Thursday, September 15, 2016

HAPPY DAYS includes many data collections of interest to genealogists. One that is likely to interest many of our genealogists is Happy Days, the official newspaper of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

The CCC was created by Congress in 1933. It provided jobs for unemployed, single men (most 17-25 years of age). These men worked on conservation projects like road and trail building, tree and shrub planting, erosion control, and also responded to natural disasters like floods and forest fires. By time the program ended in 1942, the CCC had established work camps in every state, and provided employment for 3 million young American men (and 8,500 young American women, who toiled in camps known by their slang name, "She-She-She" camps).

Sign for CCC companies in the Badlands

Happy Days was a privately owned newspaper that was available for purchase in CCC camps, or could be mailed to the folks back home. It cost 3 cents per week if purchased in a camp exchange, 5 cents per week if mailed back home. This record set includes weekly issues from 1933 through 1940. It is browsable only (not indexed at this time).

Happy Days was intended to serve as a source of information and entertainment for CCC enrollees. Each issue included articles on camp work projects and accomplishments, camp leisure activities like sports, involvement of CCC enrollees in disaster relief, and hanges in the CCC administration and higher-level personnel. Each issue also included editorials and a few advertisements.

Each issue also includes black and white photos, illustrations, and several cartoons drawn by staff artists. The photos can picture camp buildings, recruits engaged in camp work projects and leisure activities, and CCC officials and higher-level personnel. Photos of individuals are generally labeled; group shots are generally not labeled. Photos are generally fairly good quality, although contrast can be poor at times.

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