New Stuff, Resources, Updates

1933 = Hard Times

In 1933, the Great Depression was at it’s lowest low. Newly elected, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office and on March 4, 1933 gave his famous “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” speech. The New Deal was unveiled, and the National Recovery Administration (NRA) was born.

Harris & Ewing, photographer. FDR Franklin Delano Roosevelt- radio broadcast. [Between 1933 and 1940] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>

In Biddeford and surrounding towns, times were hard and times were changing – cherished businesses closed, like Tom Evans’ Department Store [in Shaws Block, now Biddeford Savings’ parking lot], and the Biddeford branch of the Socialist Party met on the regular.

Tom Evans Department Store bankrupt, Biddeford Daily Journal, January 27, 1933

“Hobos” lived in the woods behind the grand homes on South Street, and hitched rides on the coal barges that traveled the river. States were fighting loudly to repeal Prohibition.

Biddeford in 1933

Mill workers marching down Main Street in the NRA parade, Oct. 29, 1933 (Image 1550)
States march to repeal Prohibition, Biddeford Daily Journal, Sept. 13, 1933
“Hobo Jungle” – Biddeford Daily Journal, August 15, 1933
River hitchhikers, Richard Vines Engine junked – Biddeford Daily Journal, August 18, 1933
Biddeford Socialist Party – Biddeford Daily Journal, August 7, 1933

If I’ve piqued your interest (and I hope I have!) and you want to read more about this tumultuous year, you now have FREE online access to the Biddeford Daily Journal from the years 1928-1934, (so the entire start of the Great Depression), which wasn’t available anywhere online before now. This work was done this summer as part of our ongoing newspaper digitization project. (See! Even when you can’t see us librarians working, we are. We are sneaky like that.) Even better, the entire run of La Justice de Biddeford, from 1896 to 1950 was completed and is also now online, so you can read the Franco perspective as well! Enjoy.

To read more about Biddeford at the beginning of the Great Depression, explore our historic newspaper collection and browse by Title or Year/Decade.

United States National Recovery Administration, Funder, and Sponsor United States National Recovery Administration. NRA member, we do our part. [Washington, D.C.: National Recovery Administration, ?] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.