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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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GREAT DEPRESSION

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GREAT DEPRESSION. Entering the term "Great Depression" in the entry finder of this encyclopedia introduces the reader to the vast impact this period of American history had on Dubuque. (The term will turn up "in red type" over and over again in the finder.)

In 1931 the Dubuque City Council continued authorizing public works improvement projects to help provide work for the unemployed. In November, the council approved the construction of a concrete storm sewers to serve Valley, Quinn, and Rosedale STREETS. A vitrified tile sewer was also approved on 28th Street. (1)

In 1932 unemployed men aided by the county relief agency were hired to dig surplus garden products. Owners of the gardens were asked to send their names and addresses to the Telegraph Herald, Times Journal and the Relief Department. A committee assigned men to dig the products which were transported to the food station at Fourth and Iowa. Farmers often volunteered to dig the products themselves and leave it in sacks to be picked up. Unemployed men, however, were often willing to hike or hitch hike to the farms for the work. (2)

Clothing collections were made at SPAHN AND ROSE LUMBER COMPANY between 1:00-4:00 p.m. If people were unable to bring the clothing to the site, they were asked to call the Chamber of Commerce which would send drivers to pick up the material. (3)

Food collections were also organized. An appeal, for example, was made by the food committee of the Citizens' Emergency Relief. In two days in early January 1933, Dubuque residents contributed more than five tons of canned vegetables and fruits to those unemployed. Two weeks previously the same amount of food was collected. Trucks donated by Western Grocer Company, Cartigny Fruit Company, and Dennis Brothers Company hauled the food collected by the Boy Scouts to the food station at Fourth and Iowa. (4)

Photographic evidence of the impact this period had on Dubuque was collected by John VACHON. Several of his photographs, stored in the Library of Congress, follow:

Looking through the garbage dump for useable items.
Shanties of people who lived near the city dump
Young boys line up at the city mission for soup to take home.
Homeless men line up before their clothes are fumigated, and they are offered showers.

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Source:

1. "City to Start More Projects to Provide Jobs," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, November 3, 1931, p. 2

2. Jobless Ready to Dig Spuds If Given Chance," Telegraph Herald, October 26, 1932, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-wRGAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IL4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=4856,2507826&dq=peaslee+and+company+dubuque&hl=en

4. Ibid.

"Tons of Food Are Collected Here," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, January 8, 1933, p. 16. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PPNFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JL4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=4036,4311543&dq=peaslee+company+dubuque&hl=en
























The following three interviews compiled by the WPA are also available. These tell the personal views of those who lived during this time.

1) GREAT DEPRESSION: DEAF AND UNEMPLOYED IN DUBUQUE: THE DIMARCOS REMEMBER THE GREAT DEPRESSION

2) GREAT DEPRESSION: LOSING THE BUSINESS: THE DONNERS RECALL THE GREAT DEPRESSION

3) GREAT DEPRESSION: THE GREAT DEPRESSION HAS CHANGED PEOPLE'S OUTLOOK: THE BEUSCHERS REMEMBER THE GREAT DEPRESSION IN DUBUQUE, IOWA