the Soil, Save the Forests, Save the Young Men."
During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the Seventy-third Congress by Public Act No. 5, March, 1933, authorized the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) program. The continuation of this function was provided for in the Congressional Act of June, 1937, which also officially changed the name of the ECW to its more popular designation, the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The CCC was one of several federal relief programs which sought to alleviate distress caused by the massive unemployment of the 1930's. The program achieved this through the establishment of camps where young men worked on forest and conservation projects throughout the country. Colorado had numerous CCC camps throughout its undeveloped and forested land.
Technical agencies supervised and planned the specific work projects in the camps. The U.S. Forest Service employed CCC men to protect timbered areas from fire, insects, and disease. The Soil Conservation Service established areas of soil erosion control by employing practices such as strip cropping, artificial reseeding, contour cultivation, terracing, furrowing, corrugation, and pasture management. The stabilization of irrigation systems and the construction of gulley plugs, diversion dams, and diversion ditches were also emphasized under the SCS.
The U.S. Division of Grazing instituted projects which stopped injury to the public grazing lands through erosion and mismanagement. This work included the development and conservation of water through the construction of tanks and stock reservoirs; the digging of wells; dam construction; revegetation; eradication of poisonous weeds; rodent control; flood control; waterhole development; and the building of bridges, fences, truck trails, driveways, and range corrals.
The Bureau of Reclamation supervised the rehabilitation of existing storage and irrigation systems; the development and construction of supplemental storage facilities for areas affected by drought; and the construction of recreational facilities at irrigation reservoirs.
Work for the National Parks and Monuments and State Parks included building or enlargening campgrounds and picnic areas, extending nature trails, constructing parking areas, and opening new park sections. This work was aimed at the protection and conservation of the scenic, historic, archaeological, and geological resources of the National Parks and Monuments.
At the national level, the CCC was divided into nine major organizational areas which corresponded to Army Corps of Engineers districts. Colorado was in the 8th regional area with headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Within this Colorado-Wyoming region 30-35 companies were formed. More than 40 would be established by the time Congress eliminated the CCC program on June 30, 1942.
In 1935 the Colorado CCC was divided into two districts with headquarters at Grand Junction for Western Slope camps and Fort Logan for camps east of the Continental Divide. In October, 1935, the Colorado-Wyoming Headquarters at Fort Logan moved to Littleton.
Within each state the Labor Department had the authority to delegate an established state relief and welfare agency to implement the selection process. Acting through its local representatives, this selection agency had the task of receiving and investigating thousands of CCC applicants each year. When vacancies existed, the Department of Labor issued a requisition to each state for enrollees needed. Young men were taken in four times a year in January, April, July, and October.
In Colorado, the Official Colorado State Relief Committee (later known as the Colorado State Relief Administration) was the first agency at the State level to handle CCC enrollee selection. It was created on May 11, 1933 by an Act of the General Assembly. It consisted of 7 persons appointed by the governor to administer emergency relief measures, including the CCC program.
The Colorado Works Progress Administration also had responsibilities in connection with CCC enrollment. It was designated to act as the State selection agency in July, 1936 until the Colorado State Department of Public Welfare took over in December of that same year. The State WPA office publicized the CCC program and sent information concerning forthcoming enrollments to various State welfare agencies and to the newspapers. Local WPA employment offices were in charge of accepting and filing enrollment applications and interviewing young men for CCC positions.
Following the brief six month period of Colorado WPA control, the Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, under the directorship of Earl Kouns, managed the State CCC enrollment process for the next six years. Kouns was appointed by the seven-member Board of Public Welfare to head the CSDPW. As part of its duties, the CSDPW supervised and coordinated the efforts of the county selection agencies; evaluated the work of such agencies; provided consulting services; and prepared printed material for State agencies concerning the CCC.
A CCC representative, or supervisor, prepared CCC rules, procedures, and policies; handled correspondence; and generally supervised CCC enrollee selections. Genevieve Affolter/Griffith was Supervisor of CCC Selection from 1936-1942. Beneath her in the organizational hierarchy were the District Supervisors who interpreted the State CCC policies and procedures to the County Directors. The County Directors were then responsible to the CSDPW for taking applications; certifying applicants in accordance with the rules and regulations transmitted to them by the State Supervisor of CCC Selection; presenting selectees to the Army authorities for enrollment and complying with regulations and instructions issued by the CSDPW.
The following sources are available at the Colorado State Archives.
Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, State Plan. 1937-1938.
Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, Excerpt from Quarterly Report, Vol.I, #3.
Colorado State Department of Public Welfare, Published Letter (89-S). n.d.
Colorado Works Progress Administration, "Civilian Conservation Corps." July, 1936.
Dearborn, Ned, Once In a Lifetime: A Guide to the CCC. New York and Chicago: Charles E. Merrill Co., 1936.
Gleyre, L.A. and C.N. Alleger, History of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado. Denver: Press of the Western Newspaper Union, 1936.
United States Department of Labor, "Selecting 1,800,000 Young Men for the CCC," Serial No. R.745. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938.
United States Department of Labor, CCC: Standards of Eligibility and Selection. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938.
No author. "One Hundred Six CCC Boys in Colorado." Manuscript in the CCC Collection, Colorado State Archives. n.d.
No author. Happy Days: CCC Directory. Washington, D.C.: Happy Days Publishing Company, 1938.
There are approximately 80 cubic feet of material in the CCC Collection at the State Archives. The records originated with the Colorado State Department of Public Welfare and span the years 1933-1942. The bulk of the collection falls between 1936-1942 when the CSDPW was the official State selection agency for CCC enrollment. Record series in the collection include: enrollment records; reports; manuals and handbooks; correspondence; rosters; station lists; publications; maps; publicity; photographs and other photographic media; and miscellaneous.
Although the collection contains much documentation concerning the enrollment aspects of the CCC, it also provides excellent information about every aspect of the CCC including the policies and rules instituted by the federal government, the camps, life in the CCC, and the federal and state agencies involved in the CCC. It does not include project files but there is information about specific projects and over 300 photographs of projects and CCC camps in Colorado.
This series makes up the bulk of the collection. The Colorado State Archives has microfilmed copies of CCC enrollment cards, arranged alphabetically. These have the name and address of the enrollee; their designated allottee's name and address; the date the enrollee began service; his camp assignment; his discharge date; and the reason for his discharge. These have been extracted and indexed. CCC Enrollment Index.
Enrollment reports are a major sub-series. One statistical report series, compiled by the county welfare departments, has information concerning the age, height, and weight distribution of CCC enrollees; the types of relief that CCC families were most commonly on; the enrollees' educational backgrounds; the urban or rural backgrounds of the young men; the average number of people in their households; their average lengths of employment; and their average numbers of years residency in the State or county.
Narrative reports within the collection include a Denver and a federal study which both concern relief cases within the CCC. There is also a special report written by an unknown author, c.1938, concerning the welfare of the young men in the CCC. The purpose of this study, according to its author, was "to attempt an analysis of CCC experience as measureable within a controlled group of boys picked at random" ("One Hundred Six CCC Boys in Colorado").
Annual and Quarterly reports of the Colorado Department of Public Welfare from 1937-1942 have information concerning the CCC but perhaps more valuable are the CCC State Plans, (1933, 1937-1942). These plans include information about the legislation that established the State agency; a statement of scope and function of the State agency; maps of the Colorado counties and the location of all local selection agencies and CCC acceptance stations; a budget for State headquarters CCC selection; a statement of the relations between the federal and state CCC cooperating agencies; and a statement outlining the CCC records to be maintained in the state and local offices.
Manuals and Handbooks
This series is especially important documentation concerning enrollment policies, rules and procedures. The manuals entitled, "Manual for Selecting Enrollees for Civilian Conservation Corps" and "CSDPW CCC Instructions" (1936-1942) are especially significant. The series contains serialized instruction letters and other correspondence from the CSDPW to the counties; CCC publications; form samples; procedure and policy statements; enrollment schedules; and directories of CCC-related state and federal government agencies.
Correspondence is a major series, organized by either subject or correspondent. Much of the subject correspondence concerns routine administrative matters. Some documents many aspects of CCC camp life. Such correspondence includes letters to and from enrollees about their experiences at camp, correspondence concerning reasons for desertions from the CCC, and correspondence regarding minority groups, especially Hispanics.
One correspondence series is the federal and state "Instructions" which are a numbered series of letters either from the federal to the state CCC agency or from the state agency to the county CCC agencies. These "instructions" concern enrollment policy and procedures and as such are important documentation.
Major correspondents with the CSDPW, the Colorado Relief Committee, and the Colorado WPA include: CSDPW district representatives; Colorado-Wyoming District Headquarters; the Headquarters of the 8th Corps area; the U.S. Secretary of Labor; the War Department; and other federal agencies which were associated with the CCC.
Rosters exist from many camps, although not all nor every year are included.
The station lists are organized by type of camp and include camp locations as well as information about ongoing projects.
Numerous publications exist within the collection. There are two histories of the Civilian Conservation Corps Colorado-Wyoming District as well as many brochures and booklets concerning the CCC. Some document a particular aspect such as fire-fighting or soil conservation. After the United States began its involvement in World War II, the CCC changed its focus somewhat using the young men for defense projects. Several publications reflect this development.
Newsletters were published by the CSDPW as well as by many of the individual CCC camps. The CSDPW issued a Quarterly Bulletin in which each division presented their work. Within the CCC collection there are a few copies of this newsletter. There are also numerous examples of local camp newsletters.
Several publicity sub-series exist which include newspaper and magazine articles, radio programs, and press releases regarding the Colorado CCC. There is an extensive file of newspaper and magazine article clippings with numerous pictures and photographs which span 1933-1942. There are also scripts of radio programs that focus on the CCC. These are particularly valuable as they show the public side of the CCC.
Maps exist throughout the collection which show camp locations and projects within certain areas. One map of CCC camp locations in Colorado is on the copper plate media. Maps may also be found in the State Plans.
Photographs and Other Photographic Media
Photographs, glass slides, a motion picture, and copper plates visually document the CCC in Colorado. Some 300 photographs document specific projects and camp life. The CSDPW collected photographs for its newsletter and used them for publicity and exhibits. Very few lack specific identification.
There is also a slide show (1940) compiled by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service entitled, "A Routine Day in the CCC." It consists of 28 slides and includes a script. It appears to have originated with a federal CCC agency.
Also within the collection are over 50 copper plates. Most of these are CSDPW personnel photographs. Some do not relate to the CCC at all but to other aspects of the CSDPW. Included, however, is a map of CCC camp locations in Colorado, an organizational chart of the CSDPW, and numerous plates (taken from photographs) showing CCC camp facilities and CCC projects.
A miscellaneous series has been delineated which includes forms, directories, anniversary programs, and a file entitled "Robert Fechner" which contains biographical information about the federal head of the CCC.
Note: The following links are provided as a service only. We do not guarantee the accessibility of the sites nor do we imply that this list is inclusive.
In order to obtain access to the CCC Collection please contact the Colorado State Archives. We will be happy to provide you with additional information concerning this collection or others. We have search, handling, and copy fees. Please contact us in order to find out the charges for your request.
Last modified 3/21/01