Great Depression in the United States

Dorothea Lange's 1936 photo Migrant Mother is one of the most iconic photos associated with the Great Depression
Unemployed men outside a soup kitchen in Chicago, 1931
US annual real GDP from 1910 to 1960, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–1939) highlighted
Unemployment rate in the US 1910–60, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–39) highlighted; accurate data begins in 1939, represented by a blue line.
A $10 US gold certificate. The U.S. used the gold standard until 1934 and controlled nearly half of the global gold supply during the inter-war period.
People outside a closed bank after 1929 stock market crash.
Approaching dust storm near Stratford, Texas. April 18, 1935.
Huts and unemployed men in New York City, 1935
Herbert Hoover
Top left: the Tennessee Valley Authority, part of the New Deal, being signed into law in 1933.
Top right: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was responsible for initiatives and programs are collectively known as the New Deal.
Bottom: a public mural from one of the artists employed by the New Deal.
A homeless family of seven walks along U.S. 99, bound for San Diego, where the father hoped to enroll in welfare because he once lived there. They walked from Phoenix, Arizona, where they picked cotton, 1939.
Total employment numbers in the United States from 1920 to 1940, excluding farms and WPA
A woman working in a military aircraft factory in Fort Worth, Texas in 1942. Millions of American women found work in the defense industry during the Second World War.

In the United States, the Great Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of October 1929.

- Great Depression in the United States

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Recession of 1937–1938

Unemployment rate in the US 1910–1960, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–1939) highlighted.
Manufacturing employment in the United States from 1920 to 1940.
Scene in an agricultural worker's shack town, Oklahoma City, July 1939

The recession of 1937–1938 was an economic downturn that occurred during the Great Depression in the United States.

Works Progress Administration

American New Deal agency, that employed millions of jobseekers (mostly men who were not formally educated) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads.

WPA road development project
FDR and Hopkins (September 1938)
Noon-hour WPA band concert in Lafayette Square, New Orleans (1940)
Women in Costilla, New Mexico, weaving rag rugs in 1939
Poster representing the WPA defending itself from attacks
Francis C. Harrington, WPA national administrator 1938–40
WPA researchers and map makers prepare the air raid warning map for New Orleans within days of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 11, 1941)
1940 WPA poster using Little Miss Muffet to promote reading among children.
WPA health education poster about cancer, c. 1936–1938
Poster for the WPA shows various items that can be purchased at the 5 & 10¢ store
WPA poster advertising art classes for children
WPA poster promoting the zoo as a place to visit, showing an elephant
1936 WPA Poster for Federal Theatre Project presentation
WPA poster encouraging laborers to work for America
Alabama National Guard Armory, Guntersville, Alabama (1936)
Prairie County Courthouse, DeValls Bluff, Arkansas (1939)
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California (1933)
Santa Ana City Hall, Santa Ana, California (1935)
Leon High School, Tallahassee, Florida (1936–37)
Government House, St. Augustine, Florida (1937)
Fort Hawkins, Macon, Georgia (1936–1938)
Boise High School Gymnasium, Boise, Idaho (1936)
Midway International Airport, Chicago, Illinois (1935–1939)
Gregg Park Bandshell, Vincennes, Indiana (1939)
Canoe house, University of Iowa (1937)
Jenkins Culvert, Gove County, Kansas (1938)
Louisville Fire Department Headquarters, Louisville, Kentucky (1936)
Alvar Street Branch, New Orleans Public Library (1940)
WPA Field House and Pump Station, Scituate, Massachusetts (1938)
Detroit Naval Armory, Detroit, Michigan (1936–1939)
Brandon Auditorium and Fire Hall, Brandon, Minnesota (1936)
Milaca Municipal Hall, Milaca, Minnesota (1936)
Upland Auditorium, Upland, Nebraska (1936)
Jackie Robinson Play Center, Harlem, New York (1936)
LaGuardia Airport, Queens, New York (1937–1939)
U.S. Post Office, Rhinebeck, New York (1940)
Robeson County Agricultural Building, Lumberton, North Carolina (1937)
Emmons County Courthouse, Linton, North Dakota (1934)
Rubber Bowl Stadium, Akron, Ohio (1940)
Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon (1936–1938)
Oregon State Library, Salem, Oregon (1939)
Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1938–39)
McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket, Rhode Island (1942)
Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, South Carolina (1937)
Liberty Colored High School, Liberty, South Carolina (1937)
Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, South Dakota (1936)
Bristol Municipal Stadium, Bristol, Tennessee (1934)
Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas (1940)
Schoolhouse, Lometa, Texas (1938–1940)
River Walk, San Antonio, Texas (1939)
City Library, Monroe, Utah (1934)
Bremerton Public Library, Bremerton, Washington (1938)
White Center Fieldhouse, White Center, Washington (1938–1940)
Raleigh County Courthouse, Beckley, West Virginia (1936–37)
Carson Park Baseball Stadium, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (1937)
Mondeaux Lodge House, Westboro, Wisconsin (1936–1938)
Natrona County High School, Casper, Wyoming (1941)
Baytown Post Office, Baytown, Texas (1936–37)

Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA supplied paid jobs to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States, while building up the public infrastructure of the US, such as parks, schools, and roads.

Civilian Conservation Corps

Voluntary government work relief program that ran from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 18–25 and eventually expanded to ages 17–28.

Poster by Albert M. Bender, produced by the Illinois WPA Art Project Chicago in 1935 for the CCC
CCC boys leaving camp for home; Lassen National Forest, California
CCC-built bridge across Rock Creek in Little Rock, Arkansas
CCC workers constructing a road in what is now Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1933
154th Co.. CCC, Eagle Lake Camp NP-1-Me. Bar harbor Maine, February 1940
CCC camps in Michigan; the tents were soon replaced by barracks built by Army contractors for the enrollees.
A CCC map of the planned route of a parkway in Texas, drafted in 1934. The Corps worked in numerous parks throughout the state during the early 1930s, constructing everything from benches to highways.
CCC Camp recreational hall or educational building (unidentified location)
A CCC pillowcase on display at the CCC Museum in Michigan
Statue of CCC worker in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The CCC was designed to supply jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States.

Public Works Administration

Large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes.

Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works project plaque in the Pine City, Minnesota, City Hall
Public Works Administration Project and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructing Bonneville Dam in Oregon
PWA-funded construction site in Washington, DC, in 1933
Fort Peck Dam in Montana; spillway construction. One of the largest dams in the world, it continues to generate electricity. In July 1936, its construction employed 10,500 workers.
Williamsburg Houses as of April, 2022
Image of Yorktown Aircraft carrier
Image of Triborough Bridge in February, 2022.

It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression.


Person identified with the state of Oklahoma.

An 18-year-old Okie mother, pictured holding her child, stranded penniless in the Imperial Valley, 1937
Rear view of an Okie's car, passing through Amarillo, heading west, 1941

In the mid-1930s, during the Dust Bowl era, large numbers of farmers fleeing ecological disaster and the Great Depression migrated from the Great Plains and Southwest regions to California mostly along historic U.S. Route 66.

Herbert Hoover

Hoover in 1928
Hoover in 1877
Hoover's birthplace cottage in West Branch, Iowa
Hoover, aged 23; taken in Perth, Western Australia, in 1898
Lou Henry, age 17, on a burro and rifle-ready at Acton, California on August 22, 1891
Hoover in 1917 while a mining engineer
The Lou Henry Hoover House in Palo Alto, California, the couple's first and only permanent residence
Hoover with his son Allan (left) and his grandson Andrew (above), 1950
U.S. Food Administration poster
Assistants William McCracken (left) and Walter Drake (right) with Secretary Hoover (center)
Hoover listening to a radio receiver
Hoover (left) with President Warren Harding at a baseball game, 1921
1928 electoral vote results
Hoover's inauguration
Inaugural parade ticket
Hoover congratulates the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on the completion of Cleveland Union Terminal, June 14, 1930.
Hoover in the Oval Office with Ted Joslin, 1932
National debt as a fraction of GNP up from 20% to 40% under Hoover. From Historical Statistics US (1976).
Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover aboard a train in Illinois
Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign.
1932 electoral vote results
Hoover with Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933
Hoover's official White House portrait by Elmer Wesley Greene
A photograph of Hoover in 1958
Hoover Presidential Library located in West Branch, Iowa
A plaque in Poznań honoring Hoover
Medal depicting Hoover, by Devreese Godefroi

Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the Republican Party, holding office during the onset of the Great Depression.

Milton Friedman

American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy.

Friedman in 2004
Jenő Saul Friedman, Milton Friedman's father
Milton Friedman and future wife Rose Friedman in 1935
The NBER, where Friedman worked, starting in 1937
The University of Chicago, where Friedman taught
A model of the Permanent Income Hypothesis
Milton Friedman with his wife Rose
Long-Run Phillips Curve (NAIRU)
Former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker
Friedman with Richard Nixon and George Shultz in 1971
Friedman receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan in 1988
Friedman in 1976
Friedman and Hayek in Hong Kong at the annual Mont Pelerin meeting in 1978
Milton Friedman receiving his Nobel Prize

Friedman initially intended to become an actuary or mathematician, however the state of the economy, which was at this point in a deep depression, convinced him to become an economist.

Great Migration (African American)

The movement of six million African Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West between 1910 and 1970.

The Arthur family arrived at Chicago's Polk Street Depot on August 30, 1920, during the Great Migration.
African-American youths play basketball in Chicago's Stateway Gardens high-rise housing project in 1973.
The Hub is the retail heart of the South Bronx, New York City.
White tenants seeking to prevent Black people from moving into the Sojourner Truth housing project in Detroit erected this sign, 1942
Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790–2010
The Great Migration shown by changes in the African-American share of populations of major U.S. cities, 1910–40 and 1940–70
Racially motivated murders per decade from 1865 to 1965.
A map of the black percentage of the U.S. population by each state/territory in 1900.
A map of the black percentage of the U.S. population by each state/territory in 1990.
A map showing the change in the total Black population (in percent) between 1900 and 1990 by U.S. state.

By the start of the Great Depression in 1929, the city's African-American population had increased to 120,000.

Social Security Act

Law enacted by the 74th United States Congress and signed into law by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935.

In the midst of the Great Depression, the physician Francis Townsend galvanized support behind a proposal to issue direct payments to the elderly.

Congress of Industrial Organizations

Federation of unions that organized workers in industrial unions in the United States and Canada from 1935 to 1955.

The CIO's second headquarters was an office on the third floor of this building, the United Mine Workers' headquarters, at 900 15th Street NW, Washington, DC.
718 Jackson Place NW, Washington, D.C., the fourth and final headquarters for the Congress of Industrial Organizations. As of 2008, the building is owned by the federal government and houses small units attached to the Executive Office of the President.

Industrial unionism became even more fierce in the 1930s, when the Great Depression in the United States caused large membership drops in some unions, such as the United Mine Workers and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.