The Great Depression of the 1930's had many causes, but it is commonly agreed that it began with the Wall Street Crash of October, 1929 when the U.S. stock market fell rapidly on huge trading volume. It is common to hear people comparing today's economic problems to the Great Depression. Are these comparisons legitimate or ridiculous? Learn more about the Great Depression and decide for yourself.
From the American Studies Program at the University of Virginia, America in the 1930's is a compendium of the decade's visual arts: film, print, radio, murals, paintings, posters and architecture. Don't miss the multimedia timeline, which color-codes events into four categories: Politics and Society, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, and World Events. Many of the items are linked to additional audio or video media, and each year is summarized with a Year in Review video.
In addition to a depression era art gallery and photo essay, Cary Nelson of Modern American Poetry offers an illustrated narrative about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl disaster. "For eight years dust blew on the southern plains. It came in a yellowish-brown haze from the South and in rolling walls of black from the North. The simplest acts of life â€“ breathing, eating a meal, taking a walk â€“ were no longer simple. Children wore dust masks to and from school, women hung wet sheets over windows in a futile attempt to stop the dirt, farmers watched helplessly as their crops blew away."
Published by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Teachers College at Columbia University, the New Deal Network is my pick of the week because of the depth of its collection. "At the core of the New Deal Network is a database of primary source materials â€“ photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents) â€“ gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources. Currently there are over 20,000 items in this database, many of them previously accessible only to scholars."
"At the height of the Great Depression, more than a quarter million teenagers were living on the road in America, many criss-crossing the country by illegally hopping freight trains." This site, a companion to the PBS film of the same name, tells the story of why they left home and how they struggled to survive. Best clicks are the three Special Features (don't miss Striking a Chord: Railroads and their Musical Heritage) and the timeline which neatly summarizes the depression years of 1929 to 1940.
I really enjoyed this vintage poster collection from the Library of Congress. I hope you will too. "These examples demonstrate the breadth and depth of the collection and the styles and content used by the WPA [Works Progress Administration] to advertise varied programs and campaigns." Because this collection features thumbnail graphics, it is much easier to browse than the rest of the online exhibit. The sample posters are organized into seven categories: Health and Safety, Cultural Programs, Travel and Tourism, Educational Programs, Community Activities, Federal Arts Programs, World War II.