Books, Theses, and Dissertations

Akron Art Institute. Ohio: A Photographic Portrait, 1935-1941: Farm Security Administration Photographs. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1980.

A photographic examination of social conditions in Ohio during the Great Depression. This book includes biographical information for each photographer, as well as brief essays on the genesis of the Farm Security Administration project, related historical data, and federal relief programs.

Arnold, Joseph L. The New Deal in the Suburbs: A History of the Greenbelt Town Program, 1935-1954. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1971.

An in-depth analysis of the history of greenbelt towns, a major city planning project undertaken by the federal government in the 1930s to provide jobs and housing for low-income families. Greenhills, Ohio, located in Hamilton County, outside of Cincinnati, was a greenbelt project. The author utilizes books, government documents, newspapers, and unpublished manuscripts, as well as personal interviews with officials involved in the program. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography.

Bower, Kevin P. Relief, Reform, and Youth: The National Youth Administration in Ohio, 1935-1943. Ph.D. diss., University of Cincinnati, 2003.

A detailed examination of the history of the National Youth Administration in Ohio from 1935 to 1943. The NYA provided jobs, student loans, and vocational training for young people affected by the Great Depression.

Caulkins, F. A. Progressive Ohioans and New Deal Housing Programs in Dayton. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Professional Press, 2001.

In an effort to document housing activity in small industrial communities under the New Deal, the author provides an historical account of the efforts of Dayton's leaders to provide public housing for poverty-stricken families. He also discusses the creation of the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority and analyzes the correlation between city slum areas and racial settlement patterns.

Caulkins, Frank A. Ohio and Public Housing Under the New Deal: Four Case Studies. Ph.D. diss., University of Akron, 1992.

These case studies of four Ohio industrial communities focus on the efforts of local leaders in Akron, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown to provide public housing for low-income families during the New Deal. The author conducted extensive research using primary and secondary sources, including books, government documents, newspapers, periodicals, and theses and dissertations.

Dorn, Richard D. A New Deal for the Glass City: Local Initiatives for Federal Aid During the Great Depression in Toledo, Ohio. Thesis (M.A.), University of Toledo, 1992.

The author analyzes how the New Deal affected the political, economic, social, and cultural life of Toledo, as well as how the political collaboration between local officials and national leaders stimulated Toledo's recovery from the Great Depression. The book concludes with a bibliographic essay.

Hall, Roger H. "Paul Block: The Self-Made Man and the New Deal." Thesis (M.A.), Bowling Green State University, 1989.

A case study of Paul Block, wealthy Ohio businessman and owner of The Toledo Blade, and a prominent figure in the history of Toledo's newspaper industry. According to the author, the Great Depression and the New Deal challenged Block's firm belief in the philosophy of the self-made man.

Leach, Charles B. Greenhills, Ohio: The Evolution of an American New Town. Ph.D. diss., Case Western Reserve University, 1978.

An in-depth analysis of the history of Greenhills, Ohio, which was built during the Great Depression by the Resettlement Administration, an agency of the federal government, as part of the greenbelt project. The author, who describes greenbelt towns as an experiment in housing and community living, examines the planning principles and concepts of the designers, the history of the planning and construction of Greenhills, and the consequences and changes brought about by the greenbelt project. Of particular interest are the numerous illustrations and the extensive bibliography.

Maurer, David J. "Public Relief Programs and Policies in Ohio, 1929-1939." Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1962.

A detailed study of the impact of the Great Depression upon Ohio and the state's response to the problems of mass unemployment and poverty, with an emphasis on the effectiveness of federal and state relief programs and policies in providing aid for the citizens of Ohio. The book includes an extensive bibliography.

Merritt, Brad E. “The Turbulent Years: An Appraisal of New Deal Relief Efforts in Ohio, 1933-1934." Thesis (M.A.), Ohio University, 2004.

A survey of public relief programs and a critical appraisal of their effectiveness in the state of Ohio. The author focuses on the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Civil Works Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps in depth.

Wagner, Robert W., ed. Ben Shahn in Ohio: The Summer of 1938. Upper Arlington, Ohio: The Cultural Arts Commission, City of Upper Arlington, 1988.

A collection of photographs taken in Ohio by Ben Shahn as part of a project sponsored by the Farm Security Administration, an agency of the federal government. This book includes biographical information about Shahn, a noted artist, graphic designer, and photographer who traveled around the country taking pictures documenting the effects of the Great Depression on American society.


Billington, Monroe and Cal Clark. "Ohio Clergymen, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the New Deal." Ohio History 101 (Winter-Spring 1992): 21-36.

In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, mailed a form letter to religious leaders around the country asking for advice on how to alleviate the suffering of the American people caused by the Great Depression, as well as their opinions about the effectiveness of the various New Deal programs. After analyzing 470 letters from Ohio, the authors concluded that Ohio clergymen supported the New Deal for the most part, recognizing the need for an increased role of government in the daily lives of individual Americans.

Bower, Kevin P. "'A Favored Child of the State': Federal Student Aid at Ohio Colleges and Universities, 1934-1943." History of Education Quarterly 44, no.3 (Autumn 2004): 364-387.

An in-depth study of Ohio colleges and universities and the development of the National Youth Administration, a New Deal program that provided federal aid to college students. According to the author, the NYA had a significant impact on expanding the role of the federal government in higher education in the United States.

Bower, Kevin P. "Out of School, Out of Work: Youth, Community, and the National Youth Administration in Ohio, 1935-1943." Ohio Valley History 44, no.2 (Summer 2004): 27-40.

Originating as a branch of the Works Progress Administration, the National Youth Administration functioned as the sole New Deal agency dedicated to serving young people in the United States. In this article, the author analyzes the combined efforts of local community agencies and the NYA to provide relief, guidance and occupational training for unemployed Ohio youth during the Great Depression.

Dorn, Jacob H. "Subsistence Homesteading in Dayton, Ohio, 1933-1935." Ohio History 78, no.2 (Spring 1969): 75-93.

An historical account of a subsistence homestead community established near Dayton, Ohio, from 1933 to 1935. The Dayton community was significant because it was the first subsistence homestead unit under local sponsorship to receive federal support from New Deal agencies. According to the author, tensions between the federal government and the local unit committee responsible for managing the Dayton project helped lead to its eventual collapse.

Maurer, David J. "Relief Problems and Politics in Ohio." In The New Deal: The State and Local Levels, eds. John Braeman, Robert H. Bremner, and David Brody, 77-102. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1975.

An in-depth study of the impact of the New Deal upon the state of Ohio. The author, who examined books, government documents, newspaper articles, theses, and unpublished manuscripts, concluded that the state government's relief efforts during the New Deal were inadequate in providing money and progress for welfare administration in Ohio.

Reiman, Richard A. "The New Deal for Youth: A Cincinnati Connection." Queen City Heritage 44, no.3 (Fall 1986): 36-48.

A detailed analysis of the legacy of the New Deal in Cincinnati, Ohio. The author focuses on the efforts of prominent Cincinnatians, including Clarence M. Bookman, Charles P. Taft, II, and Aubrey W. Williams, to administer federal New Deal programs, such as the National Youth Administration, at a local level.

Rosenthal, Beverly. "The New Deal Art Projects in Cincinnati." Queen City Heritage 54, no.4 (Winter 1996): 19-36.

During the Great Depression, the federal government initiated one of the most extensive art patronage programs ever undertaken in the history of the United States. This article analyzes the historical significance of four New Deal programs designed to support unemployed artists, with an emphasis on local art projects in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sobczak, John N. "The Politics of Relief: Public Aid in Toledo, 1933-1937." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 48, no.4 (Fall 1976): 134-142.

Toledo was one of the largest cities in Ohio hardest hit by the Great Depression. In this article, the author describes how local political conditions, including corrupt politicians, graft, and abuses of the patronage system, all contributed to the inability of government programs to provide adequate relief to the impoverished and unemployed citizens of Toledo.

Sternsher, Bernard. "Depression and New Deal in Ohio: Lorena A. Hickok's Reports to Harry Hopkins, 1934-1936." Ohio History 86, no.4 (Autumn 1977): 258-277.

Between 1933 and 1936, Lorena Hickok, a journalist and field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Works Progress Administration, traveled throughout the country in order to study the living conditions of Americans affected by the Great Depression and the effectiveness of local relief administrations. Hickok wrote four reports about Ohio, in which she described a wide variety of subjects, including subsistence homestead projects, WPA activities in Ohio, President's Roosevelt's prospects for reelection, work relief programs, and plant modernization.

Vazzano, Frank P. "Harry Hopkins and Martin Davey: Federal Relief and Ohio Politics During the Great Depression." Ohio History 96 (Summer-Autumn 1987): 124-139.

Martin Davey was the governor of Ohio from 1935 to 1939. This article examines his contentious relationship with Harry Hopkins, the director of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and his opposition to President Roosevelt's New Deal policies.

Web Sites

Library of Congress. America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945 (accessed May 31, 2010).

The photographs from this Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection vividly depict the impact of the Great Depression upon American society.

Library of Congress. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives (accessed May 31, 2010).

The photographs in this Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944.

Ohio Historical Society. Welcome to the Ohio Historical Society (accessed May 31, 2010).

The Ohio Historical Society web site includes links to artifacts, newspapers, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts that can be used to research life in Ohio during the Great Depression. Ohio History, the scholarly journal published by the Society, includes many articles about the effect of the Great Depression and the New Deal upon the citizens of Ohio.

Plain City Historical Society. Plain City Historical Society: "Saving the Past for the Future" (accessed May 23, 2010).

The Plain City Historical Society, which was founded in 1982, operates a museum and historical library in which artifacts are displayed and the history of Plain City, Ohio, is preserved.

Roosevelt Institute. New Deal Network (accessed April 8, 2010).

This web site is a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works and arts projects of the New Deal. It includes links to articles, bibliographies, lesson plans, letters, photographs, and speeches about the Great Depression and the New Deal.