Monday, July 25, 2011

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC): Materials in the Grems-Doolittle Library

1937 CCC Schenectady District Annual.

In anticipation of the reunion of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumni, family, and friends to be hosted by the Schenectady County Historical Society on Monday, August 15, we would like to highlight materials related to the CCC in our collections. 

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program during the Great Depression. The program began in 1933 and ceased operations in 1942. The CCC provided manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources for unemployed, unmarried men from ages 18 to 25. Over the nine years of the program's existence, approximately 2.5 million young men participated. Camps were set up around the country; CCC workers built trails, roads, campsites and dams, stocked fish, built and maintained fire tower observer's cabins and telephone lines, fought forest fires, and planted nearly 3 billion trees nationwide.

Breakabeen Camp S-93, Schoharie County, N.Y.
Photograph from Larry Hart Collection.
Peter Lesniewski of Rotterdam wrote to Larry Hart in 1991 about his experiences in the CCC: "I enlisted in the CCC during the Depression days, and they sent me to Haddam, Connecticut. And then my brother enlisted and got to go to California, and my cousins went to Tennessee and Idaho. So when I got discharged from my first enlistment, I came home but I couldn't find a job so I enlisted again, and guess where they sent me, to Breakabeen Company 222, Camp S93 [in Schoharie County] so that's where I stayed for another 16 months. I can tell you I never regretted it." The Larry Hart Collection includes several of Lesniewski's photographs of his CCC service, photographs of Ernest W. Hall from his service in the CCC, and copies of Hart's newspaper columns about the CCC.

Unknown (left) and Americo
Marino (right) at CCC camp, 1936.
Photograph from Marino Collection.
The Marino Collection of photographs in the Grems-Doolittle Library includes numerous photographs depicting the CCC service of Americo Marino of Schenectady. The collection also includes picture postcards of CCC camps in New York State.

The library's holdings also include a copy of the 1937 annual of the CCC's Schenectady District. In that year, the Schenectady District was comprised of 24 counties of eastern New York and was bordered by the Canadian border to the north; the counties of Jefferson, Lewis,  Herkimer, Otsego, and the western part of Delaware to the west; the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state lines and the New York City lines to the south and southwest; and by Lake Champlain, and the Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut state lines to the east. The district headquarters was located in Schenectady. The annual includes administrative information, photographs, and rosters and histories for each of the district's CCC companies.

Most recently, the library has documented last year's CCC reunion. The DVD recording includes the perspectives of eleven CCC alumni who participated in the reunion, along with researcher Marty Podskoch. Mr. Podskoch's completed book, Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy, will be featured at this year's reunion.

If anyone has information about or pictures of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps for donation or loan, or if you worked at a CCC camp and would like to participate in an oral history interview, please contact the Librarian/Archivist, Melissa Tacke, at 518-374-0263 or at

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