Skip to main content

Give Now

Civilian Conservation Corps

Civilian Conservation Corps

By Catherine A. Paul

Poster promoting the Civilian Conservation Corps made by the Illinois WPA Art Project Chicago, 1935 [View Image]
[View Image]
Poster promoting the Civilian Conservation Corps made by the Illinois WPA Art Project Chicago, 1935
Photo: Library of Congress
Digital ID ppmsca 12896

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 1933 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of the earliest New Deal programs to address unemployment during the Great Depression. The CCC provided national conservation work, which included duties such as planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting forest fires, and maintaining forest roads and trails (“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC),” n.d.). Notably, the CCC planted more than 2 billion trees, earning itself the nickname “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” (Olson & Mendoza, 2015). CCC [View Image]
[View Image]
Civilian Conservation Corps
Photo: National Archives
National Archives Identifier 195832

CCC members were primarily unemployed men between 18 and 25 years of age (Ohio History Connection, n.d.). They lived in work camps akin to military units and were given an allowance of $30 cash per month (“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC),” n.d.). By the end of the program in 1942, the CCC employed nearly three million men and 8,500 women. While all races were eligible to participate in the CCC, work units were segregated (Ohio History Connection, n.d.). However, all members received the same pay and benefits and membership was meant to be proportional to the racial breakdown of society. Through the duration of the CCC, 250,000 African Americans and 80,000 Native Americans served. Despite efforts to achieve some semblance of equality, racism existed in the camps, and it was not until 1941 that African Americans were actively recruited because of declining enrollment among white Americans (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014).

In addition to providing jobs for the unemployed, the CCC acted as a way to keep young men out of trouble. The CCC kept them occupied and offered members courses that ranged from basic literacy to vocational skills and college-level courses (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014).

This work may also be viewed through the Internet Archive.

For further reading:

Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), courtesy of the National Archives

Civilian Conservation Corps Newspapers, courtesy of the Library of Virginia

“C.C. Camp is a swell place for a boy to learn,” courtesy of the Library of Virginia

Civilian Conservation Corps Newspapers Title List, courtesy of the Library of Virginia

Civilian Conservation Corps Newspapers, courtesy of the Virginia Chronicle

Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy

CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps Photos

CCC Camp P-57 Company 1389 photos, courtesy of Virginia Tech Libraries

Roosevelt’s Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Corps, courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)


“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)” (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Britannica online. Retrieved from

Gallagher, C. A. & Lippard, C. D. (2014). Civilian Conservation Corps. In Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic. (Vol. 1, pp. 266-267). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Ohio History Connection. (n.d.). Civilian Conservation Corps. Ohio History Central. Retrieved from

Olson, J. S. & Mendoza, A. O. (2015). Civilian Conservation Corps. In American Economic History: A Dictionary and Chronology. (pp.116). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Paul, C. A. (2017). Civilian Conservation Corps. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved from


3 Replies to “Civilian Conservation Corps”

  1. Melva Edens says:

    How do you find out where a parent was sent to CCC camp in 1936/37

  2. […] next helped set up the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which sent young, unemployed men from the cities to work on conservation projects in rural […]

Comments for this site have been disabled. Please use our contact form for any research questions.

View graphic version