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Civilian Conservation Corps Veterans Project, 1980
The Civilian Conservation Corp Veterans Project consists of a series of 52 interviews conducted with 56 men who worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the years of the Great Depression.
The Civilian Conservation Corp was a public work relief program under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Established in 1933, the CCC provided employment to unemployed, unmarried men aged 18-25 through conservation and natural resources development work. Enlistees were employed on rural lands owned by Federal, State, and Local Governments. The camps were run by reserve officers of the U.S. Army. The program ended in 1942, following the entrance of the United States into World War II the previous year.
Maryland had an average of 21 CCC camps over the nine years the program was in existence. Over 30,000 men were employed at camp sites across the state, primarily in Western Maryland. Work included reclaiming forests, fighting forest fires, restoring historic structures, and building trails, campsites and cabins.
The interviews conducted for this project were with men who attended a reunion of CCC Veterans sponsored by the Maryland Forest and Park Services in the Department of Natural Resources. Most worked in Maryland CCC camps; at the time the interviews were conducted, all of the interviewees were residents of Maryland. The majority of the interviewees were enrollees in the CCC. A few of the interviews are with LEM's (Local Experienced Men), who were employed in supervisory positions, providing knowledge of the conservation work and guidance to the enrollees. There are also interviews with camp staff members including Foresters, U.S. Army and Navy servicemen, an Education Advisor, and a Soil Conservation Engineer.
Topics discussed in the interviews include: camp life: work assignments, recreation, camp discipline, relations with staff, religion, relations with local communities; interviewees employment experiences during the Depression; preliminary training prior to entering the camps; the role of the army; procedures for choosing camp locations.
The project inventory provides a list of the 52 oral histories in the collection along with a summary of topics discussed for each interview, the camp where they served, and the years enrolled. Interviewees can also be located through the guide to interviewees by camp site.
Each interview includes an audio recording, transcript, biographical form, and a photograph of the interviewee. Most have an interview summary/tape index. (Note: The original cassette recording for OH 8420 is missing; there is no transcript available for this interview).
Documentary and photographic Civilian Conservation Corps material that was part of this project was given to the Maryland Hall of Records (now the Maryland State Archives).
The Maryland Historical Society has a few other items relating to the Civilian Conservation Corp in its collection. PP 243 and MS 3083, the Kenneth Elsworth Stewart Photograph and Manuscript collections, contain items related to Stewart’s enlistment in the Savage River CCC camp in Westernport, MD. There is also a copy of the 1937 CCC Annual for the 3rd Corp, which represented camps in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.
To make a request to view transcripts or other materials from the Civilian Conservation Corp Veterans Project, please contact the Special Collections Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak to the Special Collections Librarian at the desk in the library.