John Dillinger was the nation’s top public enemy in 1934. He was charged in a string of bank robberies and for the murder of a police officer after being released from prison on parole for robbing a grocery store. Once again in police custody, Dillinger broke out of prison and fled the scene in a stolen car. He drove the car across state lines, violating the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act (a federal offense). The investigation was then turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This wanted poster was printed by the government in June 1934. Dillinger was located and surrounded by FBI agents at the Chicago Biograph Theater on July 22. Dillinger reached for his gun, and was shot and killed at the scene.
FBI Wanted Poster of John Dillinger, 06/25/1934, Publications of the U.S. Government (ARC 306713)
In 1932, home economists championed this thrifty couple’s use of home canning to provide fruits and vegetables for the family throughout the year.
Negro Family Budget of Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Bryan Expert Canners in Their Community, 05/19/1928
Dust storm in South Dakota
This photograph, taken on May 5, 1936, shows a dust storm blowing in South Dakota. The Department of Agriculture used such images to illustrate the environmental and land problems faced by farmers in the Northern Great Plains states and to educate farmers about soil conservation and recovery practices.
102 Floors, 6,500 Windows, 73 Elevators, 410 Days to Complete - The Glorious Empire State Building
President Hoover dedicated the Empire State Building on this day, May 1, 1931.
Herbert Hoover’s dedication was delivered from the White House where a ceremonial switch had been set up. The President touched the switch and an operator in New York was cued to turn on the Empire State Building lights.
Photographer Lewis Hine documented incredible aerial scenes of workers constructing the Empire State Building. Here’s one of Hine’s photos of a workman on the framework of the skyscraper.
Between Bakersfield and Fresno, California. On the Freights. Twenty years old and he has been hopping freight cars on the bum for two years. His home, which he has visited occasionally for two or three days at a time, is in Oakland, California. Here his father on Work Projects Administration, his mother who is engaged as a domestic when she can find work, and his married sister with her child live in a small house where there is a crowded and insecure atmosphere. His family is misinformed as to his activities and is not aware of his penchant for freight car travel. At one time he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps, but he quit after six months because the army routine was distasteful to him, so he went back to hopping the freights. He is a complete hobo and is not seriously in search of employment. He has no desire to travel as a gentleman hitch-hiker. “I wouldn’t thumb. Freights are a lot better.” 4/11/1940
Rondal Partridge, Photographer. From the Records of the National Youth Administration.
"Edison, Kern County, California. Young migratory mother, originally from Texas. On the day before the photograph was made she and her husband traveled 35 miles each way to pick peas. They worked 5 hours each and together earned $2.25. They have two young children… Live in auto camp. “ 04/11/1940
—Dorothea Lange, Photographer.
The photo is one of a series taken by Dorothea Lange and Irving Rusinow for an agricultural “Community Stability and Instability” study by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and which now form a record of pre-World War II rural life and social institutions.
Just 6 more days until the 1940 Census!
This was the first time that census takers asked a random sample of the population (about 1 in 20 people) additional detailed questions. These included new questions for women. For women who had been married, they were asked: whether they had been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children born.
The photos above were taken by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration:
“On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler, Arizona. Grandmother and sick baby of migratory family camped in a trailer in an open field. They came from Amarillo, Texas, to pick cotton in Arizona. 11/1940”
“Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children, ca. 02/1936”
“Kern County, California. A couple from Oklahoma, now resettled in California. They came four years ago. Photograph is in large-scale potato field where husband is crew foreman and oldest son operates the mechanical digger. They own their home in Shafter, 04/11/1940”
The full citation has some great details on this family:
Roseville, Placer County, California. On the Freights. Five o’clock in the morning in Roseville switch yards for freight going over the Sierra. A family of Mexican agricultural workers heading for Utah to top sugar beets. The mother is twenty, the father twenty-one, the child three, and the other man is the brother of the father. They had slept out overnight in the grass without bedclothing; the child’s overalls are wet with dew and he wears galoshes. A veteran migrant, he has been traveling by freight ever since he was four months old. His family follow a circuit of beets and cotton through Utah, Texas, and California.
Just 11 days until the release of the 1940 census!
Enumerators (census takers) attempted to count as many people as possible. About 120,000 enumerators went out into the city and the countryside with instructions to count every house, building, tent, cabin, hut or other place where people might be living.
This photograph’s original caption reads: “Roseville, Placer County, California. On the Freights. Five o’clock in the morning in Roseville switch yards for freight going over the Sierra, 04/19/1940”
Looking at this image, you wonder if the enumerators manage to count this family on this move? And where was this family going?
Just 13 days until the online release of the 1940 Census!
The original caption reads:”New York City’s Sixth Avenue elevated railway and the crowded street below, ca. 1940.”
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of New York City was 7.5 million in 1940, making NYC the most populous city at that time. It remains at the top even today, with the 2010 census showing over 8 million inhabitants.
On Saturday March 24 in New York City, you can get ready for the 1940 Census with expert guest speakers, including our own Connie Potter and Dr. Groves of the U.S. Census Bureau. The program is free but requires registration.
Just 14 more days until the release of the 1940 Census!
The citizens counted in this census lived through the Great Depression. Many were part of programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, including Ephraim Counser, who was at Mt. Morris Camp, N.Y, on 11/16/1933.
The 1940 census had new questions on it that reflected the government’s efforts to find out how the Great Depression was affecting citizens: residence five years earlier, income, highest level of school completed and detailed questions on unemployment history.
Are you ready to start your research on April 2? Get ready with one of our programs across the United States!
Just 34 days left until the release of the 1940 Census! The 1930s were a decade of turmoil and change as the Great Depression gripped the country. These records from the National Archives show part of the story of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. If you want to research these women further, soon you will be able to look in the 1940s census!
40 days to 1940 Census
Labor unions gained strength among Mexican workers during the Great Depression. In 1933 and 1934, the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) was involved in a large strike among the needle trade workers of Los Angeles. They had focused on organizing, not only European immigrant women, but Mexican and Mexican-American women. They published bilingual materials to attract the women and gain support in the Mexican community. The Federal government’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) became involved in trying to bring the workers and factory owners together for mediation.