3 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2017 4:39 PM by Larry Shockley

    Research help- history of social welfare



      I am a graduate assistant at DePaul University and need assistance with finding some materials for a professor. I’m hoping you can help me out! This professor would like me to find videos (short or long) or audio clips that would help illustrate life before welfare (before social security, public housing, food stamps, etc.) during the 1920s-1940s, specifically focusing on women and children. If you know of anything like this, any pointers in the right direction would be very helpful! 


      Thank you!

        • Re: Research help- history of social welfare
          Research Services at the National Archives Tracker

          Hi, Ms. Warzecha,


          Our staff is researching your question and we hope to have a helpful answer for you very soon.

          Thank you for contacting History Hub!

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Research help- history of social welfare
            Research Services at the National Archives Tracker

            Hello Ms. Warzecha,

            Thank you for contacting History Hub with your inquiry.

            A good place to start your research is to peruse the holdings of the NARA Motion Pictures Branch in the National Archives Catalog. However, most of the material is not available for download from the catalog. If you would like to only see material available online, you can use the filter options on the left-hand side of your results page to limit your results. By choosing the “Digital Descriptions with Digital Objects” filter under the “Data Source” header, you can filter your results so that you only see records that have been digitized and are available for download from the catalog. Further down, under the heading “Refine By: Type of Materials,” you will see “Moving Image and Sound Recording” options. Clicking these filters will limit your results so that you will only see either Moving Image items and/or Sound Recording items.


            For items that do not have a digital copy, you have several options to access these items. If a copy is available to researchers, you can come into the National Archives at College Park and make a copy of these items using our equipment. If you decide to come the National Archives at College Park you may need to bring in your own video recording device and/or digital storage device such as a flash drive. NARA sells blank DVDs if needed, but you are also allowed to bring your own.

            If any of the films described in the catalog interest you, please be sure to note the Local Identifier Number. The Local Identifier Number is the number that the Motion Picture, Sound and Video staff use to locate and identify films and will be the identifier you use to order any films if you choose to do so.


            If you are unable to visit NARA in person, you may wish to hire a professional researcher to assist you. A list of experienced professionals is made available as a courtesy on NARA's website here.


            Several good starting points for your research would be the Universal Newsreel Collection (UN-UN), the Ford Collection (FC-FC) and the Harmon Collection (H-HF). There are also a number of other record groups that may prove useful to you. The records of the Works Progress Administration (RG 69), Federal Housing Administration (RG 31), and Women’s Bureau (RG 86) have motion picture holdings, some which are digitized. Additional sources may also be found within the Records of the Children’s Bureau (RG 102), and the Social Security Administration (RG 47). You may also find helpful a film detailing the need for the New Deal, which can be found here, as well as searching for the works of Lewis Hine, a photographer who documented child labor during the period you are researching. There is also a digitization project found here focusing on American Social Health Association Records.

            We hope this is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Motion Picture Branch directly at mopix@nara.gov or the Still Pictures Branch at stillpix@nara.gov. Once again, thank you for contacting History Hub!

            3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Research help- history of social welfare

              Just recalling my grad school days in the MPA program at WVU, I remember the Sheppard-Towner Act for the Promotion of the Welfare of Maternity and Infancy from 1922 to be a turning point.. Paved the way for federal aid to states a few years later under the Social Security Act. NIH came later (1930)


              Maybe you could take NARA documents such as this Guide to a National Health Policy, take bullet points from the period in question, and create a slide show with them!

              1 person found this helpful