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,[…]

Post-Depression and World War II American Visual Culture

Examining how the popular media documented the people and activities of the homefront and the battlefront. Introduction The second global war of the twentieth century, World War II (1939-1945) began when Adolph Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. For the first two years many in the U.S. thought the country should remain uninvolved.[…]

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? By Ashley Johnson Introduction In November of 1933, Franklin Roosevelt won the American presidency during one of America and the world’s gravest economic depressions. As he gazed out at hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers[…]

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[…]