 $9.27
Jan 1, 1978 $2.65 $10.45
Jan 1, 1979 $2.90 $10.47
Jan 1, 1980 $3.10 $9.82
Jan 1, 1981 $3.35 $9.49
Apr 1, 1990 $3.80 $7.27
Apr 1, 1991 $4.25 $8.13
Oct 1, 1996 $4.75 $7.40
Sep 1, 1997 $5.15 $7.86
Jul 24, 2007 $5.85 $6.90
Jul 24, 2008 $6.55 $7.34
Jul 24, 2009 $7.25 $8.30

In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By “business” I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.

Franklin Roosevelt’s Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act June 16, 1933 Emphasis mine.