American Decades Primary Sources: 1930-1939

  • Volume 4
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0787665916
  • ISBN-13: 9780787665913
  • DDC: 973.91
  • Shipping Weight: 5.35 lbs ( 2.43 kgs)
  • 800 Pages | Print | Hardcover
  • © 2004 | Published



The United States in the 1930s was dominated by the economic difficulties of the Great Depression, which impacted life on all levels for much of the population. The Depression spurred federal programs in business and industry and investment in the arts and humanities, generating a heretofore unparalleled support for and public interest in literature, architecture, photography, and other ventures. At the same time, the country's economic woes did not discourage crime or social debate. The 1930s was a decade rich in new cultural and social programs, as well as political debate and legal challenge.

The following documents are just a sampling of the offerings available in this volume:

  • "Notes on a Cowboy Ballet," Aaron Copland's notes for "Billy the Kid"
  • "Progress in Michigan," newsletter of the Works Progress Administration
  • Land of the Spotted Eagle, by Luther Standing Bear
  • A Century of Progress Exposition: Official Pictures in Color, exposition booklet
  • "What's the Matter with Congress?" by Senator Lester J. Dickinson
  • Text facsimile of Al Capone's indictment
  • Eleanor Roosevelt's letter of resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution
  • "Will the New Deal Be a Square Deal for the Negro?" by Jesse O. Thomas
  • Saga of the CCC, by John D. Guthrie
  • "Are We Going Communist? A Debate," by Everett Dean Martin and Earl Browder
  • Photography of the Great Depression: Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans
  • Cover and pages from "Action Comics No. 1," by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster
  • "Children Hurt at Work," by Gertrude Folks Zimand
  • Letter from Albert Einstein to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Box score of the Cincinnati Reds–Brooklyn Dodgers game on June 15, 1938



"This carefully crafted new offering from Gale is sure to be a worthy heir to the discontinued classic documentary American history reference source, The Annals of America (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968-1987),.. Gale's latest contribution to the field is intended to serve as a companion to their popular series, American Decades (Gale Group, 1994-2001) and would complement many of the publisher's other prominent reference works in American history, notably the two-volume stand-alone Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America: Primary Documents (see ARBA 2001, entry 271). This work will also make an ideal companion set for the many libraries that already own The Annals, as this new work offers limited coverage, its entries usually provide essays about and excerpts from primary sources rather than the full text of the sources themselves, it is more comprehensive, and despite some inevitable overlap, its selections are generally different...American Decades: Primary Sources is certain to become the centerpiece of many serious American history reference collections. This new work is so innovative and well done that it may become a classic itself, and at its advertised price of less than $100 for each sturdy, well-designed volume, well worth the investment." --ARBA (2004)


"Aimed at the high-school and undergraduate levels, but definitely accessible to middle-schoolers, this set is a treasure trove of more than 2,000 primary sources on U.S. history and culture represented by more than 75 types of sources, such as architectural drawings, graphs, letters, magazine articles, memoirs, reports, Supreme Court decisions, speeches, and literary works. This resource is excellent as a companion to the American Decades (Gale, 1996-2000) set or as a stand-alone. Even if a library had access to all of the books, periodicals, and other items used as sources, they would lack the surrounding context and the added features, not to mention the convenience. Secondary school libraries in states with curriculum standards that require access to primary resources should place this on their priority purchase lists if they can afford it. Undergraduate and public libraries supporting historical research should also consider purchase."--Booklist (April 2004)

— Booklist

"This set provides access to information that will be difficult to find in other places without a great deal of weeding. It can begin the student thinking critically about events in history. Your students need access to this set, especially if you have American Decades."--Reference for Students ( (May 2004)

— Online