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High School: The Great Depression



This guide will focus on high school level resources for the study of the New Deal. This list is modeled after the guidelines for United States History and Geography of the California Department of Education. (Standards 11.6.1, 11.6.2, 11.6.3)

For information about the New Deal, please take a look at our subject guide for the New Deal.

Catalog Search Strategies

Suggested below are a few search terms to start out and to mix and match to focus your research. This is not an exhaustive list of terms, but just the tip of the iceberg. When using these search terms, it is best to do a Subject search to better target items that will be relevant to your research.

Depressions 1929 United States
Dust Bowl Era 1931-1939
United States Economic Policy 1933-1945
United States History 1933-1945
United States Politics and Government 1933-1945
United States Social Life and Customs 1918-1945

(Limit by Material)
Depressions 1929 United States DVD (for DVDs)
Dust Bowl Era 1931-1939 Sound Recording (for CDs)

Stock Market Crash 1929

(Specific People, Suggestions)
Hoover, Herbert
Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Library Materials

Critical Perspectives on the Great Depression, edited by Paul Kupperberg, 2005. 176 pages. 973.917 C9345
Explores the cause and effect of the great stock market crash on October 29, 1929 that become known as Black Tuesday, a decade of struggle for the American people, and the promised New Deal. The essays are well-selected and the time period is explained.  

The Depression and New Deal: A History in Documents by Robert S. McElvaine, 2000. 192 pages. 973.91 M141
Covers the history of the Great Depression and the New Deal through primary documents such as movie stills, newspaper articles, political cartoons and speeches. The book also includes a chapter on how to analyze primary documents. The topics covered include Herbert Hoover, labor, women, minorities, FDR and cultural artifacts.

Herbert Hoover, by David M. Holford, 1999. 128 pages.  92 H79HO
A brief book describes the policies, actions and history of Herbert Hoover and how he handled the Great Depression. Includes a chronology.

A Multicultural Portrait of the Great Depression, by Susan Rensberger, 1996. 80 pages. x973.9 R427
This book starts in 1929 until 1945 and describes the work and the culture of different ethnic and cultural groups during the Great Depression. It covers sharecroppers in the South, Native American peoples and women, men and children’s roles during this time period.

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929, by Karen Blumenthal, 2002. 156 pages. 332.0973 B658
Six Days in October describes the events of the financial catastrophe through the fascinating tales of the key players and more importantly, explains the financial terms of the catastrophe in sidebars using today’s numbers. The book is written in an engaging tone and lavishly illustrated in black & white with comics, tables and photographs.

Surviving the Dust Bowl, 2007. 1 DVD, 55 minutes. DVD 978 S9635
This DVD presents the story of people of the Southern Plains in 1931 whose lives were devastated by powerful dust storms and what happened to those people. This DVD is a part of the greater PBS series, The 1930s. The Central Library has the rest of the series which includes sections on: Crash of 1929, Civilian Conservation Corps, Hoover Dam and Seabiscuit. DVD 973.91 N7145

The Great Depression: Opposing Viewpoints, edited by William Dudley, 1994. 308 pages. 973.917 G7865
This book is a good way to introduce the politics behind the expansion of the federal government and the creation of the welfare state. Passages by Huey P. Long, H.L. Mencken, Frances Perkin, etc. help dramatize the arguments.

Library Databases/Electronic Resources

These materials are available through clicking the Databases tab on the LAPL home page. Explore the History, Geography & Genealogy section to see what other databases are offered.

Access Newspaper Archives
Access this database at home through the Library’s database page with an LAPL Library Card. Contains millions of searchable historic newspaper pages, dating as far back as the 1700s from around the world. Archives are not complete runs of newspapers. Perfect for the paper that needs primary or secondary sources or looking to print out historical photographs or advertisements.

History in Context: U.S. (Gale)
Access this database from home with your LAPL Library Card and at your local LAPL Branch. This database covers all areas of U.S. history focusing on the most significant people, events and topics from pre-colonial times to the present day seen through primary documents, original reference sources, newspaper/journal articles, images, videos, audio files, and links to vetted websites. Search for 1930s or Great Depression as a start. Clicking through the Curriculum Standards tab for this database links one to specific materials to subtopics for both state and national standards.

Los Angeles Times Historical Archives (Proquest)
Access this database at your local LAPL Branch. The database has the digitized reproduction of Los Angeles Times from its beginnings. Currently contains 1881-1986. Search by (keywords, author’s names, articles, dates, etc.) or browse by full page or issue. Includes photos, graphics advertisements. Perfect for the paper that needs primary or secondary sources or looking to print out historical photographs and advertisements.


These e-media materials are found by searching through the E-Media link on the Library homepage. They are checked out with your LAPL Library Card and accessible from your home computer via the library website.

The Crash of 1929 [electronic resource]. PBS, 2010. Overdrive e-video, 54 minutes.
This documentary documents the effects of the financial market crash of 1929 after the excesses of the Jazz Age.

Of Mice and Men [electronic resource]. Image Entertainment, 2006. Overdrive e-video, 106 minutes.
John Steinbeck's classic novel brought to the silver screen. Set in the bucolic Salinas Valley of California in the 1930's, "Of Mice and Men" paints a bold, vivid picture of life in the depression era and tells the tragic tale of George (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny (Lon Chaney, Jr.), two itinerant farm hands searching for a safe haven from the cruelties of the world. Nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in 1939, "Of Mice and Men" features a moving Oscar-nominated score from legendary composer Aaron Copland.


Learn about the Great Depression
This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at the University of Houston. The site includes short texts, lesson plans, images, etc. relating to the Great Depression and the New Deal.

Surviving the Dust Bowl
The partner website to the documentary of the same name. (The documentary is listed above and available on DVD through LAPL.)

Voices from the Thirties: Life History from the Federal Writer’s Project
This short website from the Library of Congress performs two tasks: shows the work of the Federal Writer’s Project and describe the lives of people during the Great Depression.

Suggested Materials

This, by no means, is an exhaustive list, but a list of some interesting materials relating to the Great Depression and the New Deal. Please e-mail me with any further suggestions.

Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl Ballads, music by Woodie Guthrie, 2000. CD.
Woodie Guthrie sings semi-autobiographical songs about life as an Okie traveling during the Great Depression.

Great Depression

FDR, The Great Depression and the New Deal
The National Endowment for the Humanities put together these teacher guides for AP teachers; the guides include the materials and detailed lesson plans.

Library of Congress: The Great Depression Primary Source Set
The Library of Congress collection of images, manuscripts, maps and sound files to help teachers and students learn how to think like a historian.

Monetary Issues
The 1929 Stock Market Crash, by Marty Gitlin, 2008. 112 pages. 332.0973 G536
The book has brief sections on the economic crash of 1929; chapters include Black Thursday and Stocks and Bonds. The book has color photographs, a timeline, bibliographic index and suggested websites.

Suggested Reading Materials: Fiction, Non-fiction & Poetry

Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The Thirties

American in the 1930s
This website from the American Studies Department of the University of Virginia has essays, images and the ephemera of the 1930s. The timeline of this site includes cultural information not normally included in history textbooks.

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, by Stud Terkel, 1970. 462 pages. 973.91 T318
Terkel collected interviews about the 1930s throughout the United States. The interviews are recollections of life at the time over a wide range of topics. The website has recordings of a few of the interviews.

Hard Times: The 30s by the editors of Time-Life Books, 1998. 192 pages. 973.917 H2585
This book is a historical and cultural overview of the time period with sections for facets of 1930s life.

The Panic is On: The Great Depression As Seen by the Common Man, 2009. 120 minutes. DVD 973.917 P1925
This DVD contains a diverse group of people, both famous and common talk about the the Great Depression during the time period. The DVD also includes crazes and interest of the people of the time and a booklet that includes photographs, letters and other primary source documentation.

Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America, Sept. 3, 1929-Sept. 3, 1939 by Frederick Lewis Allen, 1986. 362 pages. 973.91 A425-1 1986
This book is equal parts history, trivia and stories of the era and is a wonderful read. The book is divided into themed chapters with subsections; chapter include descriptions of the New Deal, war and the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Created by:
Vi Thuc Ha
Young Adult Librarian II, Lincoln Heights Branch
March 31, 2012