The Great Depression

It seems at every turn, Americans in 2008 are being reminded that our country is facing the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression. Can the perfect storm of the Great Depression (bank holidays, ecological disaster, a stock market crash, a stubborn president) ever be recreated? What caused the Great Depression, what was the New Deal and did it end the Great Depression? You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on the topic. This will give you an overview of the subject and help you to refine your search. Check out the starting your research project page before you begin! Some suggestions are:

                                        Black Friday and the stock market collapse of 1929
                                        Tennesee Valley Authority and rural electrification
                                        The Bonus Army's march on Washington
                                        FDR's court packing plan

Picture from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library,
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

We can't fit every resource about the Great Depression on to this list! A pathfinder is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

General References

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic. A good first stop would be any of the standard print encyclopedias in the Beaver collection: Encyclopedia Americana, World Book or Britannica.
Bondi, Victor, ed. (1995). American decades : 1930-1939. REF 973.917 Am3
Britannica Online Search for the "Great Depression" in Britannica. Find out what caused the Great Depression, how long it lasted and how it affected people's lives. Watch videos and look at photographs of life during the Great Depression.
Burg, David F. (1996). The Great Depression. REF 973.91 B91 1996
McElvaine, Robert. (2000). The depression and the New Deal: a history in documents. REF 973.91 M15 2000 Real people speak about the Great Depression in their own words. Primary sources!


Books about the history of Great Depression can be found in the 970s. Books about social issues and economic during the Great Depression will be in the 300s. Use the subject heading Depressions -- 1929 when searching the library catalog. Biographies can be found at 921, listed alphabetically by the subject's last name (for example, a biography of Franklin Roosevelt would carry the call number: 921 Roosevelt).
Cohen, Robert. (2002). Dear Mrs. Roosevelt : letters from children of the Great Depression. 973.917 D34 2002 Primary sources!
Damon, Duane. (2002). Headin' for better times : the arts of the Great Depression. 700.973 D18 2002 96 pages.
Freedman, Russell. (2005). Children of the Great Depression. 305.23 F87 2005 118 pages.
Grant, R. G. (2003). The Great Depression. 973.917 G76 2003 64 pages.
Yancey, Diane. (2004). Life during the Dust Bowl. 978.033 Y1 2004 112 pages.

Other Resources


For these Gale Group Resources, use the subject term: Great Depression, 1929-1934. You can also search for more specific topics: try New Deal, 1933-1939 or Banking Crisis, 1933
General OneFile
Expanded Academic ASAP
General Reference Center Gold
Student Edition
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Academic OneFile
Biography Resource Center For information on famous people associated with WWII. Search by the person's last name.
SIRS Copy this subject heading: Great Depression (1929-1939) and paste it into the search field. You can also try more specific subject headings, such as New Deal (1933-1939)or Dust Bowl (1930s).
Facts on File For pre-search, biographies, primary sources and images.

Internet sites

Voices from the Dust Bowl Search photographs, songs and interviews collected during the Great Depression, now archived in the Library of Congress.
America from the Great Depresion to WWII Photos from the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information Collection, now archived at the Library of Congress.
America in the 1930s Sponsored by the University of Virginia. This site has a year-by-year timeline of the Great Depression and information on movies, comic books, even Babe Ruth!
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Photos, speeches, real stories contributed by real people.

BPL: Electronic Resources

History Study Center This resource was designed just for students! Start here to learn more about the Great Depression, see a timeline of important events, learn about key people and places. An excellent starting point for your research.
History Resource Center: U.S.. A good starting point for pre-search and fact-checking as well as more advanced searches. Use the subject search Great Depression, 1929-1934. This site will also let you limit your searches to reference, biographies, periodicals, news, primary sources or maps and multi-media.
America: History and Life. This database indexes scholarly and popular articles on American history. You can limit your search to full text if you want articles instead of citations.

Updated, 9-0