A. This question was inspired by a post in our Forum.
The CCC—which happens to be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year—was established March 21, 1933, as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. By the time the CCC disbanded in 1942, when Congress ceased its funding, more than 2.5 million workers had participated.
It was a multi-agency effort, with the Army running CCC camps and various federal agencies sponsoring them.
Over 4,500 camps were established in all states. African-Americans were segregated in “colored” camps. Each enrollee earned at least $30 per month, and had to send $25 of it home to family.
It’ll help your search if you know your ancestor’s camp and the dates he worked, so ask your family members and pore over your research for clues.
The Colorado state archives has a statewide CCC enrollment index, which gives the enrollee’s name, county, birth date and camp.
Employment records of CCC workers are in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. You can fill out a research request following these instructions. Provide as much information as possible, and send either a written OK from the person in the record or proof of the person’s death.
Most administrative and other records—project reports, correspondence, the CCC’s Happy Days weekly newspaper, publicity materials, meeting minutes, photographs, accident and death reports—are part of Record Group 35 at NARA’s College Park, MD, facility.
The CCC records aren’t indexed and few are microfilmed, so you’d need to travel to NARA or hire a researcher there to use them. The finding aid Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps by Douglas Helms should help.
Some of the camps had newspapers, you can learn their titles using the Center for Research Libraries online search.
Learn more about the CCC on these sites:
- The National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni site has historical information and listing of states and camps.
- NARA’s online article tells you about the formation and operation of the CCC.
- The Past is Prologue blogger writes about the CCC’s anniversary and suggests resources.