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New Deal History: Revisited & Revised

News items that discuss and rethink the New Deal and its impact on America.

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  • New Dealish: The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
    • September 20, 2022
    The federal government began taxing marijuana in 1937 after Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testified to a Congressional committee that smoking marijuana “produces in it users insanity, criminality and death.” H.R. 6385, The Marihuana Tax Act, regulated the importation, cultivation, possession and/or distribution of cannabis and ...
  • Favorite New Deal Site: An Outhouse for the Ages
    • September 20, 2022
    Tell Us About Your Favorite New Deal Site Send us a first-person story of 100 (or so) words describing the site and why you chose it. Submissions will appear in future issues of The Fireside! Be sure to include a photo (with photo credit). Send to [email protected]. Thanks! An Outhouse for the Ages After reading ...
  • Hot Dog Diplomacy
    • August 25, 2022
    On June 11, 1939, as war loomed over Europe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, joined FDR and his staff at the president’s Hyde Park, New York, residence. The menu of that day included “Hot Dogs (if weather permits).” The American delicacies, along with beer, were served ...
  • A Living for Us All
    • August 24, 2022
    The process felt like a treasure hunt—or Christmas morning. Box by box, my San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) colleagues and I sifted through 870 artworks made under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), most of which hadn’t had eyes on them for years. Working throughout 2021 in the museum’s subterranean ...
  • The Lungs of Our Land
    • August 4, 2022
    The Lungs of Our Land In 1937, in a letter to the nation’s governors, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote: “Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”Forests played a major part in the New Deal. FDR’s “Tree Army,” the Civilian Conservation Corps, enlisted ...
  • A Forest at Your Doorstep
    • August 1, 2022
    Joblessness and homelessness during the Great Depression led the federal government in 1935 to demonstrate how modest, well-built homes could improve the lives of ordinary Americans if these homes were located, designed and managed to promote “family and community life.” The plan was described in a 1937 pamphlet, Greenbelt Towns, ...
  • History of the District of Columbia's Recorder of Deeds Building with Peter Sefton
    • June 20, 2022
                  The Association of the Old Inhabitants hosted a video luncheon talk with Peter Sefton. Sefton discussed the history of the District of Columbia's Recorder of Deeds Building and its architect Nathan Wyeth.  "Mr. Sefton focuses not only on the historic building and the threats to its preservation but also of the ...
  • Creativity and Conscience
    • April 28, 2022
    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 a publicly funded national theater, accessible to all, that would both ...
  • The Fearless Federal Theater
    • April 25, 2022
    Compared to the New Deal’s overall expenditures, the budget of the WPA arts projects was laughably small, and the Federal Theater Project’s was even smaller—a mere tenth of one percent. But the Federal Theater, begun in 1935 under the bold leadership of the 5-foot dynamo Hallie Flanagan, still managed to ...
  • The New Deal Through the Lens of Arthur Rothstein
    • April 20, 2022
    President Franklin Roosevelt had a remarkable ability to rally the nation using the mass-communication media of his time. He crafted intimate “Fireside Chats” to reach Americans in their homes by radio, but in this pre-television era FDR also needed compelling visual imagery to advance his New Deal agenda, promote national ...
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