Photographs Related to the Great Depression and the New Deal
The Great Depression brought about large social change from a time of high unemployment and poverty. One of the largest movements in response to the Great Depression was the United States Government’s “New Deal,” enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1939. The New Deal brought about many large Federal Agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC (Record Group 35), the Works Progress Administration (Record Group 69), the Public Works Administration (Record Group 135) and the National Youth Administration (Record Group 119).
The Still Picture Branch at the National Archives and Records Administration holds a variety of photographs within various Record Groups related to the Great Depression and the New Deal. The images range in date from the 1930s to the 1940s and cover subject matter such as pictorial reports, completed projects, arts and the Federal Theater Project, as well as many other related topics. Notable photographers involved in New Deal projects include Lewis Hine and Rondal Partridge. All series listed below have not been fully digitized, unless otherwise noted.
Related holdings are located at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and photographs by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) are located at the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Resources from Staff
- This blog post highlights records related to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that are scattered throughout multiple Record Groups and Series within the Still Picture Branch holdings. This blog post serves as a helpful resource to identify and research all related photographic records.
- This session of the 2018 Genealogy Fair helps researchers navigate records related to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) within the holdings of the Still Picture Branch. The session covers a list of series of records that contain CCC photographs, as well as information as to what type of research they should conduct prior to beginning their search for CCC imagery.
- This series consists of photographs of a wide range of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) activities, including subjects such as building construction, fish and wildlife conservation, work with the National Forest Service, and more. However, not all CCC camps are included within this series.
- This series consists of photographs of activities at a variety of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps and is organized by general subject matter such as academic activities, vocational and job training, and informal activities. However, not all CCC camps are included within this series.
- This series consists of photographs related to Civilian Conservation Corps activities such as education, recreation, and vocational. However, not all CCC camps are included within this series.
- This series consists of photographs that were used as a photographic index documenting various activities of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Subjects include State photographs, housing, the arts, education, public buildings, and more.
- This series consists of photographs used in pictorial reports on the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The series is arranged by state and includes photographs highlighting activities of the WPA, including public buildings, education, roads and streets, and more. There are photos for all fifty states, except for Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, and Alaska.
- This series consists of photographs taken by Lewis Hine documenting 14 industrial communities from December 1936 to July 1937. Images include general view of the community, working conditions, machinery, workers, and more. The series is entirely digitized and available through our online catalog.
Notable Series in other Record Groups
- This series consists of photographs taken by Rondal Partridge for the National Youth Administration (NYA). The images document a variety of youth activities, such as unemployed youth, idle youth, hitch-hiking, and more. This series is entirely digitized and available through our online catalog.
- This series consists of photographs taken by Lewis Hine, documenting a survey of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) activities in East Tennessee from October to November 1933. The series is entirely digitized and available through our online catalog.
- This series consists of photographs that are related to the Federal Works Agency (FWA) and fall into two categories, military and non-military. The military photographs cover the activities of draftees and enlistees, the selective service lottery in October of 1940, war workers and more. The non-military photographs show scenes from rural towns and urban centers, road building activities, farm scenes, and more.
To Request Information about Records
For further information about the photographs and graphic works held in the Still Picture unit at College Park, contact:
Mail: Still Picture Reference
Special Media Archives Services Division
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, Maryland 20740-6001
If you’d like to use an image from the Still Picture Branch holdings, please see our Copyright and Permissions page.