Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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August 1, 1936


William McLaughlin, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, replied to this letter on August 8. He explained that the state had no control over the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) but that he enjoyed a good working relationship with it. McLaughlin promised to meet with the state's WPA supervisor in an attempt to interest him in Roy Smith's idea.

Drought and insect infestation were significant problems for a number of Illinois counties especially in 1934 and 1936. Federal assistance usually came in the form of loans of seeds to plant crops or feed to nourish livestock. While these loans usually had low dollar values, few were ever repaid. After January 1, 1936 the WPA replaced the Illinois Emergency Relief Commission as the agency which provided work relief.

Points to Consider

What was Roy C. Smith asking Governor Horner to do?

Locate Vandalia on a map.

What had caused Fayette County farmers economic distress?

Why had Roy Smith written as the "Chairman of the Board of Supervisors"?

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