Cover image for The Depression and New Deal : a history in documents
The Depression and New Deal : a history in documents
McElvaine, Robert S., 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations, 1 map ; 27 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E806 .M43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The Depression and New Deal is a collection of primary sources documenting American life during the longest and deepest economic collapse in American history. From the prosperity and rampant consumerism of the 1920s, the book moves forward to cover the double shock of the stock market crashand dust bowl and then on to the recovery efforts of Roosevelt's New Deal. Some of the most revealing testaments to the times-including songs by Woody Guthrie, articles from sources as diverse as Fortune magazine and the communist periodical New Masses, murals and posters sponsored by the WorksProgress Administration, excerpts from literary classics such as The Grapes of Wrath and selections from Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" column-have been assembled to provide a well-rounded portrait of the age. The battle among conflicting political and economic forces is brought to life with political cartoons, Roosevelt's "Forgotten Man" radio address and first inaugural address, Supreme Court decisions, newspaper editorials, text from the National Labor Relations Act, and many other documents. Some ofthe most compelling elements of this history record the impact of the depression on ordinary people. The experiences of Americans of both sexes, all ages, and various racial and ethnic groups are explored through documents such as Farm Security Administration photographs, interviews, letters to theRoosevelts, and the memoirs of a "southern white girl." A special section of Hollywood film stills demonstrates how the changing values of the nation were reflected in popular culture. Renowned historian Robert McElvaine provides expert commentary linking the documents into a fascinating andseamless narrative. Textbooks may interpret history, but the books in the Pages from History series are history. Each title, compiled and edited by a prominent historian, is a collection of primary sources relating to a particular topic of historical significance. Documentary evidence including news articles,government documents, memoirs, letters, diaries, fiction, photographs, and facsimiles allows history to speak for itself and turns every reader into a historian. Headnotes, extended captions, sidebars, and introductory essays provide the essential context that frames the documents. All the books areamply illustrated and each includes a documentary picture essay, chronology, further reading, source notes, and index.

Author Notes

Robert McElvaine is a professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. His other books include Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the 'Forgotten Man' and The Great Depression: America, 1929-41

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The latest volume in the excellent Oxford University Press Pages from History series does an admirable job of communicating the profound emotional and psychological impact of the Great Depression on the collective psyche of the American people. One of the most prolonged and politically and economically significant events of the twentieth century, the Depression represented a crucial turning point in the history of the U.S. Utilizing a wealth of primary sources, McElvaine charts the course of the Depression, permitting the documents he has gathered to tell the bulk of the story. The documents presented include government papers, diaries, songs, poetry, art, photographs, political cartoons, radio addresses, and newspaper articles. Although sidebars and a unifying narrative are provided, the author wisely allows the primary sources to speak poignantly and eloquently for themselves. A vivid reconstruction of a seminal era that will allow readers to become personally involved in the Depression experience. --Margaret Flanagan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-A vast assortment of diary entries, newspaper articles, campaign memos and speeches, political cartoons, songs, poetry, art, advertisements, photographs, and personal letters provide students with a political, economic, and social picture of this nation during the Depression. McElvaine first explains the significance of a primary document and advises how best to read one, e.g., understanding how its origin might be a source of bias. He prefaces each of the 14 chapters with a brief explanation and then allows the pieces, whether text or illustration, to speak for themselves. Every aspect of the economic collapse is portrayed, including breadlines, riding the rails, the bank panic, the dust bowl, Hoovervilles, Roosevelt's attack on the Supreme Court and big business, and the First Lady's identification with the common man. The important voices are here, too-Father Coughlin, Huey Long, Frances Perkins, and Lorena Hickok are represented as are John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Woody Guthrie, Irving Berlin, Harry Gottlieb, Philip Guston, and Kindred McLeary. Frequent black-and-white photographs and reproductions evoke the people and hardships of the era. Jacqueline Farrell's The Great Depression (Lucent, 1996), Don Nardo's The Great Depression (Greenhaven, 1997), Victoria Sherrow's Hardship and Hope (21st Century, 1995), Stewart Ross's The Great Depression (RSVP, 1998), and Dennis Nishi's Life During the Great Depression (Lucent, 1997) are all fine sources. However, libraries will still want McElvaine's title as it provides a balanced, inclusive picture of the period through the senses of the people who lived it.-Joanne K. Cecere, Highland High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

What is a Document?p. 8
How to Read a Documentp. 10
Introductionp. 13
Chapter 1 The New Era and Its Undertaker: The Twenties, the Crash, and Herbert Hooverp. 17
Keep the Consumer Dissatisfiedp. 18
Herbert Hoover's Optimismp. 20
Collapsep. 22
"When a Horse Balks"p. 23
Chapter 2 Stormy Weather: Depression Lifep. 27
Hoovervillep. 28
City Breadlinesp. 30
Rural Hardshipp. 36
Chapter 3 "A War Against the Emergency": The New Dealp. 41
Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inaugural Addressp. 42
The First Fireside Chatp. 45
"The Social Economics of the New Deal"p. 48
An Open Letter to President Rooseveltp. 52
The Social Security Actp. 54
"W. P. A."p. 56
Chapter 4 "And I Welcome Their Hatred": Business and the New Dealp. 59
The American Liberty Leaguep. 59
Detending the New Dealp. 60
Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U. S.p. 63
Franklin D. Roosevelt Campaigns against Big Businessp. 65
Chapter 5 Which Side Are You on?: Labor Organizing in the Thirtiesp. 69
The National Labor Relations Actp. 70
A Call for Industrial Unionismp. 73
Finding Common Groundp. 75
"Dis What de Union Done"p. 77
Chapter 6 Production for use, not Profit: The Leftp. 79
"Whither the American Writer?"p. 79
"I Have Seen Black Hands"p. 83
"End Poverty in Civilization"p. 85
"Ballad of Roosevelt"p. 89
Chapter 7 The Quick Fix: Panaceasp. 91
"Cure for Depressions"p. 91
Lecture on Social Justicep. 93
Share Our Wealthp. 97
Chapter 8 "Woman can Change Better'n a Man": Women, Men, and Children in the Depressionp. 101
Birth Ratesp. 102
Maternalismp. 104
"Boy and Girl Tramps of America"p. 107
"Will Women Lose Their Jobs?"p. 110
Chapter 9 "The Negro Was Born in Depression": Race and Ethnicity in the Thirtiesp. 115
A New Pattern of Life for the Indianp. 118
Getting Byp. 121
The Mexican-American Dreamp. 122
Mary Tsukamoto's Storyp. 125
Chapter 10 Down on the Farm: The Rural Depressionp. 129
Rebellion in the Corn Beltp. 129
"Dust Bowl Diary"p. 132
Woody Guthrie on the Dust Bowlp. 135
Chapter 11 Art for the Millions: Culture in the Thirtiesp. 139
Superman: New Deal Herop. 140
Joe Louis Uncovers Dynamitep. 142
Federal Patronage of the Artsp. 145
Chapter 12 Cinema in the Depressionp. 149
Chapter 13 The Mother and the Father of the Nation?: Attitudes Toward the Rooseveltsp. 157
A Pre-Election Viewp. 159
A Letter from Wisconsinp. 160
Memorandum on "Court Packing"p. 161
"My Day"p. 163
Praise for Eleanor Rooseveltp. 166
Chapter 14 "Social Values More Noble Than Mere Monetary Profit": The Great Depression and American Valuesp. 169
"Forgotten Man" Radio Addressp. 170
Memories of a Southern White Girlp. 171
The Changed Social Life of a Migrant Campp. 174
"Middletown in Transition"p. 176
"A Spirit of Charity"p. 177
"Over the Rainbow"p. 179
Chronologyp. 180
Further Readingp. 182
Text Creditsp. 185
Picture Creditsp. 187
Indexp. 189