In keeping with its search for fresh approaches to educating students and the public about the Roosevelt era and its legacy, the Roosevelt Institute created the New Deal Network, a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works and arts projects of the New Deal. The Roosevelt Institute launched this resource in October 1996 with the assistance of IBM, Marist College, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, and continued its development in cooperation with the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University from 1997 to 2001. The New Deal Network was developed with a grant from the NEH. The site continues to be maintained by the Roosevelt Institute but additional content is no longer being developed at this time.
For more information on the Roosevelt Institute, visit our website at www.rooseveltinstitute.org
At the core of the New Deal Network is a database of primary source materials—photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents)— gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources. Currently there are over 20,000 items in this database, many of them previously accessible only to scholars. Unlike many databases on the Web, which represent the holdings of a particular institution, the New Deal Network is drawing from a wide variety of sources around the country to create a theme-based archive.
The New Deal Network seeks to make the most of the interactive, communications and publication capacities of the Internet. Many different institutions and individuals were brought in to develop the site and to stimulate students and historians throughout the United States to discover and document the human and material legacy of the New Deal.
Educators and historians helped to develop curriculum materials and some of the “Features” of the site. Many of these features include curriculum ideas designed especially for middle and high school teachers and students. Students at any level will find the site an invaluable resource for research projects on the Depression and the New Deal. In addition, museums, historical societies, and individuals who were active during the New Deal, as well as schools, have contributed materials to the site. The New Deal Network encourages teachers and students to document WPA and CCC projects in their communities and to report their findings by producing their own Web pages.
We hope that we have created a network of institutions and individuals studying the Depression and the New Deal by incorporating or linking contributions developed by students, historians, and other institutions to the New Deal Network. By employing the Internet in this manner, we will be creating a national learning community on the history of the New Deal period which will have both educational and policy-making value.
The New Deal Network is currently supervised by Roosevelt Institute Historian & Senior Fellow Dr. David B. Woolner. The site was developed under the direction of Dr. John F. Sears, former Executive Director of the Roosevelt Institute, and Project Director Thomas Thurston, working with an Advisory Board of historians and educators. The Advisory Board included noted scholars Alan Brinkley, Allida Black, David M. Kennedy, Robert McElvaine, and Michael Denning.
David B. Woolner has served with the Roosevelt Institute since 2000, and is Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at Marist College. Dr. Woolner holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from McGill University, and a B.A. summa cum laude in English Literature and History with a minor in Latin from the University of Minnesota. In addition to Marist College, he has taught at McGill University and the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr. Woolner is the author of The Frustrated Idealists: Cordell Hull, Anthony Eden and the Search for Anglo-American Cooperation, 1933-1938 (forthcoming from Praeger Press), and the editor of FDR and the Environment (forthcoming from Palgrave); FDR, the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church in America, 1933-1945 (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2003); and The Second Quebec Conference Revisited: Waging War, Formulating Peace; Canada, Great Britain and the United States in 1944-1945 (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
Thomas Thurston, Project Director for the development of the New Deal Network, is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Yale University, with a background in twentieth-century cultural history. He holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Mr. Thurston is experienced in the practical application of communications technologies for developing online resources in the humanities and social sciences, and served as a manager of digital projects at Teachers College, Columbia University, at the Institute for Learning Technologies. He is currently the Director of Education for the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.
John F. Sears served as the Executive Director of the Roosevelt Institute from 1987 to 1999. Dr. Sears received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard and has taught at Tufts, Boston University, and Vassar College. He is the author of Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford, 1989) and editor of “A New Deal for America, 1933-1945: The FDR Era” (September 1996 issue of Social Education), Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Future of Liberalism (1990) and FDR As Seen by His Contemporaries: Foreign Perceptions of an American President (1992). He is currently Associate Editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University.