Creativity and Conscience

Creativity and Conscience Congress funded the Federal Theatre Project primarily to provide jobs for unemployed theatre people during the Great Depression. But WPA administrator Harry Hopkins and the FTP’s dynamic director Hallie Flanagan had a much broader mission: to create… read more

America’s Portfolio

America’s Portfolio Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA’s Federal Art Project hired more than 10,000 artists on “relief.” They produced murals, easel paintings, sculpture, posters, photographs, theater sets and arts and crafts. Though many have been lost, FAP artworks can… read more

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining With the economy in shambles and one in four workers unemployed, FDR appointed Harry Hopkins to come up with programs to provide relief. Public works projects would provide millions of jobs and become the backbone of the… read more

It Can’t Happen Here?

It Can’t Happen Here? The nation was roiling from fear and discontent laid bare by the Great Depression. On the morning of FDR’s inauguration, March 4, 1933, Washington was braced for violence. Elected in a landslide, Roosevelt promised to make… read more

Dancing That Others May Walk

Dancing That Others May Walk As president, FDR used his birthday, January 30, to advance his most important cause—raising awareness and money to eliminate polio, a disease FDR knew first hand. In 1934, more than four thousand communities across the… read more

Building Back Better—Again

Building Back Better—Again Our New Deal ancestors found work, hope and resilience during the hardest of times. Even as they built the infrastructure that would underpin modern America, they studied the technologies and cultures of those who came before, as… read more

A Corps for the Climate

A Corps for the Climate The infrastructure bills now stuck in Congress could reverse the decades-long dismantling of the New Deal. Popular with the public, the legislation includes funding for a new Civilian Conservation Corps—a Civilian Climate Corps. The original… read more

Beyond Infrastructure

Beyond Infrastructure In overcoming the Great Depression, the New Deal approached national recovery not only through vast public works for which it is best known, but also through the arts, education, conservation and a social safety net. The New Deal’s… read more

Investing In Prosperity

Investing In Prosperity   The New Deal was an unprecedented campaign of national construction. According to a study by economists Price Fishback and Valentina Kachanovskaya, the New Deal cost $41.7 billion at the time—about $827 billion in today’s dollars. What did… read more

An American Renaissance

An American Renaissance In the midst of the Great Depression the federal government initiated a series of programs to hire unemployed artists and writers. Today, these provide a lens through which American history, values and everyday life were viewed in the 1930s. The first… read more