Happy Days

Ancestry.com includes many data collections of interest to genealogists. One that is likely to interest many of our genealogists is Happy Days, the official newspaper of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps.

The CCC was created by Congress in 1933. It provided jobs for unemployed, single men (most 17-25 years of age). These men worked on conservation projects like road and trail building, tree and shrub planting, erosion control, and also responded to natural disasters like floods and forest fires. By time the program ended in 1942, the CCC had established work camps in every state, and provided employment for 3 million young American men (they also hosted 8,500 young American women in camps known by their slang name, "She-She-She" camps).

CCC Companies sign in South Dakota
Sign for CCC Companies in the Badlands

Happy Days was a privately owned and published newspaper that was available for purchase in CCC camps, or could be mailed to the folks back home. It cost 3 cents per week if purchased in a camp exchange, 5 cents per week if mailed back home. This Ancestry.com record set includes weekly issues from 1933 through 1940. It is browsable only (not indexed at this time).

Happy Days was intended to serve as a source of information and entertainment for CCC enrollees. Each issue included articles on camp work projects and accomplishments, camp leisure activities like sports and performances, involvement of CCC enrollees in disaster relief, and biographical sketches of CCC administration and camp leaders. Each issue also included a number of paid advertisements.

Each issue also included black and white photos, some illustrations, and several cartoons drawn by staff artists. The photos pictured camp buildings, recruits engaged in camp work projects and leisure activities, and CCC officials and camp leaders. Photos of individuals are generally labeled; group shots are generally not labeled. Photos are generally fairly good quality, although contrast can be poor at times. Images of individual pages (or portions of a page) from this data collection can be downloaded or printed.

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