New York State And The Great Depression

This presentation highlights the urban songs and photographs of the 1930’s and the New Deal Programs that had a major impact on New Yorkers. They cover political (“We’ve Got Franklin D. Roosevelt Back Again”), personal (“How Can An Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live”), humorous (“Old Age Pension Check”, “Breadline Blues”) and spiritual (“No Depression”). Also, special attention is given to popular New Deal Programs (“C.C.C. Blues”, “NRA Blues”, “Casey Bills WPA”)

All songs are introduced by the performers and their origin explained, including the historical timing and background.


Depression Overview

This program addresses the four main areas of the Great Depression in America and is divided into the following sections:

  • Devastation: Economic Collapse
  • The Hobos: A Transient Life
  • Happy Days Are Here Again: FDR and the New Deal
  • The Dust Bowl And Mass Migration


Ballads Of The Dust Bowl

This program is dedicated exclusively to the songs and photographs depicting the plight of migrant workers who fled their farms in search of jobs. It highlights disastrous ecological effects of years of poor agricultural policies. It follows, with both heartache and humor, the journey west taken by thousands of families as portrayed in Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” Song titles include “Prairie Farewell”, “Hard Luck Okie”, “Foreclosure Blues”, and “Keep Moving”. The photographs that accompany these songs are some of the most moving portraits of the 1930’s America ever recorded.


Dust Bowl Talk

In this presentation, Program Director and researcher, Tom Naples, presents a talk on the Dust Bowl. It covers the origins of the greatest manmade ecological disaster to fall on America. This 45-minute program includes a handful of songs that relate directly to the content.

Please contact us for booking prices and if you have any questions.