Great Depression Primary Sources & Teaching Activities

You can find primary sources and learning activities for teaching about the Great Depression on DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives.

Access hundreds of primary sources related to the Great Depression and the New Deal on DocsTeach on a variety of topics, including:

If you’re looking for primary sources for another Great Depression topic, visit our document search page and type in your keyword. You can narrow down your results by historical era or document type.

DocsTeach also includes dozens of teaching activities about the Great Depression created by our educators at the National Archives and by teachers across the country.

In our newly published activity The Impact of the Great Depression: Photograph Analysis, students analyze a series of photographs taken by photographers around the United States documenting the impact of the Great Depression on people and society.

Old car being used as a shelter with other old cars around
“Squatter Camp” in Sacramento, California, 3/15/1940. From the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.

In another new activity, Analyzing FDR’s First Fireside Chat, students analyze the tone, mood, and rhetorical devices of the first of FDR’s famous radio addresses, this time about the banking crisis.

In the map-based activity Where Was the New Deal?, students 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.


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