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  • Film of WPA Crews Building Sewer Lines in Portland, ME, ca. 1940

    (3:17), color, silent

    Film of WPA crews at work on the municipal sewer lines in Portland, ca. 1940. Contributed by Maine Historical Society, Maine Memory Network, © All Rights Reserved, Educational Use Permitted.

    The film was taken ca. 1940 by the Portland Engraving Company for the city of Portland.

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  • The Columbia River

    (21:11) b/w, sound
    Congress had passed the Bonneville Project Act in 1937 to distribute the electricity generated at Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams on the Columbia River.  The law said publicly-created utilities had preference, or first choice, on that power; investor-owned utilities could buy any surplus. The law also provided a block of power to new heavy industries that bolstered the region’s contributions during World War II.  A new power agency, the Bonneville Power Project, set up an office in Portland to sell the electricity as prescribed.  The project was r...

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  • The Land

    (41:26), b/w, sound
    Documentary showing the poor state that American agriculture had fallen into during the Great Depression. Flaherty made this documentary about the dire consequences of 100 years of over-production of cotton just as the USA was entering World War2, & it wasn’t shown then, because it might give the enemy a propaganda advantage. In fact the musical score, which fills the entire 45 minutes of the film is as striking as the poetic imagery of the dust bowl, the indigent farmers, the extreme poverty of a family living & reproducing in a shack and the mass...

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  • The Road Is Open Again 7 Mins

    (7:22) b/w, sound
    A Songwriter falls asleep while writing a song about the NRA. He dreams that Washington, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt appear in his room asking him why he wants to write such a song and they’re reassuring him that FDR is the right way. When he starts singing his new song, he finds himself alone, but he knows that the FDR will lead the USA back on the road to prosperity.

    The Road Is Open Again containing a song of the same name was a short subject produced by Warner Brothers in support of the centerpiece of the New Deal’s Depression Legislation, t...

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  • New Deal Film Festival 4 Hope For The Future Building Community Berkeley Gray Panthers

    (1:02:47) b/w, sound
    New Deal Film Festival disc 4: Hope for the Future, Building Community

    FDR: A Warning
    A Model Home
    Alaska: The Last Frontier
    Texas: The New Frontier
    FDR’s Family
    Power and the Land
    FDR Re-elected
    Out of the Red

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  • Berkeley Gray Panthers

    (1:07:29) b/w, sound
    Assortment of New Deal film shorts put together by the Berkeley Gray Panthers for a mini-New Deal Film Festival. This particular sequence is called “Putting America to Work”

    FDR Inauguration
    WPA: Works Pays America
    Shock Troops of Disaster
    The Valley of the Tennessee
    Boulder Dam
    Jimmy Durante on the NRA

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  • Rural Electrification

    (29:51) b/w, sound
    RURAL ELECTRIFICATION IN OHIO features three films commissioned by Rural Electrification Administration for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and created by legendary filmmakers Pare Lorentz and Joris Ivens. The landmark 1940 documentary Power and the Land tells the story of the Parkinson family, farmers in rural Ohio who electrified their farm with the help of a REA loan. Before electrification, work was done in old-fashioned, manual-labor intensive ways—water was carried by hand from the outdoor pump, and carts and plows were driven by horses. The documentary...

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  • The City

    (31:30), bw, sound
    Visionary documentary that contrasts the conditions of life in small towns and in the industrialized cities, starting with a brief portrait of pre-industrial United States, then moving into the modern chaotic, industrial and commercial city to reflect on the effects of this environment on family life and the raising of children, and finally proposing a return to a simpler life, in an idyllic “new city” in Maryland, constructed as a New Deal project, to promote proper upbringing of children, as well as a stable family life.

    Credits—Director: Ral...

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  • La Villita

    (30:25) color, silent
    Unedited footage showing NYA restoration of this small Spanish settlement in San Antonio, Texas. Reel 1, NYA girls make Spanish poster decorations which are put up for the Christmas fiesta. Reel 2, San Antonio mayor Maury Maverick watches NYA boys excavating, leveling ground, and laying brick wall. Shows parts of the restored Alamo and the San Jose Mission. Reel 3, Apache Indians present a Matachina dance at the Christmas fiesta, stone is moved and chiseled. Doors are planed and painted. Reel 4, stone blocks are sawed and chiseled. Home fireplaces are rebuilt....

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  • Hands

    (4:19) b/w, silent
    Presents a series of hands engaged in activities that range from resting to important daily tasks, to dramatize the greater economic value of hands put to work by the Works Progress Administration.

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