The Topic: 
The Great Depression

Easier - The 'Great Depression' was a period in United States History when business was poor and many people were out of work.
Harder - The Great Depression began in October 1929, when the stock market in the United States dropped rapidly. Thousands of investors lost large sums of money and many were wiped out, lost everything. The 'crash' led us into the Great Depression. The ensuing period ranked as the longest and worst period of high unemployment and low business activity in modern times. Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of Americans jobless, homeless, and penniless. Many people came to depend on the government or charity to provide them with food.
The Depression became a worldwide business slump of the 1930's that affected almost all nations. It led to a sharp decrease in world trade as each country tried to protect their own industries and products by raising tariffs on imported goods. Some nations changed their leader and their type of government. In Germany, poor economic conditions led to the rise to power of the dictator Adolf Hitler. The Japanese invaded China, developing industries and mines in Manchuria. Japan claimed this economic growth would relieve the depression. This militarism of the Germans and Japanese eventually led to World War II (1939-1945).
In the United States, President Herbert Hoover held office when the Great Depression began. The economy continued to slump almost every month. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President in 1932. Roosevelt's 'new deal' reforms gave the government more power and helped ease the depression. The Great Depression ended as nations increased their production of war materials at the start of World War II. This increased production provided jobs and put large amounts of money back into circulation.
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project,1936-1940
from American Memory, Library of Congress
Here you can read life histories gathered and written by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects). The
histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations.
Related Websites:
2) America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-
OWI, 1935-1945 from American Memory, Library of Congress
3) By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
from American Memories, Library of Congress
Surviving the Dust Bowl from PBS's The American Experience
This site includes a timeline of the disaster, a map of the affected areas, and profiles of people who were involved.
More Dust Bowl Websites:
2) The Dust Bowl
3) Drought from Discovery Channel Online
4) Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection from American Memory, Library of Congress
Main Causes of the Great Depression by Paul Alexander Gusmorino III : May 13, 1996
This is the site of a brief summary of the causes of the Great Depression, includes a bibliography.
Similar Websites Provide Different Viewpoints:
2) Causes and Effects of the 'Great Depression' by Mike Noble
3) The Easy Life of the '20s Contributed to Great Depression
New Deal Network
This great website has lots of information on the 'New Deal', photographs, articles, and lots more.
Related Websites:
2) Great Depression and the New Deal
After first visiting several of the Great Depression websites, complete one or more of the following activities.
Write A Diary Set in the Thirties. Imagine your self as a young person living in the 1930s. Choose whether you live in the city, on a farm, are homeless, living 'on the road', or some other possible situation (Your own Choice). Select a setting location(s). Then write your diary or journal describing what your life might have been like and what your thoughts and feelings would have been. Get lots of ideas from the websites like (1) American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project,1936-1940, (2) Great Depression, (3) Great Depression: Both Good and Bad, and others.
Prepare a Depression Era Meal. Go to Great Depression Recipes. Select a menu for a typical meal during the 'lean' depression years. Then prepare the meal and serve it to your family or friends. Note that you may have to substitute for some items, be creative and as accurate as possible.
Be a WPA Writer. Select an authentic photograph from the Depression Years. You can look at several at the America from the Great Depression to World War II website. Then using the photograph as your focal point, write a short story about it. Share your photograph and story.
Complete a Great Depression WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of these webQuest websites:
1) Catastrophic Weather Event: Dust Bowl 1936-40 (Grade 10-11)
2) What caused the Great Depression?
3) Federal Writersí Project and the History of Everyday Life (Grade 6-12)
by R. Beilstein and K. Elmquist
4) Great Depression (Grade 6-9)
5) Great Depression (Grade 7) by E. McGrath
6) Great Depression (Grade 10-11) by D. Brinker and A. Visker
7) Life During the Great Depression (Grades 6-9)
Interview People Who Remember the Great Depression. Before starting, visit and explore another 42eXplore segment: Oral History. Look for suggestions and guidelines for conducting interviews. Then find people who remember the Depression years. You might interview members of your extended family or neighbors and friends. Put together a summary of what you found out. You can also get some ideas from websites like We Made Do-- Recalling the Great Depression and "I remember . . .".
Websites By Kids For Kids
Crash of 1929 from The Jazz Age Page
This website account provides an economic summary of the crash and its causes.
Great Depression: Both Good and Bad
This Canadian student's essay contrasts the tragedies of this era with the positive memories that many who lived through it share.
Great Depression
This site features a time-line and biographies of Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt. It was created by high school students as a class project.
Great Depression, a Great Disaster (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This site focuses on the causes of the Great Depression.
Great Depression (Part of a 1996 ThinkQuest Project titled 'Recent History')
The website contains a brief summary of the Depression, plus a few memories added by visitors to the site.
Great Depression: A Decade of Hardship (Museum in the Classroom Project)
This website has information about the Great Depression, pictures of some art and artifacts, and interviews with people who experienced this difficult time in American history.
We Made Do-- Recalling the Great Depression (Mooresville High School, Mooresville, IN)
This site presents first-person accounts and images of the era. Readers are invited to submit their own Depression memories.
More Websites About the Great Depression
1930s Project
This site examines the years between Black Tuesday and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, through the film, print, radio, and design of the era.
Related Website:
2) 20th Century: 1930-1939 Decade (Links-site) from Chico High School Library
Depression News: The 1930s (Michigan Historical Museum)
This is an online tour of the 'Great Depression Gallery.'
Not To Be Missed Section:
2) "I remember . . ." (Reminiscences of the Great Depression)
Great Depression
In the United States, the people reacted to this crisis by electing Roosevelt into office who vowed to experiment with unorthodox solutions for the economic dilemma. Other countries, however, reacted differently. This comprehensive website examines public policies chosen during the early thirties and American reactions to the crisis.
Great Depression of Canada
This project describes events in Canada during the Depression in the 1930's.
Related Websites:
2) Great Depression
3) Great Depression by J. Struthers from The Canadian Encyclopaedia
Great Depression from The WritingDEN (Grade 6-12)
WritingDEN is designed for students seeking to improve their English reading,comprehension, and writing skills. Multimedia presentations are divided into three levels of difficulty: words, sentences and paragraphs. This is the section on the Great Depression. To learn more about the WritingDen, visit
Great Depression and New Deal History Forum from History Matters
This is a discussion forum. To post to the forum from this web site you will need to select a password and wait for e-mail verification. But you can visit the archives and search by topic.
Roosevelt's Tree Army: Michigan's Civilian Conservation Corps
Here is a historical summary of the development of the CCC program in the state of Michigan.
Riding the Rails from PBS's The American Experience
At the height of the Great Depression, more than a quarter million teenagers were living on the road in America, many crisscrossing the country by illegally hopping freight trains. This site designed to accompany the film of the same name includes program description, a timeline, a teacher's guide, and more.
Related Websites:
2) Hobo History
3) Hobo Signs
4) Hobo Signs & Symbols
5) Riding the Rails
Songs of the Great Depression
Here you can read lyrics to popular Depression-era songs including 'We're In the Money' and 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?'
Strip District: Shantytown: Looking Southwest
This site includes a photograph of a "Hooverville" in Pittsburgh during the Depression era. You will also find a quote from a guide book of the era about these shantytowns.
Related Websites:
2) Hooverville, 1937 (Photograph)
3) Hooverville: Oakland, CA, 1937 (Click arrow to see photograph collection)
4) Hooverville: The Great Depression in Seattle
5) Hooverville: Shantytown of Seattle's Great Depression
6) Hoovervilles During the Great Depression
Then and Now Prices
How much did toys and clothing cost during the Great Depression of the 1930s? What would they cost today?
Websites for Teachers
'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime': The Effects of The New Deal on the Great Depression
Investigate the circumstances and lives of those who endured this time of distress using their oral histories recorded by the Federal Writer's Project. Site contains ideas for teaching, an activity for students, and links to resources.
New Deal: North Carolina's Reconstruction? (Grade 9)
This lesson plan is a guide for teachers that will result in imaginary Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Another Great Depression Lesson-site at American Memory, Library of Congress:
2) The Great Depression and the 1990s
Suggestions for the Classroom
This extensive guide has been prepared to accompany the 'Riding the Rails' from PBS and to facilitate its use in educational settings. It has lots of good stand-alone classroom ideas.
Twelve Great Lessons for Teaching the Great Depression from Education World
Here are twelve activities for use across the curriculum and across the grades!
What Was Life Like During the Great Depression? from Michigan Historical Museum
Life during the Great Depression was difficult for everyone. By asking questions and listening to stories from older relatives and friends, students can understand how much life has changed since the 1930s.

economic depression
dust bowl
Crash of 1929
Dorothea Lange
Works Progress Administration
low wages
'Riding the Rails'
government relief
John Steinbeck
'New Deal'
Herbert Hoover
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Civilian Conservation Corp
stock market
Farm Credit Administration
'go on relief'
soup kitchens
Wagner Act
National Recovery Act
'Black Tuesday'
Woody Guthrie
Farm Security Administration
'Hoover blanket'
'Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?'
migrant labor camp
World War II

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson 1/99, Update 1/02. Update by Nancy Smith 9/02.