Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Benjamin Ford, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beverly Chiarulli, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gary L. Bailey, Ph.D.

Abstract

The Great Depression was a time of extreme poverty for many Pennsylvanians. Individuals had to cope with the economic and cultural stress associated with the worst economic depression in American history. Archaeology can contribute to the understanding of these times by highlighting parts of the Great Depression that are often overlooked by popular history. This research focuses on understanding the buying strategies of individuals enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). To understand how consumer behavior changed in the Great Depression, and the economic influence of enlistment in the CCC, excavations were carried out at a CCC camp in the Allegheny National Forest. The results of these excavations were then synthesized with the results from excavations at two other CCC camps, two Depression-era domestic sites, and two pre-Depression era domestic sites. . By comparing consumer behavior at these sites, it is possible to show the effect that the CCC provided to its enrollees compared to the general population that was not receiving federal relief. The outcome of the synthesis is an in-depth understanding of buying strategies in the 1930s and the affect that the Great Depression had on them.

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