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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: Dining with the Roosevelts
    • October 25, 2022
    First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was accomplished in many pursuits, but, according to the New Yorker, other than scrambled eggs she couldn’t cook worth beans. To show solidarity with those suffering during the Great Depression, upon moving in to the White House Mrs. Roosevelt eschewed fancy meals for more humble fare. ...
  • A Victory for Public Art
    • October 25, 2022
    WPA artist Victor Arnautoff’s controversial mural, “Life of Washington,” has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since it was completed in 1936. The 1600-foot fresco covering the walls and ceiling of the main entryway at San Francisco’s George Washington High School narrowly survived a recent challenge when some students and ...
    • October 1, 2022
    The Legacy of the New Deal in The Inglewood, CA Post Office The Daily Breeze has published a piece on the New Deal-funded bas-reliefs that have enlivened the Inglewood post office since the New Deal era. Read the whole piece here. A mahogany wood bas-relief by Archibald Garner, entitled "Centinella ...
  • ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH ADVERSITY
    • September 26, 2022
    ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH ADVERSITY FDR was 39 years old when he was stricken with polio in 1921. Back then, people with disabilities were considered weak and unemployable. FDR’s opponents sought to exploit his inability to walk as a political vulnerability. He was rarely seen or photographed using a wheelchair. Yet, many believe ...
  • A New Deal for the Blind
    • September 20, 2022
    Over fifty years before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New Deal undertook the first major federal effort to aid citizens with physical and mental challenges. Between 1933 and 1943, mainly through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), thousands of New Deal works projects were directed at expanding, improving and staffing ...
  • 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 ...
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Living New Deal. Still Working for America.