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This project is administered by the South Central Regional Library Council with funding from the Institue for Museum and Library Services.
Oral Histories about the Great Depression
America's Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal
The America's Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal exhibit of the Digital Public Library of America contains 6 themed collections of pages with primary source sets and explanatory text. The reader/viewer must use the navigation at the bottom of the screen in the exhibit to see each of the sets.
The Show Must Go On! American Theater in the Great Depression
Roosevelt's Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Corps
Roosevelt's Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Corps is an exhibit of the Digital Public Library of America. The five themes of this collection are linked below. Each theme will take the reader/viewer through multiple pages of primary source images and documents accompanied by explanatory text on the left.
Race in the Great Depression
American Emblem Company - Employees Picnicking
American Emblem workers in Oneida County enjoy a company picnic in 1930. Note the semi-formal picnic attire and the African-American entertainer in the front row.
Penn Cornell Game (1937)
The Southside Community Center was built in Ithaca to support its African-American community, including Cornell student Brud Holland (from Auburn). Holland went on to be All American in 1937 and 1938, the first African American to chair the American Red Cross Board of Governors, the first African-American to sit on the board of the New York Stock Exchange (1972), and ambassador to Sweden.
Scottsboro Trials Collection
In the 1930s, nine young African-American men were tried for raping two white women in a train freight car in a groundbreaking case that tested the limits of race relations in the United States. Cornell Law School alumnus Samuel S. Leibowitz (J.D. 1915) represented these teenagers, who came to be known as the "Scottsboro Boys," in several proceedings. He kindly gave several important original documents and artifacts to the Cornell Law Library.
WPA Sewing Project Group
A non-segregated group of sewers in 1942. The WPA employed people like this to sew clothing for low-income Americans.
Juvenile Delinquency and the Negro
Article about crime and delinquency in African-American communities and what causes it. The article was saved by Emily Howland, an activist in Cayuga County.
What Future for the Negro?
An article reprinted from Common Sense (April 1935) about current and future labor conditions for African-Americans with added illustrations.
Negro history week, beginning February 10, 1935.
An essay about the need for and importance of Negro History Week along with suggested materials for a program. Piece includes information about the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
Regional Depression-Era Primary Sources
Health School Sight Saving Class (1938)
Ithaca's Open Air School began operations in 1917, to focus on students who were at high risk for tuberculosis, or TB. Fresh air and good nourishment were added to the usual curriculum, and special attention was paid to practical health matters. One of the initiatives was a Sight Saving Class, intended to focus on visually impaired students; photo taken ca. 1938.
Letchworth State Park picnic lodge, interior view, 1938
During the Great Depression, Letchworth Park was the site of several Civilian Conservation Camps.
Photographs of Bob Wyer
Bob Wyer started his photography career in the late 1930s when a local newspaper asked him to start taking photographs. This collection from the Delaware County Historical Association includes great shots of the Milk Strike of the 1930s.
Williams Market Storefront, Main Street
An image of a storefront in Cooperstown in 1932, from Fenimore Art Museum's Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection.
Where Science Works Its Miracles to Cut Your Bottle Costs.
Advertisement from the Thatcher Glass Manufacturing Company, emphasizing value for the customer's dollar. The Thatcher Glass Company eventually became the first company to use automatic machinery to produce milk bottles with uniform thicknesses, making them less likely to break during transit. A leading business in Elmira for more than 80 years, Thatcher once produced 50 percent of the milk bottles in the United States.
Interior of Victory Chain grocery store, McGraw NY
Interior and displays of the Victory Chain grocery store in McGraw in Cortland County. Owners and clerks were Gerald and Gifford Caldwell.
Vesta Corset Company employees, McGraw NY
An interior view of the Vesta Corset Co. These men are working in the cutting area of the factory where material was cut from patterns and passed on to the women for sewing.
Works Progress Administration
The WPA-funded mural found in the Rhinebeck Post Office, called "Incidents Connected with 'Ferncliff'"
The Dust Bowl & Migration
Depression-Era Primary Sources in New York Heritage
After the Depression (1933)
Advertisement for Hartwick College, emphasizing that students of the liberal arts are well equipped to find a place for themselves in a changing world, to see "life as whole" and to "seek common welfare through common effort."
Learning or Loafing (1933)
Advertisement for Hartwick College, emphasizing the role of liberal arts education in helping people to make effective use of an increased amount leisure time due to economic changes. Emphasizes that liberal arts education trains students for "living a life" rather than simply for "making a living.
Minutes of Meetings of the East Hampton Town Board, 1930-1935, East Hampton Municipal Records
These minutes of the East Hampton Town Board are part of the official East Hampton Town Municipal Records. They were lent to the East Hampton Library for digitization purposes. The records run from January 11, 1930 through December 28, 1935. The minutes record a variety of official town business during the Great Depression, including public works projects. The records include a topical index.
Hook Mountain Park in Nyack
In the mid-1930s, this park was popular with local residents and with others who came upriver from New York City. Much of this was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. This was where the Rockland Lake ice and Hook Mountain rocks were loaded onto barges just a generation earlier.
Camp Eatonbrook Scrapbook (1929-32)
Scrapbook contains photographs of Boy Scouts in activities at Camp Eatonbrook near Utica.
The Roosevelts Visit Syracuse
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Eleanor Roosevelt visited Syracuse at various times in the 20th century for presidential campaign visits, community outreach, Democratic conventions, and family visits. In this picture to the left, see Eleanor Roosevelt with aviator Amelia Earhart in Syracuse as they dined at Hotel Onondaga a short time before Democratic State Convention in 1936.
Manhasset High School - Shop Class
Black & white image of the school's shop in 1933
And Gladly Learn
A publication of the Manhasset elementary schools describing progress and programs. It contains photographs of different activities.
Abe Katz. Chauffeur License, 1937
Katz was a prominent local dairy farmer, who also worked part time as a chauffeur early in his life. His photo, along with a description of his apparance appears on the license.