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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: July 2014

4 - Society and Culture in the 1930s


“I am a widow with a son fourteen years of age and am trying to support him and myself and keep him in school on a very small sum which I make,” an anonymous woman wrote Eleanor Roosevelt in 1934. “I am greatly in need of a Coat. If you have one which you have laid aside from last season [I] would appreciate it so much if you would send it to me. I will pay postage if you see fit to send it.” Another woman, from Philadelphia, wrote to FDR of her family’s plight. “[T]here has been unemployment in my house for more than three years. . . . I beg of you to please help me and my family and little children for the sake of a sick mother and suffering family to give this your immediate attention so we will not be forced to move or put out in the street.” A woman from Louisiana addressed her plea to Eleanor Roosevelt, writing, “dont you know its aful to have to get out and no place to have a roof over your sick child and nothing to eat[.] I cant tell all my troubles there isnt any use we only have a few days to stay here in the house now wont you please send me some money.” A twelve-year old boy from Chicago wrote to FDR, asking for help because his family was four months behind in their rent. “Everyday the landlord rings the door bell, we don’t open the door for him. We are afraid that will be put out, been put out before, and don’t want to happen again. We haven’t paid the gas bill, and the electric bill, haven’t paid grocery bill for 3 months. . . . My father he staying home. All the time he’s crying because he can’t find work. I told him why are you crying daddy, and daddy said why shouldn’t I cry when there is nothing in the house. I feel sorry for him.” The boy concluded his letter, “Were American citizens and were born in Chicago, Ill. and I don’t know why they don’t help us. Please answer right away because we need it. will starve Thank you. God bless you.”

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A Concise History of the New Deal
  • Online ISBN: 9781139021258
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