Skip to main content

American Dream: The Great Depression & New Deal

The American Dream is a team-taught, interdisciplinary course focused on the literature, history, government, and economics of the United States from the early 20th century to the present.

Required Reading

Three Branches of Government

Reliable Web Resources

These resources are taken from the University of Maine LibGuide

  • Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
    A Library of Congress collection of source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.
  • Social Security Administration Online History
    Information, including primary sources, about the establishment and history of the Social Security Administration and the Social Security Act of 1935.
  • The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers
    Information about the life and works of Eleanor Roosevelt. Spans her life as First Lady through her post-White House years as a human rights activist.
  • The Federal Theatre Project Collection
    A Library of Congress online presentation includes over 13,000 images of items from its Federal Theatre Project collection.
  • The Trial of the Scottsboro Boys
    Includes documents and other primary source information about the trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials of a group of nine black teenagers alleged to have gang raped two white girls on the Southern Railroad freight run from Chattanooga to Memphis on March 25, 1931.
  • Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection
    An online presentation of a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941. Consists of audio recordings, photographs, manuscript materials, publications, and ephemera.
  • WPA Children's Book, 1935 - 1943
    A digitized collections of some of the WPA children’s books published and created for young Americans during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) New Deal and Works Progress Administration (WPA).
  • WPA. Ex-Slave Narratives, 1937-1938.
    The Federal Writer's Project interviewed former slaves in 1937-1938, depositing the life histories in The Library of Congress. Twenty-seven of those Ohio interviews did not get to LC, and are only available here.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
      Includes some online exhibits and digitized documents.
    • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
      Includes digitized copies of the Public Papers of President Hoover.
    • Huey Long Autobiography
      Excerpts from Long's autobiographies from the Social Security Administration's Website.
    • Index of American Design
      A compilation of nearly 18,000 watercolor renderings created under the auspices of the Index of American Design project, one of several Fine Arts Divisions in the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which operated from 1935 to 1942.
    • Legal Information Institute: Supreme Court
      A Cornell Law School site that provides access to key US Supreme Court legal decisions. Includes an Archive of Decisions that has the Wagner Act, Japanese relocation, and more.
    • New Deal for the Arts
      A National Archives online exhibit about New Deal art.
    • New Deal Network
      An educational guide to the Great Depression of the 1930s, is sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
    • Office of the Historian: Milestones
      A U.S. Dept. of State site with information about key milestones through U.S. history. Mainly text with limited images, but a good place for background on possible primary sources for a topic.
    • Our Documents
      Key U.S. historic documents.

Library of Congress Images

The History Channel

John Green Crash Course

From the US National Archives

Primary Sources

This content is taken from the University of Maine LibGuide

  • Ad Access
    Digital collection of over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering five product categories - Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II propaganda - dated between 1911 and 1955.
  • AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History
    Primary documents relating to American history.
  • America From the Great Depression to World War II: FSA-OWI Photograph Collection
    A collection of images from the Library of Congress that show "Americans at home, at work, and at play, with an emphasis on rural and small-town life and the adverse effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and increasing farm mechanization."
  • America in the 1930s
    Site created by the The American Studies Group at The University of Virginia. Some primary sources included.
  • American Experience: The 1930s
    The PBS program about "America’s response to the unprecedented economic crisis that threatened the nation during one of history’s most tumultuous decades." Includes a limited number of primary sources.
  • American Experience: The Civilian Conservation Corps
    PBS program about the "most popular New Deal programs, the CCC put three million young men to work in camps across America during the height of the Great Depression." Includes a limited number of primary sources.
  • American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
    Life histories compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940.
  • American Memory
    An excellent series of online collections and resources from the Library of Congress.
  • American Presidency Project
    Online archives contain 103,223 documents related to the study of the Presidency. Includes key documents from each President's term.
  • American Rhetoric
    Database of and index to 5000+ full text, audio and video versions of public speeches, debates, interviews, and other recorded events. Includes American Presidents, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other key features in US history.
  • ARC Web
    The Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives. Searchable or browse collections under topics. Include primary sources as well an links and instructions for locating primary sources held at other select institutions.
  • Archives of American Art : Oral History Interviews
    Includes interviews with a number of New Deal artists and photographers--including figures such as Cahill, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Anthony Velonis. The Archives also holds microfilm copies of original Federal Art Project records from the National Archives.
  • Audio Archive: President Roosevelt
    Audio and video recordings of the public speeches of President Roosevelt from the American Presidency Project site.
  • Avalon Project
    Contains digital documents relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government
  • By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
    A Library of Congress digital collection.
  • California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the 1930s
    A WPA multi-format ethnographic field collection that includes sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California. The collection comprises 35 hours of folk music recorded in twelve languages representing numerous ethnic groups and 185 musicians.
  • Dear Mrs Roosevelt
    Letters from children asking for help from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
  • FDR Cartoon Collection Database
    Digital collection of over 30,000 political cartoons about FDR from newspapers and magazines published in the 1930s and 1940s.