Tag Archives: Great Depression

Remembering Gordon Parks In 100 Moments

Gordon Parks bought his first camera in a pawn shop and got his first real photography job at the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration (FSA).”American Gothic,” his bold arrangement of a White House cleaning lady with a mop in front of a flag, got him in trouble on his first assignment.

As a multifaceted creative artist, Parks stacked up firsts again and again in a long career that has been seeing numerous tributes over the past year.  2012 was the 100th anniversary of his birth, and exhibits are still underway. Continue reading

Four Freedoms Park, NY States Newest, Opens

The newest New York state park, located on Roosevelt Island in the East River New York City, has opened. Four Freedoms Park, which is New York’s 214th state park, is tribute to the life and work of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a former governor of New York State who as President led our nation out of the Great Depression and guided America during World War II. The Park opened to the public on October 24.

The four-acre park is the last design of the iconic American architect Louis I. Kahn – the only design by Kahn in New York City. The park features a granite plaza at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, tree-lined paths and a bronze bust of Roosevelt by acclaimed portrait sculptor Jo Davidson.

The name of the park refers to a speech delivered by President Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, in which he described his vision for a world founded on four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
 
The Park has been decades in the making. Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsay announced the project in 1973, appointing Kahn as its architect- Kahn died unexpectedly shortly after completing the Park’s plans and the City of New York’s financial troubles dampened momentum for the project. More than 30 years later, former Ambassador to the United Nations William vanden Heuvel and the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy spearheaded a philanthropic effort to revive the park, enabling construction to begin in 2010.

The Park will offer a free interactive digital educational resource that visitors will be able to access on any mobile device. It will provide a multi-media narrative critical to understanding President Roosevelt’s significance, and was designed with the encouragement of the National Endowment for the Humanities with the help of historians and FDR scholars. For more information visit: http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/

With the addition of Four Freedoms, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation operates 179 state parks and 35 historic sites. Four Freedoms will be the first new State Park in New York City since East River State Park opened in Brooklyn in 2007 and the first new State Park in the state since the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened outside of Poughkeepsie in 2009. Park maintenance, programming and security will be provided cooperatively by State Parks, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

NYS Museum: New Deal Artists Exhibit Opens

A new exhibition —- 1934: A New Deal for Artists —- has opened at the New York State Museum showcasing paintings created against the backdrop of the Great  Depression with the support of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the first federal government  program to support the arts nationally.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. Continue reading

Hurley Burley: Ulster Co Town Celebrates 350 Years

DuMond House, Hurley, 1690

The town of Hurley —- or what’s left of it after the Ashokan Reservoir sent much of the sprawling township to a watery grave —- celebrated its 350th anniversary on September 15th. Jazz, roasted corn, artichokes marinated in white wine with chunk style garlic, and merry shouts of the kids popping balloons and reenactors popping muskets filled the air with smells and sounds of festivity. Continue reading

1934: A New Deal for Artists Exhibit in Albany

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists.

The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. They painted regional, recognizable subjects – ranging from portraits, to cityscapes and images of city life, to landscapes and depictions of rural life – that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. Continue reading

Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Event

The Adirondack Museum will offer its fifth event in the 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, the “Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps: History, Memories and Legacy of the CCC,” in North Creek, (Warren County) on Sunday, March 11, 2012.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public works program that operated from 1933 to 1942 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. In the Adirondacks, enrollees built trails, roads, campsites and dams, they stocked fish, built and maintained fire towers, observers’ cabins and telephone lines, fought fires, and planted millions of trees. Learn about camp life and Adirondack projects with author Marty Podskock.

Marty Podskoch, a retired reading teacher, is the author of three other books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore (2000)- Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts (2003)- Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Northern Districts (2005). While gathering stories of the forest rangers and fire tower observers, he became fascinated with other aspects of the Adirondacks such as the logging and mining industries, the individualistic men who guided sportsmen, the hotels they stayed in, the animals, railroads, etc. Marty and his wife, Lynn, live in Colchester, CT where they are close to their family and two granddaughters, Kira and Lydia. He enjoys hiking in the nearby Salmon River Forest and is doing research on the CCC camps of the Adirondacks and Connecticut. For more information, visit http://www.cccstories.com/index.html.

This program will be held at the Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek, N.Y., and will begin at 1:30 p.m. Free to members and children- $5 for non-members. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

Books: America in the Forties

In America in the Forties, Ronald Allen Goldberg is professor of history and chair of the History Department at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia, energetically argues that the decade of the 1940s was one of the most influential in American history, a period marked by war, sacrifice, and profound social changes.

With great detail, Goldberg traces the entire decade from the first stirrings of war in a nation consumed by the Great Depression through the conflicts with Europe and Japan, to the start of the Cold War and the dawn of the atomic age.

Richly drawn portraits of the period’s charismatic and often controversial leaders — Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Harry Truman — demonstrate their immense importance in shaping the era, and in turn, the course of American government, politics, and society.

Goldberg chronicles the US role during World War II and the early Cold War, showing how these military and diplomatic developments helped lay the foundation for the country’s current role in economic and military affairs worldwide.

Combining a readable narrative with analysis, America in the Forties is useful introduction to understanding a pivotal era.

Goldberg is also the author of America in the Twenties.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Civilian Conservation Corps Program, Reunions

On Friday, June 25th, 2010, the Schenectady County Historical Society will host a reunion of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumni, family, & friends, from 10:00 am to noon at 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY. Marty Podskoch, CCC researcher, will give a short presentation and will invite participants to share memories of the camps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Camps were set up in many New York towns, state parks, & forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites, dams, fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines- fought fires- stocked fish- and planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.

A part of the history of the CCC was saved recently by the daughter of a man who was in one of the camps. She donated a CCC Schenectady District yearbook for 1937 to the Historical Society. The yearbook has a history of the District, along with photos of officers and the men at the camps. Many men from Schenectady were in Company 219 (Cherry Plain, NY)- and Company 222 (Middleburg, NY).

Marty Podskoch is a retired teacher and the author of five books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, two Adirondack fire tower books: Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts, and Northern Districts and two other books, Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and Adirondack Stories II: Historical Sketches from his weekly illustrated newspaper column.

Presently, Marty Podskoch is conducting research on the Civilian Conservation Camps in the Adirondacks and Connecticut. He is interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories to contribute to his next book. Marty Podskoch will have all of his books available after the presentation for sale and signing. For those unable to attend this reunion, Marty Podskoch has planned five other reunions:

June 22 6:30 pm Oneida Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St., Utica (315) 735-3642
June 23 6:30 pm Franklin Co. Hist. Society, 51 Milwaukee St. Malone (518) 483-2750
June 26 1 pm Fulton Co. Hist. Society, 237 Kingsboro Ave., Gloversville (518) 725-8314
June 27 2 pm Bolton Landing Hist. Society, Bolton Free Library (518) 644-2233

For more information on the reunion in Schenectady, contact Katherine Chansky,Librarian/Archivist, Grems-Doolittle Library at: (518) 374-0263, librarian@schist.org. The Schenectady County Historical Society is wheelchair accessible, with off-street parking.

If any one has information or pictures to share of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps, please contact, Katherine Chansky (518) 374-0263 at the Grems-Doolittle Library, or Marty Podskoch at: 36 Waterhole Rd., Colchester, CT 06415 or 860-267-2442, or podskoch@comcast.net

NYS Museum Photo Exhibit On Great Depression

A new traveling exhibition opens at the New York State Museum on October 17 showcasing the works of a legendary group of photographers who documented the lives and struggles of Americans enduring the Great Depression. “This Great Nation Will Endure,” open through March 14, 2010, features more than 150 images of America taken between 1935 and 1942 by the legendary photographic unit of the Farm Security Administration (FSA). This remains the largest documentary photography project ever undertaken. The photographs include some of the most familiar and powerful images of the nation to emerge from the Depression era. Many have reached iconic status in American culture.

Curated and designed by staff at the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Library and Museum in Hyde Park, the exhibition features images from every region of the nation, culled from the enormous FSA photography collection (numbering tens of thousands of images) at the Library of Congress. Included are photographs taken during the 1930s and
1940s by Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Carl Mydans, Russell Lee, John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott and Jack Delano.

The FSA was a New Deal agency created by President Roosevelt in 1937 to help American farmers and farm laborers who were confronting economic depression and natural disaster, including the ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. It developed out of an earlier agency called the Resettlement Administration (RA) for which its director, Rexford Tugwell, had established a publicity department to document rural poverty and government efforts to alleviate it. That department included a photographic unit called the “Historical Section,” administrated by former Columbia University economics instructor, Roy Stryker. To accomplish the agency’s goals, Stryker enlisted a group of men and women who today comprise a virtual “Who’s Who” of 20th-century documentary photography. The RA and its “Historical Section” were merged into the newly created FSA in 1937. Many of its
photographers later forged careers that helped define photojournalism at magazines like Life and Look.

Most of the photographs in the exhibition depict rural life and hardships but they also include many images of town and city life. The FSA created a very diverse
record of American life during the 1930s and early 1940s, including images of hardship, endurance, hope, recovery, migration, recreation and community life. The photographs provide visual affirmation of President Roosevelt’s bold assertion in
his first inaugural address, delivered at the lowest point of the Great Depression: “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper … the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The exhibition also includes a specially commissioned, short documentary film that explores the work of four of the most prominent FSA photographers. There also is a soundtrack of folk music sung by migrant workers that was recorded in migrant worker camps in California in 1940-41. An interactive computer program allows visitors to explore entire series of images shot by FSA photographers during individual
photo assignments. Also featured is a short silent video that depicts the ways in which FSA photography was used in newspapers and magazines of the 1930s and 1940s.

Photo: Lower Manhattan seen from the S.S. Coamo leaving New York, by Jack Delano.Courtesy Library of Congress