Minnesota During the Great Depression

Best Bets

Workers Alliance picketing for jobs; children holding signs, St. Paul.Depression: Minnesota in the Thirties, by D. Jerome Tweton.
Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1981.
MNHS call number: HB3753.M6 T83 1981

Works Progress Administration Collection
The Works Progress Administration papers collection includes information related to the history of Minnesota collected and prepared under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project, administrative files, and a photo and negative collection containing numerous views of WPA projects around the state of Minnesota.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Records of Governors Floyd B. Olson, Hjalmar Petersen, and Elmer A. Benson, 1932-1938.
General correspondence, subject matter files, state department files, federal department files, and organization files documenting the gubernatorial service of Olson (1931-1936), Petersen (1936-1937), and Benson (1937-1939). Many of these files discuss economic conditions and programs for Minnesotans. 
MNHS call number: Digital finding aid




The great stock market crash on Oct 29, 1929, precipitated a series of drastic changes in the lives of many Minnesotans. Farmers throughout the state faced huge drops in crop and commodities values while city workers saw declining wages continue. These urban and rural residents found themselves joining forces to represent labor concerns throughout the state, leading to increased participation and election of Farmer-Labor association candidates. New Deal programs such as the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps provided unique employment opportunities throughout the state. And while the political and economic landscape of the state evolved, life in Minnesota went on. 

This guide highlights various resources to provide information on the political, social, and personal experiences of Minnesotans from this time. The following tabs in the guide organize these resources by the following topics: 

Research Options

Related Research Guides & Webpages

Guide Author

Ellen Jaquette
Reference Librarian

MNHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves


Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library

Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Library Hours:
Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday to Wednesday: Closed

More Information on Visiting the Library


Contact Us:


Email Us

Visit our Main Website

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Hours and More InformationEmail us