Women's Studies Section

Association of College & Research Libraries / American Library Association
New Deal Network

Primary Source Types for Women's Studies

Court Documents
Government Documents
Interviews / Press Conferences / Speeches
Periodicals - Journals
Broadsides / Posters
Subjects for Women's Studies
African American Women
Birth Control / Reproductive Rights
Economic Status
Labor / Employment
Law / Legal Status / Public Policy
Personal Narratives
Politics and Government
Social History
United States
Women's Rights
Women's Suffrage
World War, 1939-1945
Coverage Dates


Archive is Ongoing / Completed
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
Date Searched
January 2007


Sponsored by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, the New Deal Network covers the public works and arts projects of the New Deal and the Great Depression of the 1930s. This site contains some 20,000 items, mostly primary source materials, gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources. The majority of materials are found in the New Deal Document Library and the New Deal Photo Gallery. The Document Library is made up of letters, newspaper articles, personal narratives, speeches, and other texts; the Photo Gallery contains over 5000 Great Depression era images.

New Deal Network materials are appropriate for study and research at all levels, including the most scholarly. However, there is also a prominent body of materials at the top level on this site aimed at teaching in high school and lower grades and can make the site seem appropriate only for that level. However, this focus only enables the use of these materials by those educators.

Women's Studies Content

Resources in the Documents Library include writings of Eleanor Roosevelt on the political rights of women, court decisions and opinions on labor law involving women, women’s issues in the Works Progress Administration, and a number of brief autobiographies written in 1935 by young women attending the Student League for Industrial Democracy Summer Leadership Institute.

There are numerous photographs of women in the Photo Gallery, mostly, but not entirely, white women. The majority of the images fall into the categories of work, education, job training, and schools and camps for unemployed women. There is a series of photographs from Carbon Hill, Alabama, an area particularly hard hit by the Depression, that show New Deal relief and funding programs. Women are depicted as beauty shop operators, domestic aides, and librarians and are also shown in social settings.


Discovering the extent of women’s studies materials in this database takes some persistence. The basic search engine searches everything included in the New Deal Network, meaning results will include things such as lesson plans and bibliographies in addition to primary source materials. There is no option to limit searching to the Documents Library or the Photo Gallery. Combining a search term with “photo” will retrieve primarily items from the Photo Gallery (i.e., “women AND photo”).

There are a number of options for browsing the Documents Library – subject heading, date, author, publisher, and collection – which helps give one a sense of the scope of this collection. The only option for browsing the Photo Gallery is by subject, and individual records show interesting subject headings (for example, “Schools and Camps for Unemployed Women”) that do not appear in the subject index. Unfortunately, none of subject heading links within individual records is active.

Acronyms in the various indexes are not spelled out, leaving the user to puzzle over items such as NYA (National Youth Association) or OWI (Office of War Information).

Truncation yes (automatic)
Boolean yes (AND, NOT, OR)
Phrase Searching yes (automatic)
Help Screens/Quality yes / very basic
Controlled Vocabulary yes
Keywords in Context no

Archive Review:

Susan White
Princeton University
Last updated: January 16, 2007

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