Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”:
Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection
“I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.” ~Dorothea Lange
This website contains thumbnails of Dorothea Lange’s most memorable photos from the Great Depression Era, the Migrant Mother. For those unfamiliar with these images, the Migrant Mother reveals the harsh reality of poverty during this tragic period in American History. A female migrant worker sits inside of her lean-to surrounded by her children. To look into the eyes of the subject is an encounter with the privations of migrant life. In addition to the harrowing imagery, the website also provides visitors with a brief narrative about Lange and her work. Although the text is very general, the bibliography on the page can help students and teachers with further research on this subject.
FDR Cartoon Archive
This archive catalogues tens of thousands of political cartoons from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. The events surrounding his presidency were pivotal in the evolution of American culture, society and history. For this reason, these cartoons are exceptionally valuable as windows into our history. Within the archive, the cartoons are divided into various sections according to thematic and chronologic criteria. Each section is organized differently, some simply listing the cartoons, others providing historical context and analysis and others providing short explanations with the cartoons. Although this site has not been recently updated, it is fully functional and contains no bad links. This is a great resource for discussing F.D.R. himself, his presidency, the New Deal or general 1930’s and early 1940’s U.S. History.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library
“The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library is the first of the presidential libraries. It was conceived and built under President Roosevelt's direction during 1939-40 on 16 acres of land in Hyde Park, New York, donated by the President and his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt. The library resulted from the President's decision that a separate facility was needed to house the vast quantity of historical papers, books, and memorabilia he had accumulated during a lifetime of public service and private collecting.”
For scholars and students studying the New Deal and Great Depression, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library is a treasure trove of primary sources. As one can see from the excerpt, FDR was largely responsible for establishing this institution. Since its inception, it has grown in scope and accessibility. Today, researchers can access material from the library on-line. Speeches concerning the bank closures, primary sources covering the FDR administration’s attempts to end the Dust Bowl crisis, and many other sources about crucial events are available to the public. Also, students and academics desiring to place faces with events have access to a number of images and videos from the time period. When using the internet site, browsers do not have to hassle with a problematic website. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Marist College, and IBM work together to maintain a user friendly website to provide information quickly to visitors.
Herblock’s History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium
“From the stock market crash in 1929 through the new millennium beginning in the year 2000, editorial cartoonist Herb Block has chronicled the nation’s political history, caricaturing twelve American presidents from Herbert Hoover to Bill Clinton.”
An excellent way to help students understand differing viewpoints on complex political issues and historical events is to use political cartoons. They help illustrate (literally) ideas that can otherwise be confusing and fail to interest students. Through poignant humor and wit, political cartoons can help provoke discussion and debate among students and add a valuable learning opportunity to the classroom. Over the past 70 years, cartoonist Herb Block has been at the forefront of this field. He has been awarded four Pulitzer prizes, and now has an entire exhibit dedicated to his cartoons in the Library of Congress. This website features many of these cartoons. They are organized both chronologically and thematically. A wide range of topics is treated and this collection could supplement most major topics in 20th century American history. BR
A History Teacher’s Bag of Tricks
“This website brings you a collection of assignments Marchand used in his university classroom. These "Documentary Source Problems" encouraged students to become historians and use their own analytical skills to determine what happened in history. The assignments provide students with a collection of primary sources from which they can deduce the events of the past.”
Roland Marchand was a teacher at the University of California-Davis. This website includes lesson plans of Marchand’s as well as numerous other resources. The lesson plans skillfully incorporate primary documents into the classroom. The lesson plans deal with a good variety of topics and are provided for university, high school and middle school levels. The Slide Archive provides thousands and thousands of categorized images that would greatly enhance any lesson. The images cover the full range of U.S. History, culture and life. This site offers high quality information that is well organized and ready for classroom use. (BR)
The New Deal Network
“NDN seeks to make the most of the interactive, communications and publication capacities of the Internet. Its designers intend to bring many different institutions and individuals into the ongoing construction of the site and to stimulate students and historians throughout the United States to discover and document the human and material legacy of the New Deal”
The New Deal Network offers visitors ample resources on American politics, culture, and economy during the 1930s and 1940s. The material includes photographs, primary documents (letters, newspaper articles, speeches, etc.), and political cartoons. In addition to general information, visitors can also access lesson plans and classroom projects. There are also bibliographic lists and site links for additional information. The information contained on the New Deal Network is very reliable and well referenced. The only drawback to the site is its load time. When accessing extensive documents lists or simply browsing, New Deal Network occasionally requires an extended load time. However, the quality of the resources contained on the site makes the wait worthwhile!
Picturing the Century: The Great Depression and the New Deal
“The prosperity of the 1920s ended with an economic catastrophe of unequaled length and severity - the Great Depression. By 1933 industrial production had fallen to one-third its pre-Depression levels, thousands of banks were closed, and almost 13 million Americans were jobless.”
Although not extensive in its collection, this website contains pictures from the New Deal era. The subject matter covers most of the major demographic groups affected by the nation’s economic demise. Pictures reveal children in beet fields, Navajo artists, railway hobos, and a number of other people. Again, the collection on this website is not substantial, but does offer a glimpse into the Great Depression.