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Education in the Civilian Conservation Corps

> Location: Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
> Citation: Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Newsletters, 1934-1940.1934. Murphy Library Special Collections and Area Research Center, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Collection Summary

This Friendly Finding Aid is on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp newspapers. (Did you know that CCC workers lived in camp settings and that these camps published their own newsletters?) This collection consists of thirteen folders covering camps in three different Western Wisconsin counties. This finding aid, however, will focus on only the newspapers in Jackson County. The Jackson County collection consists of five folders, covering the years from 1934-1937. They focus on three different CCC camps: North Bend, Lake Arbutus, and Irving. While there are only three camps, there are five newspapers listed for Jackson county. This is because the Lake Arbutus camp newspaper changed its name three times!

Beginning in 1929 the U.S. and the world fell into a deep economic depression, called the Great Depression. In 1933, unemployment was around 25 percent of the work force, or 13 to 16 million unemployed people! Desperate to help people out and keep American youth (men) out of the overcrowded labor market and also off the streets, President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the CCC. Approximately three million men would enroll by 1942. Schooling was an important part of CCC camps because, many young men at this time did not have a high school diploma and the CCC gave them a chance to learn and develop basic skills.

The folders in this collection are filled with camp newspapers that range from only a couple months to a couple years long. Since all the documents are printed newspapers, they’re much easier to read than handwritten primary sources. But be aware, because these newspapers are over eighty years old the print has faded in some spots! The newspapers cover a wide range of subjects in CCC camp life, from serious camp news, to lighthearted jokes and gossip, as well as sports news and scores. Almost every newspaper in this collection includes some sports news such as games and scores, but this finding aid will focus on education in the CCC camps.

Collection Description

The newspaper titles that make up this finding aid are:
Arbutus Bugle Call
The Bugle
Camp Irving Newsletters

This finding aid has the papers organized by title and date beginning with the earliest newspaper available for that title. (The date for each newspaper will be given when available, but not all newspapers have dates!) Please note that most of these newspapers include the date of publication on the title page, but not always! For example, the editor of 1606 usually put the date in the center of the title page underneath the title, but the editor of Arbutus Bugle Call and The Bugle put the date of publication on the bottom of the title page. The Camp Irving Newsletters editor is not consistent. For most Camp Irving Newsletters, the date of publication will be either typed or handwritten in the upper right-hand corner of the title page. Don’t worry, although it seems confusing you will figure it out! If a newspaper in the collection places the date in an unusual location it will be noted in this finding aid.
*A note about the Camp Irving Newsletters: Be aware that the Camp Irving Newsletters are much less complete, and much less organized than the other camp newspapers. Page numbers are often not included, so look for the titles.


The 1606 (June-December 1934) Folder 1

1 June 1934
Troop 1606 arrived at their new camp in North Bend, Jackson County just before this was published. The paper describes their new living conditions and states that the camp will soon be having educational lectures led by various professors and engineers. Look for the list of lecture topics to see what lessons the camp offered.

30 June 1934
Page through this edition and notice that the camp had an Education Advisor, a continuing lecture series, and a camp library with 300 volumes! Take a look at how the camp encouraged reading through a competition.

15 July 1934
Something to look for in this paper is the column that lists the number of men in company 1606. In addition, notice all the engineering lectures, a proposed debate team, and winter education program. Do you think these programs were popular?

30 July 1934
Read page one of this paper to see how the camp intended to use new technology such as slides and “moving pictures” into their schooling. Another column is about the arrival of new books in the camp library. Read to get a sense of how well the members of the camp knew each other. The newspaper is able to refer to people by last name and it expects that the entire camp knows who it is!

30 August 1934
Read the column on page one written by Educational Director, Edward Libowski. Take note of the emphasis being placed on getting a good education and working to achieve valuable skills while in the CCC. Page two gives the camp’s library hours and describes the new series of educational lectures.

15 September 1934
Read the column that focuses on “Education through reading.” It shows how hard the camp leaders tried to encourage reading and achieving an education. Page two lists a number of classes that will be available to the camp, including algebra, geometry, and many more! Do you think the men wanted to spend their spare time doing algebra?

15 October 1934
Page four lists new books in history, economics, and spelling available to the CCC members. This paper also states that spelling classes will be given, and encourages the camp members to attend. How popular do you think spelling class was?

30 November 1934 (Date can be found at the top of each page for this edition)
This is the second paper at their new location in Glidden, Wisconsin. The newspaper states that the Glidden camp has better living conditions than the camp at North Bend. Read all of page six. It gives great information about the debate team. It tries to encourage and convince the men that education and knowledge is power. What does this tell you about how motivated the men may have been toward schooling?

December 1934 (No day is given for this newspaper)
This is the last paper available for the 1606 company. Be sure to read page eight. Even though it is the last paper available it continues to endorse education among the company!


Arbutus Bugle Call (February 1935) Folder 3

7 February 1935
This is the earliest paper available for the CCC camp stationed at Lake Arbutus. This issue makes several references to education. It encourages the men to “get the reading habit.”


The Bugle (March- June 1935) Folder 4

20 April 1935
Notice that the Lake Arbutus newspaper had changed its name, but this is still the newspaper for the same company as the Arbutus Bugle Call. Page six offers information on educational news in camp and states that new books are arriving in the camp soon.


Camp Irving Newsletters (1935-1937) Folder 5

22 October 1935 (Look for the postage stamp on the title page that gives the date)
This is the first newspaper available for this camp. Right away on the second page(unnumbered) look for the column that describes the meeting about the class schedule.

31 January 1936
Notice on the first page(unnumbered) the column titled “Evening Classes to be Offered.” Once again the editor encourages participation and argues that these classes will make those who attend more employable. Do you agree?

15 February 1936
Pay close attention to the column titled “Classes Begin,” on page 106 (numbered at bottom of page). This section gives details on the classes being offered at Camp Irving. Are they similar to the other camps?

May 1936 (No day given)
This newspaper has some very interesting information on the courses being taught to CCC members. Such as “U.S. history in 20 lessons” and “World History in 12 lessons.” Be sure to read the column titled “The Classroom.” This column shows many other types of skills being taught to CCC members.

30 June 1936
This newspaper does not have a lot on education, however it includes some great information about the CCC and its function. A large part of this paper is a “Questions and Answers” section for beginner CCC members. Some of the topics covered include: wages, CCC history, and the work performed. How much did CCC members earn?

June 1937 (No day given)
Be aware that the camp has changed location to Black River Falls and that a year has passed since the last newspaper! Be sure to read the column on page nine titled “The Educated Man.” This column was written by the Educational Advisor of the camp and shows how much the camp leaders valued educational programs. What does the repeated push for classes and training tell us about education in CCC camps?


Reviewed by: Joshua Krings