HIstoriography of New Deal food and nutrition policy

Michael Bresalier's picture


I run a 3rd year history course on "The Hungry World" at Swansea University (UK). I have an American studies student who wants to write an essay on New Deal policies on hunger and malnutrition. I have pointed them to work by Andrew Ruis, Janet Poppendieck, and Michael Grey, but would very much appreciate further recommendations, especially work that gives a general overview of government policy.

Many thanks

Michael Bresalier

Hi Michael--here are a few more possibilities. Some are a bit dated, but as you know, the history of nutrition is still getting off the ground!

David E. Hamilton, From New Day to New Deal: American Farm Policy from Hoover to Roosevelt, 1928-1933 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991).

Charles O. Jackson, Food and Drug Legislation in the New Deal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970).

William D. Rowley, M. L. Wilson and the Campaign for the Domestic Allotment (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970).

Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression. (Harper Collins, 2016).

Kathleen R. Babbitt, “Legitimizing Nutrition Education: The Impact of The Great Depression,” in Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession, ed. Sarah Stage and Virginia B. Vincenti (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), 145–62.

In addition, the H-Nutrition Zotero Library (https://www.zotero.org/groups/691119/h-nutrition/items) may prove helpful as well--and we'll keep adding to it!

Hi Andrew,

Many thanks for this! Most helpful.
Best wishes

Hi, don't know if these would be helpful, but they all are related to the New Deal and food: Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American food from the lost WPA files by Kurlansky; What the Slaves Ate: Recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from the Slave Narratives, by Eisnach and Covey; School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program by Levine; America Eats: On the Road with the WPA by Willard;

Good Luck, Susan Rubenstein DeMasi

If anyone is interested in nutrition labeling, I've written two articles:

"Food Standards in the United States: The Case of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich" in Food, Science, Policy and Regulation in the Twentieth Century, eds. David F. Smith and Jim Phillips (Routledge, 2000), pp. 167 - 189.

"Proscribing Deception: The Gould Net Weight Amendment and the Origins of Mandatory Nutrition Labeling" in Setting Nutritional Standards: Theory, Policies, and Practices, eds. Elizabeth Neswald, David F. Smith, and Ulrike Thoms (Rutgers, 2016), pp. 164-194.