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Personal Stories

Personal histories are a vital part of the New Deal legacy. The Living New Deal wants to keep them alive and make them available to everyone.

Please share your family’s story with us. If you have a story of a parent, grandparent or other relative who participated in the New Deal or benefitted from the New Deal in any way, please send us a brief account and any photographs you may have.

Check out Finding New Deal Ancestors for tips on how to perform ancestry research.

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  • Chaplain Wanda H. Hunt, former NC Senator
    • July 18, 2012
    My father, the late Farrall R. Holder, was a former supervisor/participant for the New Deal public roads' project built to Carver's Gap in rugged Western NC for the NCDOT. His efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability through diligent work demonstrated and contributed dedicated service and meaningful contributions that opened new commerce areas ...
  • Oma L. Rose
    • June 4, 2012
    When I was a child in the 1940s, before air conditioning and because parents did not have money for entertainment, we would take a fishing pole to a local area in Reno, Nevada called Virginia Lake to cool off and eat a cold supper. The lake had been created from ...
  • A Forest Returns - To Ohio
    • March 9, 2012
    Ora Anderson was a journalist living in Southeastern Ohio during the Great Depression. In an oral history, he recalls the environmental and social conditions that led to the establishment of the Wayne National Forest. Along with historical photographs, Ora Anderson's first-hand account gives life to a significant chapter of American ...
  • Esther Benedict
    • January 20, 2012
    A few years ago I was helping my mother go through her things before she moved into a retirement community. There were numerous quilt pieces, some blocks and a couple of quilt tops. The sewing wasn't all that great and my mother and grandmother were both expert seamstresses. I said ...
  • George E. Forbes
    • March 17, 2011
    Our camp takes a different turn than most of the camps…. We say the first thing in preparing for a job is to build up your math and English, but instead of Italian, we teach welding and carpentry and painting and so on. We teach them from actual work. And ...
  • Roy Lemons
    • March 17, 2011
    I’m 81 years old now, and I’ve seen a lot of changes. As a petroleum engineer, I’ve worked and traveled in more than fifty nations, and broken bread with the CEOs of major corporations and several heads of state. I’ve worked hard and always tried to do my very best, ...
  • Cliff Russell
    • March 17, 2011
    I’m glad I grew up when I did and I’m glad I lived in San Clemente. My family moved there in 1935 when I was 15. That was during the Depression and times were tough. In the summers, I went to CCC camp. We lived in five-man tents and worked ...
  • Herman Volz
    • March 17, 2011
    I’m very thankful for the project. It was a fabulous occasion where everyone could work steadily on art without any interruption. That’s the only way I think a person can really move and really develop — if he has a steady ...
  • Joseph Danysh
    • March 17, 2011
    The WPA days were a fantastic period in my life. The contribution that I made was not so much as administrator and director of the project as a brash young guy that didn’t worry about his own hide too much. I knew intuitively that something as great as this couldn’t last. ...
  • Daniel Barth - Gridley, CA
    • March 17, 2011
    The Butte County hospital was built too late for my grandfather, Michael Tomasovich. He died from tuberculosis just before the hospital was built. If my mother's family had lived 600' to the south, in Sutter Co., he would have had a hospital to go to. Instead, he had to stay ...
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