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Dwellers in Circleville's "Hooverville" in central Ohio, 1938

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The image of a decrepit shack that was one of many in "Hoovervilles" across American during the Great Depression.
Courtesy of Library of Congress, Shahn, Ben, 1938


The small, decrepit shack is a home in Circleville, Ohio's “Hooverville” in 1938. The image shows the exterior of the home that is typical to others of the time period during the Great Depression. As the Depression worsened in the 1930s, many blamed President Herbert Hoover for the intolerable economic and social conditions - which plays into the naming of these shantytowns by their residents. These "Hoovervilles" were found predominantly on the outskirts of major cities. 

Source-Dependent Questions

  • How would you describe the homes in a "Hooverville?"
  • How does the name symbolize the feelings of people toward President Herbert Hoover in relation to their situation? Is this characterization fair? Why or why not?

Citation Information 

Shahn, Ben, "Untitled photo, possibly related to: Dwellers in Circleville's 'Hooverville,' central Ohio," 1938. Courtesy of Library of Congress