Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)

New Deal Agriculture

Information on primary and secondary sources available through NARA that deal with topics of New Deal agriculture policy and links to related web sites.


Contents: "Farm Security Administration: Farm hand in Goldendale, Washington," ca. 07/ 1936. (FDR Presidential Library NLR-PHOCO-A-53227(5290))


Selected bibliography

Farm Security Administration: FSA county supervisor discussing farm plan with rehabilitation client, ca. 09/1939. (FDR Presidential Library NLR-PHOCO-A-71140)

Baldwin, Sidney. Poverty and politics: the rise and decline of the Farm Security Administration. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1968. xvi, 438 p.
HD 1765 1935 B3
Provides information on the history of the Farm Security Administration through its termination in 1946. Uses the history of the FSA as a case study for relief agencies. Based in part on NARA records.

Cannon, Brian Q. Remaking the agrarian dream: New Deal rural resettlement in the Mountain West. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. x, 195 p.
HB 1952 C36 1996
Details the activities of the New Deal’s rural resettlement program in the Rocky Mountain states up to the program’s termination in 1945 and presents some of the stories of the men and women who participated in the program, which transferred farmers living on poor land to new farms and converted the inadequate farm lands into timber or grazing reserves. Based in part on federal records from RG 16, 69, 83, and 96.

Conrad, David Eugene. The forgotten farmers: the story of sharecroppers in the New Deal. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965. 223 p.
HD 1478 U6 C6
Provides an account of the experiences of those tied to the land in the 1930s by poverty, lack of education, and societal pressures and the way in which New Deal farm policy, particularly the work of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, affected their situation.

Irons, Peter H. The New Deal lawyers. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982. xiv, 351 p.
KF 6020 I7
Provides an account of the cases against three key agencies of the New Deal: The National Recovery Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board. Focuses specifically on the lawyers involved in defending the agencies and the litigation strategies they used in the cases. Uses materials from the FDR Presidential Library and federal records from RG 9, 16, 25, 60, and 145.

Knepper, Cathy D. Greenbelt, Maryland: a living legacy of the New Deal. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. xvii, 275 p.
F 189 G7 K58 2001
Begins with an account of the origins of Greenbelt in the New Deal Resettlement Administration and traces the history of the community to the present, focusing on the ideology of the planners and residents. Explores Greenbelt both as a case study in planned communities and as an example of the legacy of the New Deal in America. Uses materials from the FDR Presidential Library and federal records from RG 16, 96, 121, 196, and 207.

Perkins, Van L. Crisis in agriculture: the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and the New Deal, 1933. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. vii, 245 p.
HD 1765 1933h
Explores the origins and details of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, responses to the legislation, and the first year of operations of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, following the history up to the resignation of George N. Peek as administrator in December 1933. Uses NARA resources from the FDR Presidential Library and from RG 16 and 145.

Poppendieck, Janet. Breadlines knee-deep in wheat: food assistance in the Great Depression. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1986. xvii, 306 p.
HV 696 F6 P6
Begins with a brief history of agriculture in the years leading up to the Great Depression, then shifts to discuss the introduction of food relief programs under the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations. Provides insight into governmental attempts to deal with the paradoxical situation by which Americans were simultaneously overproducing food and starving in the 1930s. Uses materials from the FDR Presidential Library and from RG 16, 69, 73, 124, and 145.

Saloutos, Theodore. The American farmer and the New Deal. Ames: The Iowa State University Press, 1982. xviii, 327 p.
HD 1761 S1
Account of the history of agriculture in America, beginning in 1918. Provides a historical context for New Deal agricultural policy, as well as exploring both the work of governmental agencies and the conditions of farmers in the 1930s. Based in part on materials in the FDR Presidential Library and RG 16, 83, 96, and 145.

Schapsmeier, Edward L. and Frederick H. Henry A. Wallace of Iowa: The agrarian years, 1910-1940. Ames: The Iowa State University Press, 1968. xiii, 327 p.
E748 W23 S3
Biography focusing on the development of Wallace’s agricultural philosophy and on his political life during the period in which he was most focused on agricultural affairs, including his work as Secretary of Agriculture from 1933-1939. Uses resources from the FDR and Hoover Presidential Libraries and from RG 16.

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National Archives and Records Administration resources

Archives Library Information Center

The ALIC collection includes government documents relating to agencies including the Agricultural Adjustment Agency/ Administration, the Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the Rural Electrification Administration, and the Resettlement Administration/ Farm Security Administration.

"Just one of the million mattresses made by low income-farm families - every mattress made by the family itself of surplus cotton. These are proud possessions in homes where such comfort was unknown before. This Maryland Negro woman shows her mattress to J. B. Pierce, a federal Negro field agent," ca. 1942. (FDR Presidential Library NLR-PHOCO-A-48223933(228))

Information about available materials can be accessed through the library’s online public access catalog.

Federal records

The National Archives and Records Administration has a variety of materials relating to agricultural policy and programs during the New Deal era. Information is held in various record groups, including RG 16, 73, 96, 103, 124, 145, 221, and 258. For more detailed information on available records, see the web version of the Guide to the Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. The following related finding aids are available through ALIC:

Preliminary inventory of the records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture (RG 16), compiled by Helen Finneran Ulibarri, 1979.
CD 3026 A32 no. 191

Preliminary inventory of the records of the President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief (RG 73), compiled by Leo Pascal, 1962.
CD 3026 A32 no. 137

Preliminary guide to the records of the Farmers Home Administration (RG 96), compiled by Stanley W. Brown and Virgil E. Baugh, 1959.
CD 3026 A32 no. 118

Preliminary guide to the records of the Farm Credit Administration (RG 103), compiled by Daniel T. Goggin, 1963.
CD 3026 N3 no. 28

Preliminary inventory of the records of the Surplus Marketing Administration (RG 124), compiled by Forrest R. Holdcamper, 1965.
CD 3026 N3 no. 97

Preliminary inventory of the records of the Consumers' Counsel Division of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (RG 145), compiled by Truman R. Strobridge, 1963.
CD 3026 N3 no. 26

Preliminary inventory of the records of the Rural Electrification Administration (RG 221), compiled by Patrick G. Garabedian, 1977.
CD 3026 A32 no. 189

Preliminary inventory of the records of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (RG 258), compiled by Norwood N. Biggs, 1964.CD 3026 N3 no.26

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Related collections in the Washington, D.C. area

Archives of American Art

The Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution is home to several collections relating to the Farm Security Administration. Additional information on these and other materials available through the Smithsonian Institution is available on the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System web site.

"Farm Security Administration: farmers whose topsoil blew away joined the sod caravans of "Okies" on Route 66 to California," ca. 1935. (FDR Presidential Library NLR-PHOCO-A-7420(279))

Greenbelt Library

The Greenbelt branch of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System is home to the Tugwell Room, which holds information relating to the history of the community. Named for Rexford Tugwell, head of the Resettlement Administration, the Tugwell Room includes newspaper clippings concerning Greenbelt and other planned communities from local and national newspapers, back issues of publications including the Greenbelt News Review and The Cooperator, records concerning community organizations and consumer cooperatives, and secondary sources on city planning, cooperatives, and the New Deal era. The web site for the Tugwell Room provides information about the collection as well as photographs and a searchable database of newspaper clippings available at the Tugwell Room.

Greenbelt Museum

Greenbelt, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. and one of the Resettlement Administration’s planned communities, remains an important part of the legacy of the New Deal era. The Greenbelt Museum, a restored house of the New Deal era that features both temporary and permanent exhibitions, provides information about the history of the community and the Resettlement Administration. The University of Maryland maintains a web site, Virtual Greenbelt, that includes information on the Greenbelt Museum, an overview of the history of Greenbelt, and slideshow of images of Greenbelt.

New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources

In addition to the library'’ collection of secondary sources, New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources provides an overview of special collections held by the Library of Congress and links to digitized materials and selected resources relating to New Deal programs in Library of Congress divisions. The following finding aids for Library of Congress collections are available through ALIC:

Da Capo Press. Walker Evans: photographs for the Farm Security Administration, 1935-1938: a catalog of photographic prints available from the Farm Security Administration collection in the Library of Congress. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973.
HN 57 D22

Melville, Annette. Farm Security Administration Historical Section: a guide to textual records in the Library of Congress. Washington: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, 1985.
LC 25.8 2:F 22

National Agriculture Library

The National Agriculture Library, the official library of the Department of Agriculture and one of four national libraries, has an extensive collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of agriculture in the United States.

The above photographs are available online through NARA's online catalog.


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