Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
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As the Great Depression dragged on for months, and then years, after the stock market crash of 1929, Americans grew increasingly hungry and desperate. Long lines outside soup kitchens and other private charities that distributed free or low cost food became a common sight in American cities.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1931

President Herbert Hoover wrote the following letter to 10-year-old Barbara McIntyre of Columbus, Ohio after she wrote to him 1931 to report that she and her friends planned to collect old blankets, clothing, shoes, and food to send to him in Washington, for distribution to the poor.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1931

After World War I, Congress passed a bill promising each military veteran of that war a cash bonus that would be paid in 1945. In the summer of 1932, facing unemployment and poverty because of the Great Depression, veterans began demanding that the bonuses be distributed immediately. Nearly 20,000 veterans marched to Washington and camped out in…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1932

American college students in the early 1930s increasingly protested U.S. involvement in the war in Europe. They organized campus strikes around the nation and encouraged students to pledge non-cooperation in any war. This flyer is from the National Committee for the Student Congress Against War, for a program held at the University of Chicago on…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1932

This 1930s-era Nazi poster translates as "Don't give, Sacrifice," to the Winterhilfswerk (Winter Aid), a Nazi party charity. The dire economic circumstances in Germany during the 1930s both facilitated the Nazis' rise to power and served as a focal point for expressions of German national unity, including the making of such personal "sacrifices"…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: Circa 1933

This photograph is part of a series of iconic images of the Civilian Conservation Corps taken at an "experimental farm" in Beltsville, Maryland. The photographer, Carl Mydans (1907-2004), worked for the Farm Security Administration and, in 1936, became a staff photographer for Life magazine.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1933

In this 1933 photograph, young men study radio operations at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp for African-American men in Kane, Pennsylvania. After work hours, enrollees were encouraged to take educational and vocational classes that might help them find employment after they were discharged from the CCC.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1933

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 1933 and provided temporary work for three million young men, who lived in military-style camps, constructed recreation facilities, and carried out conservation projects under the direction of army officers. This photo, taken by U.S. government photographers from the Farm Security…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1933

As millions of men lost their jobs during the Great Depression, many began to argue that women (particularly married women) should not be occupying the scarce jobs that remained. When women could find jobs, employers routinely paid them less than men, even for the same work. Women were also more likely to be employed irregularly, which further…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1933

In his first year in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was wary of running a budget deficit. Consequently many early New Deal programs attempted to create temporary (rather than permanent) direct aid programs and to bring government planners, business and labor leaders together to create regulations. However, unemployment remained high and…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1934