“To the Rescue of the Crops”: The Women’s Land Army during World War II

Throughout the wartime years, the need for workers in agriculture, as well as in manufacturing and the military, was unprecedented. By Dr. Judy Barrett LitoffProfessor of HistoryBryant University By Dr. David C. SmithBird and Bird Professor Emeritus of American HistoryThe University of Maine We’re working for Victory, too; growing food for ourselves and our countrymen.[…]

Black Domestic Workers during the Great Depression

The New Deal maintained racial hierarchies even as it aided African Americans through relief projects. By Dr. Phyllis PalmerProfessor Emeritus of American Studies and Women’s StudiesGeorge Washington University The New Deal eagerness to collect data about the American people evoked a similarly passionate response from American citizens. They answered interviewers, filled out questionnaires, kept consumption[…]

The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression

Usually cast as a President defined by his failure to contain the Great Depression, Hoover’s story is far more complex and more interesting. By Richard Norton SmithDirector EmeritusHerbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum By Dr. Timothy WalchPublic HistorianDirector EmeritusHerbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum Few Americans have known greater acclaim or more bitter criticism than[…]

Americans and Isolationism during the Great Depression of the 1930s

A worldwide economic depression and domestic problems bolstered the idea that the U.S. should isolate itself from events in Europe. Introduction During the 1930s, the combination of the Great Depression and the memory of tragic losses in World War I contributed to pushing American public opinion and policy toward isolationism. Isolationists advocated non-involvement in European[…]

Causes and Consequences of the Great Depression

Many factors, including World War I and its aftermath, set the stage for this economic disaster. Factors Leading to the Great Depression The stock market crash on October 24, 1929, marked the beginning of the Great Depression in the United States. The day became known as “Black Thursday,” Many factors had led to that moment.[…]

New Deal Murals at Coit Tower: Meaningful Work for Depression-Era Artists

The idea of such a tower was derided at first as an eyesore, but more “beautification” was still to come. San Francisco lore has it that one afternoon in the late 1850s, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, at age fifteen, threw down her schoolbooks and pitched in to help shorthanded firefighters with a blaze on Telegraph Hill,[…]

World War II and American Visual Culture

Examining how the popular media documented the people and activities of the homefront and the battlefront. Originally published by Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom, 08.29.2017, Newberry Library, republished with permission for educational, non-commercial purposes. Introduction The second global war of the twentieth century, World War II (1939-1945) began when Adolph Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland[…]

The Great Depression: Farms and Cities in the 1930s

By Tom MorainHistorian Introduction Farmers struggled with low prices all through the 1920s, but after 1929 things began to be hard for city workers as well. After the stock market crash, many businesses started to close or to lay off workers. Many families did not have money to buy things, and consumer demand for manufactured[…]

The New Deal in Chicago and the Midwest

What did the New Deal look like in Chicago and the greater Illinois region? Who were its champions and opponents? Originally published by Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom, Newberry Library, republished with permission for educational, non-commercial purposes. Introduction In November of 1933, Franklin Roosevelt won the American presidency during one of America and the[…]

Agricultural Markets and the Great Depression

Eighty years ago, the publication of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath shocked the world with its description of starvation in the midst of plenty. By Dr. Rasheed SaleuddinPost-Doctoral Research FellowUniversity of Cambridge It took an estimated 2.3 billion metric tonnes of grain to feed the world in 2011 – that’s 6,300,000 tonnes per[…]