Two Florida International University students currently enrolled in my America & Movies: the Great Depression and New Deal Era in Film and History class had the privilege of visiting the Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. private collection in downtown Miami earlier this month. While there, they selected a number of items to be included in a display of materials primarily culled from our own rare books and special collections library.
Both students have been looking at New Deal programs aimed at the young, and especially at materials relating to the Roosevelt administration’s Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC). One item that caught their attention was The Forest Ranger Game, a 1930s game board designed by the Indoor Games Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota to capitalize on the popularity of Roosevelt’s CCC program. The students have also selected another item from the Wolfsonian library collection for inclusion in their display: All-Story Love Stories, a popular weekly featuring a romantic tale by Edna Gorman entitled, “C.C.C. Sweetheart.”

The CCC provided employment for millions of undernourished urban youths whose parents had been thrown out of work by the Great Depression; the program required enlistees to send the majority of their paychecks back home to help support their families. It was assumed that performing manual labor in the “great outdoors” would help restore American boys both in body and soul. Clothed in military-style uniforms and stationed in barracks located in rural areas and state and national parks, these youths were set to work on various conservation and natural resource development projects. Between 1933 and 1942, three million young men—(most between the ages of 18 and 25)—were enrolled in the CCC for terms of six months or longer. There they gained an appreciation for nature that later helped spawn the post-war conservation movement in the United States.

The game board, periodical, and many other New Deal artifacts selected by the student “curators” will on display at Florida International University’s Green Library in mid-November and December, 2009.

~ by "The Chief" on October 28, 2009.

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