Times Were Tough During The Great Depression Of The 1930's

Created on Jul 18, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
Looking at these photos of the 1930s Depression era, life seemed so hard. Around 15 million in the U.S. alone were unemployed, and half of the banks had failed. Life was especially hard for those who were older and who lived in rural America (where the Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double whammy).

Background: In 1928, President Herbert Hoover's campaign slogan was "A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage." Unemployment was 3.2% and only 51.9% of eligible voters voted. The Great Depression began with the October 1929 stock market crash in the United States and soon spread worldwide. In 1932, FDR's campaign slogan was "Happy Days Are Here Again." By the time Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, unemployment was 24.9% and the stock market had lost 90% of its value. The American people had a hard time ahead - these pictures show some of their stories. (You can click on any photo to read more details about the photo.)


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Times Were Tough During The Great Depression Of The 1930's

Helping Americans forget their troubles

Roosevelt considered Shirley Temple one of the weapons in fighting the Depression.

Depression refugees from Iowa, 1936

Nine children, father ill, no work - selling their possessions for money to buy food.

Skid row, San Francisco

Winter, 1937 - men literally sleeping on the street.

1939 Illinois shanty

Built from refuse.

Food line, 1935

Men in front of the sign could get a 5 cent meal - the rest would have to beg on the street.

1933, FDR's inauguration

With outgoing President Hoover.

1901 political cartoon

Eternal truth? When government balances the needs of workers and the captains of industry, there is prosperity.

1936 Iowa

Is that a washing machine??

1938 CA unemployment line

One of the first days to sign up for unemployment, the lines were long. Only 22 states offered unemployment.

1936 "Street Meeting" in San Francisco

Protesting in suits and hats.

1930's Iowa

Not many more possessions than a great smile!

New Orleans, 1939

"I am taking the photogka [sic] of depression anp [sic] starvation at once".

1939 - the rest of his story

Congress & White House

Coming together to help the people.

1938, Indiana

This (projected) hotel had been sitting unfinished since 1929.

Moments in Time

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