Notes from Toyland: 100 years of Toys and Games in Montana

In the 1930s

For Montanans, like people in the rest of the United States, the 1930s were defined by the Great Depression. Farmers had already been struggling due to a long drought, and the economic crash only made conditions harder. Luckily, Montana's senators were strong backers of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, and as a result Montana benefited from many of its programs. In Missoula, the Civilian Conservation Corps moved into Fort Missoula and trained men to undertake large-scale conservation and forest maintenance projects. On the other side of the state, the Fort Peck Dam was the largest New Deal project in the country. It brought relief to thousands of families, particularly those living on the nearby Fort Peck reservation.

Montana's children had to deal with the effects of the depression too, but many parents did their best to shelter their children from the worst of it. With money tight or even non-existent, parents returned to the tradition of making toys at home. Using the materials already at hand, parents built dollhouses and sleds, sewed clothing for children and dolls alike, and generally did their best to keep at least a little magic alive.

Here's a look at the kinds of things that Montana's children played with and asked for during this decade:

Board games during the Great Depression

Missoula Puzzles

This page has paths:

This page references: