Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holidays Far From Home

What was life like in a C.C.C. camp during the holidays?

Typically, any enrollee who had earned the privilege and who wanted to would be allowed to go home for the holidays if time permitted and distances were not too great. This wasn’t too difficult for enrollees whose camps were close to their hometown. For enrollees who’d traveled across the country, it might not be possible. Many enrollees in Arizona C.C.C. camps were from Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, so getting home for Thanksgiving or Christmas wasn’t always possible.

To ease the pain of separation from family and loved-ones, most C.C.C. camps prepared special dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas and held Christmas parties, often “adopting” local children and inviting residents to visit the camps.
Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees performed no work on Thanksgiving and Christmas and a special holiday meal would be prepared and often special menus would be printed up describing the day’s meal, occasionally noting that cigars or cigarettes would be available following the meal. Additionally, a Company roster would sometimes be printed in the menu, to become a souvenir of an enrollee’s time in the C.C.C.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It Wasn't Always About Work In the CCC

How much free time do you have each week? What do you do with your free time?
Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees generally worked on field projects Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day, and half a day in camp on Saturdays. Evenings and part of the weekend were reserved for leisure time and usually enrollees were allowed to spend their free time any way they saw fit. Most camps offered classes after the evening meal and there was almost always a recreation hall in the camp where enrollees could play games like billiards, ping pong or cards. A camp library was usually stocked with magazines and books and this was usually a quiet place where enrollees could study or write letters home. At least one camp library even had a sign that read, "Have you written home this week?"

Camp Library, Riley Creek Wisconsin. The sign reads: "Do It Now."

Camps that were located close to towns and cities generally had fewer morale problems than camps that were located far from population centers. When a camp was located close to a town or city, the camp commander usually authorized the use of a vehicle to carry enrollees into town on the weekend so they could see a movie or attend a dance. At least one camp commander obtained movie tickets from a local theatre owner and offered them as a reward to the enrollees in his camp.

Most camps also had a camp "canteen" that sold small items like candy bars, gum, tobacco and simple luxury items. The funds raised in the canteen were often used to buy sports equipment for the company or to fund other company activities.

The camp recreation hall and canteen for Company 847, Grand Canyon.

One of the most remote camps was located at the bottom of Grand Canyon, near Phantom Ranch. (This was one of about six CCC camps at Grand Canyon National Park.) Enrollees assigned to the Phantom Ranch camp carried a pool table from the south rim to their camp in order to have some new entertainment in their recreation hall!

Enrollees from Company 818 play croquet at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

What would you be willing to do in order to have something to do in your spare time?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ideas for CCC Researchers

Put yourself in their shoes.

There are many ways to go about researching the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps. One way to get started might be to consider certain questions about the program, or to put yourself in the shoes of a CCC enrollee or CCC camp commander.

What was it like for a young CCC enrollee to leave his family and go to work in a CCC camp? What things would a new enrollee need to take with him to camp? What things would a new enrollee be given when he arrived in camp? If you were a CCC enrollee, do you think you would be homesick sometimes? Would you write home to tell your family and friends how you were doing and what you were doing? What would you do when your enrollment in the CCC was over? Would you ask to stay in or ask for your discharge and go home?

If you were a commander in charge of a CCC camp, what things do you think you would have to think about? What potential problems would you face? How would you deal with discipline problems? How would you reward hard work and good behavior? How would you handle trouble between your CCC enrollees and residents of a nearby town?

Put yourself in the place of a resident of a small town that learns it is about to have a CCC camp established right down the road. What questions would you have? Would you want to know if young men from your town could work in the camp? Would you be concerned because "outsiders" were moving in near your town? What benefits would come from having the camp nearby? What might be the potential drawbacks to having a camp established near your town?

These are all things you can consider as you begin your research of the CCC. In the course of your research you'll probably discover how real-life CCC enrollees and camp commanders dealt with these questions. Perhaps in your research you'll actually meet and talk to men who were in the CCC to get their personal experiences from that time.

Civilian Conservation Corps Writing Contest Rules Posted!

The contest rules have been posted at the bottom of the page for prospective contest entrants. Also, the CCC Resource Blog has been modified to permit posting of comments from visitors. If you have questions about the contest, post them. If you are working on a CCC research project and would like to share some of your story with other visitors to the Resource blog, please post your comments, too.

Word about the contest has been sent out to each of the county school systems in Arizona, either by email or by snail mail. In addition to the rules, which have been added today, more information about the contest will be posted here in the coming days, along with tips about how to research the CCC and things you might consider as a CCC researcher and writer.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Other Useful Sources

While there are not a lot of books that deal specifically with the CCC, there are hundreds of books about the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, many of which contain references to the CCC and also useful information to help put the CCC program in its historical context. Some authors argue that the New Deal was a great success, while others argue that it was not a success and some argue that the programs of the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression. In using these source materials, keep in mind the author's point of view and their opinion. What is their thesis regarding the New Deal? What main point are they striving to make? Weigh their arguments against other authors and check their sources to see if they've done sufficient research to back up their claims.

Here, in no particular order are a few books that deal with the Great Depression and/or the New Deal:
The Bonus Army by Paul Dickson & Thomas B. Allen
Riding the Rails by Errol Lincoln Uys
FDR's Folly by Jim Powell
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
The New Deal in Arizona by William S. Collins
FDR and His Enemies by Albert Fried
Dust Bowl by Donald Worster
The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
The Great Depression by Robert S. McElvaine

This list is not exhaustive by any means and new titles may be added here from time to time so check back occasionally.

Monday, August 27, 2007

CCC Writing Competition Announced!!

Information packets announcing the Arizona CCC 75th Anniversary Student Writing Competition are being sent out to teachers and educators across the state. The contest is open to Arizona students in 6th through 12th grade. Submissions must be postmarked no later than Saturday, January 12, 2008. If your school does not have information about the contest, you can send a request for information to:

Check back here from time to time for any contest updates and new information regarding CCC research. Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Books About the CCC

This list isn't in any particular order and isn't all-inclusive, but it should start you off in the right direction in your CCC research. This blog isn't intended as a way to sell books. You should be able to obtain copies of some of these books at your local library. Other books, especially the government publications can be hard to locate and an interlibrary loan may be needed if you decide you want to obtain a copy of the book in question.

Without question one of the single best books on the CCC is John Salmond's book subtitled "A New Deal Case Study," which is long out of print but which can be borrowed at local libraries and at ASU. Check back occasionally to see if new source material has been added to this list.

Louis Lester Purvis, The Ace in the Hole: A Brief History of Company 818 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (Columbus, GA: Brentwood Christian Press, 1989)

Alfred Emile Cornebise, The CCC Chronicles: Camp Newspapers of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2004)

John A. Salmond, The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942: A New Deal Case Study (Durham: Duke UP, 1967)

Peggy Sanders, The Civilian Conservation Corps In and Around the Black Hills (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004)

Leslie Alexander Lacy, The Soil Soldiers: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression (Radnor [Pa.]: Chilton Book Co., 1976)

United States, Department of Agriculture, The Forest Service and The Civilian Conservation Corps: 1933-42, FS-395 (Washington: GPO, 1986)

Christine E. Savage, New Deal Adobe (Santa Barbara: Fithian Press, 1991)

Kathy Mays Smith, Gold Medal CCC Company 1538: A Documentary, (Paducah, KY: Turner Pub., 2001)

Larry N. Sypolt, Civilian Conservation Corps: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005)

Robert J. Moore, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona’s Rim Country: Working in the Woods, (Las Vegas: Univ. Of Nevada Press, 2006)

Renee Corona Kolvet & Victoria Ford, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada, (Las Vegas: Univ. Of Nevada Press, 2006)

Where to start....

There are a number of useful books detailing the history and work of the CCC from 1933 to 1942. Your local library may have some of them, or you school librarian may be able to obtain them for you. Elsewhere on this page you'll find a list of some of the more exhaustive studies of the CCC. Also remember that the CCC story is covered in other books about the Great Depression.

The internet can also be a useful tool for conducting research for your writing project, but remember to use the internet carefully and to always double check internet sources if you can because not everything that appears on the internet is accurate or unbiased.