Women and the CCC

This project establishes the first comprehensive inventory of sites associated with unemployed women during the New Deal (specifically, 1933 to 1937), sometimes referred to as “She-She-She Camps.” A counterpart to the male-centric Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), these residential camps were created by the Women’s Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and its subsidiary state divisions to offer relief benefits to the many women on the relief rolls. They were championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and FERA’s Specialist in Worker’s Education Hilda Worthington Smith, among others. Scattered throughout the United States, the camps aimed to meet immediate, basic needs concerning wellbeing, while offering educational and social opportunities for women’s long-term welfare. The first of these “experimental” camps was launched in 1934 as Camp TERA (Temporary Emergency Relief Assistance) in what is now Bear Mountain State Park in New York. At least 100 centers nationwide were associated with the program, including rural, suburban, and urban sites; preliminary research suggests that segregated camps were created for both white and Black women. This inventory will clarify the locations, demographics, and uses of these camps, in order to expand the story of the New Deal’s programs to include more women.