Unemployed men at a soup kitchen during the Great Depression, 1936
The Great Depression was a global economic depression that in the United States lasted from 1929 to roughly 1939. It started in the United States and spread to other countries around the world, particularly in Europe.
The “Black Tuesday” stock market crash of October 29, 1929, marked the beginning of the Great Depression. But there were other contributing causes as well, such as a decline in consumer spending, bank failures and panics, Federal Reserve policies, maintenance of the gold standard, and protectionist trade policies.
During the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States reached roughly 25 percent, and those who kept their jobs saw incomes decrease by about a third. On the Great Plains, the depression was compounded by the Dust Bowl, a drought that forced thousands of families off their farms.
Despite measures taken by President Herbert Hoover, the depression worsened over the course of his term, leading to the landslide election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. President Roosevelt introduced a variety of programs, regulations, reforms, and agencies collectively known as the New Deal. Some of the best known of these include the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The American economy began recovering in 1933, but a second downturn in 1937 negated some of the gains. However, by World War II, when America began ramping up industrial production, the Great Depression had ended.
Learn more about the Great Depression through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Great Depression
Newspaper headlines about the "Black Tuesday" stock market crash of 1929 Wed, Oct 30, 1929 – 1 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.comBank closes following bank run, 1930 Thu, Nov 6, 1930 – Page 1 · Lenox Time Table (Lenox, Iowa) · Newspapers.comPhoto of local merchants making deposits at bank to try to stem bank run, 1930 Wed, Dec 24, 1930 – 1 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comUnemployment rate statistics for November 1931 Fri, Nov 27, 1931 – 33 · The Dayton Herald (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.comNewspaper coverage of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1932 landslide presidential election victory Wed, Nov 9, 1932 – Page 1 · The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Newspapers.com1933 newspaper article about what the gold standard is and how it operates Fri, Apr 21, 1933 – 3 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.com1934 editorial about Great Depression-era bread lines Fri, Jul 20, 1934 – 6 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article about a St. Louis "Hooverville" in 1935 Sun, Dec 22, 1935 – Page 56 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.comWorks Progress Administration (WPA) project to provide jobs in Pennsylvania, 1935 Sun, Aug 11, 1935 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com1935 editorial arguing that all of President Roosevelt's "3 R's" should be given equal importance Mon, Feb 25, 1935 – Page 6 · The Burlington Free Press (Burlington, Vermont) · Newspapers.comFirsthand accounts of farmers living through the Dust Bowl in 1937 Tue, May 4, 1937 – Page 4 · The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.comText of President Roosevelt's Fireside Chat in April 1938 explaining new recovery program Fri, Apr 15, 1938 – Page 12 · The St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comFormer farmers now migrants in California need aid in 1938 Fri, Apr 8, 1938 – Page 21 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · Newspapers.com1939 editorial: "War Not Solution for Unemployment" Thu, Nov 30, 1939 – 10 · The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com