Photo Gallery: The 1930s

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Browse photos from each of the films in The 1930s collection.||

Throughout the 1930s, taste in popular music shifted dramatically with a wave of interest in "ethnic music." Louis Armstrong, pictured here with his band, gained renown along with artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. 

|Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House and Archives at Queens College;||

In the start of "The Golden Age of Hollywood," Grauman's Chinese Theater radiates glamour at the premier of a Hollywod movie.  The 1930s saw the production of the first movies with color and sound. 

|California Historical Society/Chamber of Commerce;||

The auto assembly line expanded by Henry Ford, posing here with his ten millionth authomile, allowed Americans to purchase cars inexpensively in the 1920s.  But the Great Depression saw nearly 92% of U.S. car makers go out of business. 

|Library of Congress;||

During the dark days of The Depression, many people turned to sports for entertainment.  Babe Ruth, above, continued to play baseball through 1935. 

|Chicago Daily News Negative Collection, Chicago Historical Society;||

Patriarch of the famous political family, Joe Kennedy made a fortune in the 1920s and cleverly cashed out before the Crash.  As the inaugural Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the 1930s, Kennedy crafted many of the major financial reforms still in practice today. 

|John F. Kennedy Library Foundation ;||

Clearing rock before work can begin on Hoover Dam, this High Scaler received higher pay for such a dangerous job.  Most laborers worked 12-hour days and received two unpaid days off per year for Christmas and Independence Day. 

|Nevada State Museum and Historical Society;||

This diversion tunnel is nearly finished in February 1932. After workers began pouring concrete for the dam in 1933, the project took just two more years to complete -- wrapping up two years ahead of schedule. 

|Bureau of Reclamation ;||

These drillers were some of the few African American workers on the hoover Dam construction site. In 1933, there were only 24 African Americans in a work force of 4,000 men.   

|Bureau of Reclamation ;||

A typical Boulder Dam laborer. c. 1934.

|Library of Congress;||

Before pouring the concrete for Hoover Dam, workers had to consteuct tunnels 56" in diameter to divert the Colorado River.  This drilling rig cleared tunnels 17" at a time.

|Bureau of Reclamation ;||

Beginning in 1931, an 8-year drought crippled the Midwestern and Southern Plains.  Here, crops whither in the searing sun of the Dust Bowl.

|Grimberg Film Archives;||

Dust storms could descend within minutes on an otherwise sunny day, catching many people off guard and far from home. 

|Library of Congress;||

Some residents believed they could pinpoint a storm's origins by the color of the dust -- black from Kansas, red from Oklahoma, gray from Colorado or New Mexico. 

|National Archives;||

In December 1935, experts estimated that 850 million tons of topsoil had blown off the Southern Plains during the course of the year, affecting 4.3 million acres of land.  If the drought were to continue, they speculated, that figure would rise to 5.3 million acres in just a few months. 

|Library of Congress;||

The late 1930s saw the largest human migration in U.S. history as 2.5 million people packed up and sought better lives outside of the Dust Bowl region. 

|Library of Congress;||

Seabiscuit was a hard-luck hero for Depression-era America who quickly became a national celebrity.

|Barbara Livingston;||

Jockey Red Pollard and his favorite horse, Seabiscuit


The wildly popular Man o'War has been called the best racehorse of all time. He won 20 of his 21 races, smashing American records in the 1919 and 1920 seasons. 

|Kneeland Library/Cook;||

Charles Howard, owner of Seabiscuit, was a wealthy auto magnate and great lover of horses. He purchased the then-unsuccessful Thoroughbred for $8,000 in 1936.


Son of the legendary Man o' War, the small but regal War Admiral shared an intensely publicized rivalry with Seabiscuit that captured the attention of Americans.  They would finally meet in 1938 at Pimlico in a race broadcast to millions over the radio. 

|National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame;||

A 1941 Civilian Conservation Corps poster captures the artistic style of the times. During the life of the CCC (1933-1942) the 3 million men who served in Roosevelt's Tree Army were credited with planting an estimated 2.3 billion trees -- half the trees ever planted in the U.S.

|Work Projects Administration Poster Collection ;||

The CCC's primary goal was to bring poor young men out of America's urben centers to rehabilitate their health and morale while contributing to their families' economic well-being.  A secondary goal focused on the country's needs for conservation in forests, farmland and parks. 

|Office of War Information Photograph Collection (LOC);||

In a publicity stunt designed to gain support for his New Deal programs, President Roosevelt visited CCC camps and rode Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Valley, VA on August 12, 1933.

|AP Worldwide;||

The official newspaper of the CCC, Happy Days, was distributed to every camp though many camps also printed their own papers as well.

|Public Domain;||

Bathers enjoy the CCC-built diving tower, beach and bathhouse at Big Ridge Lake in Tennessee. Located inside the 3,500-acre Big Ridge Park, the resort also contains a lodge, 19 vacation cabins and a special pool for children.

|Office of War Information Photograph Collection (LOC)