You can find primary sources and online teaching activities for the Great Depression and New Deal on DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives.
On DocsTeach, we have many photographs related to the Great Depression, including images of the Bonus Army, breadlines, and the Dust Bowl.
We have a variety of other primary sources related to the Great Depression as well. Some topics include:
- The Stock Market Crash and banking crisis
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats
- Migratory labor and farm labor
- The New Deal
- New Deal murals and artwork
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- Social Security
If you’re looking for primary sources for another topic, use our document search page and select “The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)” as the historical era.
You can also find teaching activities for the Great Depression and the New Deal on DocsTeach. The online activity Court Packing vs. Reorganizing: The Supreme Court in the New Deal presents students with a 1937 letter written by newspaper publisher Frank Gannett opposing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s plan to “reorganize the judiciary” (also known as his “court-packing” plan). Students will read and analyze this letter to understand Gannett’s perspective on this controversial issue.
In the map-based activity Where Was the New Deal? students explore the impact of various “Alphabet Soup” programs created during the New Deal. They identify three New Deal programs – the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and Works Progress Administration (WPA) – locate where projects associated with each took place, and analyze their impact on each region.
- “Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.” ca. 2/1936. Available at www.docsteach.org/documents/document/farm-security-administration-destitute-pea-pickers-in-california-mother-of-seven-children
- “Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm, Cimarron County, Okla.” Farm Security Administration. 4/1936. From the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs; Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY. Available at: www.docsteach.org/documents/document/dust-storm-farmer-sons
- Aerial Photograph of Bonus Army, Camp Marks, Washington, DC. 6/27/1932. From the Records of the Army Air Forces. Available at: www.docsteach.org/documents/document/closer-aerial-photograph-of-bonus-army-camp-marks-washington-dc
- “Cortaro Farms, Pinal County, Arizona. Migratory cotton picker on Cortaro Farms.” 11/1940. From the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Available at: www.docsteach.org/documents/document/cotton-picker-cortaro-farms
- “Depression: Breadlines: Long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: In the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some urban centers to large numbers of the unemployed.” ca. 2/1932. From the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs; Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY. Available at: www.docsteach.org/documents/document/breadline