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The New Deal: Expanding Government in Time of Need
Primary Sources

Theme: American Political Thought: The Constitution and American Democratic Institutions
Topic: The New Deal: Expanding Government in Time of Need
Date: December 2005

Primary Sources from Partner Collections | The Log | George J. Bates Papers | Government Documents - NPS |

Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections | Newspapers - NPS | Murals |

Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions

Selections and annotations by SALEM in History program staff.

Primary Sources from Partner Collections

Selections and annotations by SALEM in History staff.

The Log (Salem State College) – Federal Programs for Students

Note: The Log is the Salem State College student newspaper. Issues of that publication noted below are located in the Salem State College Archives. For more information, contact Susan Edwards, Archivist at:

Although college enrollment grew as the result of New Deal programs, coeds during the Great Depression occupied a precarious position. Many of them relied on federal funding for tuition and living expenses—funding that ebbed and flowed depending on the politics in Boston and Washington, D.C. They also saw family and friends lose jobs or remain unemployed as the depression continued.  The following articles suggest the benefits of New Deal programs for Salem State students, but also the financial vulnerability


Spirit of N.R.A. Apparent Here.”  The Log (Salem State College) October 1933.

“It looks like a NEW DEAL for S.T.C.!”  More than ½ of students who worked over the summer were paid through a government program.  156 people (26% of college population) worked for a total of $1084.  Description of types of jobs, wages, and how it helped to pay tuition & other expenses.

Editorial: “Education and the New Deal.” The Log. (Salem State College) October 1933.

Students training to be teachers at Salem Normal School (now Salem State College) seemed to understand that employment after graduation was not guaranteed. In fact, when students or graduates did land professional employment, they were often featured in a short article in the student newspaper, The Log. This editorial, published in 1933, may capture the perspective of some of the Salem students.

F.E.R.A. Funds Aid Needy StudentsThe Log (Salem State College). June 1935.

More than 200 on payroll during the year.  Ratio of women/men reflected population of college, about 5 to 1.

"U.S. Again Aids Needy StudentsThe Log. Sept. 1935.

The National Youth Administration (NYA) was a federal New Deal agency established in 1935 to provide job training and funding for high school and college students. The college component of the program paid needy students to perform clerical and maintenance work on campus.

National Youth Administration Orders 50% CutThe Log (Salem State College) 30 September 1937.

Students at Salem Normal School (now Salem State College) could work up to 35 hours per week and earn up to 30 cents per hour. Participation in the program, however, was subject to funding from the federal government and The Log regularly reported on increases and cuts in funding that affected the number of students who could participate. The NYA ceased operation in 1943 but the college program can be seen as a predecessor to today’s college work-study programs.

Number of N.Y.A. Employees IncreasedThe Log (Salem State College). 28 October 1938.

This article cites an 8% increase of the number of students working in the N.Y.A. program.  Their maximum earnings were $10.20 per month.

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George J. Bates Papers – Comments on the New Deal

The Salem State College Archives has several scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about George J. Bates that are believed to have been collected by members of his family or staff. Many of the clippings are undated, although they are arranged in roughly chronological order

George J. Bates (1891-1949) was a Salem industrial worker-turned-politician who was active in local politics for more than three decades. He served as mayor of Salem from 1924-1937 where he was known for successfully reducing the city’s debt and winning funding for public works projects. The Republican Bates was elected to U.S. Congress in 1936 and served there until his death in a plane crash in 1949.



“Lodge Sees Better Old Age Pension Possible…” probably Beverly Evening Times. ca. 23 March 1939. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950. North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

This article, probably from a March 1939 issue of the Beverly Evening Times, reports on a speech given by Bates at a Republican Party event in which Bates speaks about problems with the New Deal Social Security program. Social Security was introduced in 1935 and included two components: a retirement program for workers and a welfare program for the elderly. Benefits were not to be paid until 1942, giving the system several years to build up money. In 1939, Social Security taxes were placed in a special fund separate from general government budgets.

“’Tax Dodging States’ Are Blasted by Cong. Bates in House Speech.” probably Salem Evening News. 12 June 1939. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950. North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

“Bates in Blast of Tax Dodging by Many States.” Beverly Times. 12 June 1939. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950. North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

“Figures Support Bates’ Stand.” Unknown newspaper. [nd]. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950. North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

While serving in the U.S. Congress, Bates spoke out against the New Deal, arguing that the federal programs took tax money from northern states to fund projects in the south. In these articles, Bates argues that southern states are using loopholes in federal tax regulations to lure northern businesses south and get an unfair share of federal assistance programs. Bates says that the solution to the economic depression is greater investment in industries rather than increased taxes.

“N.E. The Victim of Discrimination.” Gloucester Daily Times. 31 July 1939. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950. North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

Bates reiterates his argument about the south taking money from the north in a speech at Gloucester’s “Remonstrance Day.” Remonstrance Day was a day of protest by fishery workers against a new trade agreement which reduced duties for Canadian fish. North shore fishermen protested the treaty arguing that it was another way that the federal government was undercutting northern industry. Bates supports the fishing industry.

“Cong. Bates Declares Crash Will Come with Present Spending Plan.” Probably Beverly Times. ca. 19 December 1939. George J. Bates Papers, 1930-1950, North Shore Political Archives, Salem State College Archives.

In this article, Bates argues that relief programs should be under the control of states, rather than the federal government. He also speaks about the war in Europe and the possibility of American involvement.

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Government Documents-
Salem Maritime National Historic Site Creation


York, Samuel A. Special Report of the Department of Conservation Relative to Public Use of Old Derby Wharf in Salem.  Massachusetts Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, Boston, 29 November 1935.  Salem Maritime National Historic Site, National Park Service.

This report provides an overview of the selection of Derby Wharf as a designated National Historic Site. 

Act providing for State Co-operation in the Acquisition of Old Derby Wharf and Certain Adjacent Properties in the City of Salem and their Transfer to the United States Government for Restoration and Preservation as a National Monument.  16 June 1936. Salem Maritime National Historic Site, National Park Service.

Governor James Curley approved the Act to transfer Derby Wharf to the National Park Service, which at this time planned to use the site as a national historic monument and memorial to the sailors of Salem. 

Arno Cammerer, Director of the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior.  Memorandum 5 December 1935 for the Secretary. Approved 9 December 1935 by Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior. Salem Maritime National Historic Site, National Park Service.

Derby Wharf is here proposed for designation as a National Historic Site. The memorandum specifies that the City of Salem “plans to obtain WPA funds with which to tear down undesirable buildings now standing in the proposed area, and to do a certain amount of protective work on Derby Wharf,...” The Wharf’s significant history and attractive potential cost-free donation to the government contributed to Derby Wharf’s acceptance as the first designated historic site in the U.S. 

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Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections


The following articles are collected in the vertical files at the Salem Public Library special collections room on Salem history.


“Hearing Today Before House Committee on Derby Wharf” Salem Evening News.  8 May 1936.  Vertical File, Salem Public Library.

Hoping to acquire landmark and land for restoration – seeking state asst. National Park Service to oversee.  SPNEA present – will donate Richard Derby House.  Fed. to include Custom House.  Originally in SAMA files.

“Old Salem Wharf May Typify Glory of Clipper Days.  probably Salem Evening News.  25 May 1936.  Vertical File, Salem Public Library.

Federal Government developing historic sites to typify five “chief periods” in U.S. history. 

“Negotiations for the Derby Wharf Project Under Way.”  Salem Evening News.  10 July 1936.  Vertical File, Salem Public Library.

“WPA Quota Cut.  Officials are Making Thorough Examination of Every Local Case in Order to Bring Number Down.”  Eminent Domain possible.

“’Bates Folly’ Will Ruin Our Harbor.”  Salem Press.  Week Ending 5 June 1937.  Vertical File, Salem Public Library.

This critical editorial argues that in ceding Derby Wharf to the federal government, Salem will relinquish any future opportunities to develop the port area for commerce. 

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Colonial and Contemporary Civic Culture
Early and Modern Industries of Lynn,
William Riseman
oil on canvas
U.S. Post Office, Lynn, MA.

Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions


Campbell Soup: Peeling Onions, 1935
Margaret Bourke-White
On-line at: Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design, 1927 - 1936
February 14 - May 2, 2004



Fort Peck Dam, Montana, 1936
Margaret Bourke-White
online at:



MIgrant Mother, 1936
Nipomo, California
Dorothea Lange
Farm Security Admin. Collection
Courtesy the Library of Congress Online at:



Willie S. Pettway, descendant of a former slave of the Pettways. Gees Bend, Alabama,1937
Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress
Online at: American Memory



Natural Setting in Southwestern Minnesota
from the Minnesota Guide
American Guide Series, Federal Writers Project, 1938
Online at: The New Deal Network



East Side West Side: Exhibition of Photographs,1938
Silkscreen poster
The New Deal Network



Wilfred J. Mead
National Archives, Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps
Online at: A New Deal for the Arts


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