The Great Depression began in the fall of 1929, shortly after the October stock market crash. The worst economic downturn the United States has ever seen, the depression lasted until the late 1930s with the start of the second world war. Poverty and unemployment were widespread and the impact of the Great Depression on New Jersey was undeniable. By 1933, 10% of our state’s population was dependent on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. New Jersey issued begging licenses to the poor and unemployed and the Works Progress Administration was in full force, leading to the development of projects including the expansion of Fort Dix, Roosevelt Park in Edison and Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway. The following rare photos, many just recently released by the Library of Congress, capture life in New Jersey during the Great Depression.

Though the Great Depression may seem so far in the past, many from the era are still alive. We’ve probably all heard stories of the Great Depression from our parents and grandparents, if we didn’t live through it ourselves. My grandmother worked as a seamstress, supporting her 10 brothers and sisters. Do you have a depression-era story? Please share in the comments below, and share photos to the Only in New Jersey Facebook Page.

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