Civilian Conservation Corps Uniforms Handbook

A Guide for Historians and Costumed Interpreters

Welcome to the Civilian Conservation Corps Uniforms Handbook, a guide to the clothing and accessories issued to enrollees in the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942.

The CCC is the most fondly remembered of the New Deal's emergency relief programs. Today Americans commonly discover the CCC story at a state or national park. From Maryland to Montana, visitors hike trails, sleep in cabins, and swim in a lakes built by the boys of "Mr. Roosevelt's Tree Army." However, the CCC's legacy extends beyond the parks. Square miles of replanted forest and millions of acres of farmland managed under soil conservation practices also testify to the work of the Corps. In every state and in the territories as well, the imprint of the Corps remains on the American landscape.

Yet for all its importance, the CCC story remains under-interpreted. Every day park interpreters put modern people in closer touch with the past. At grist mills, mines, canal lockhouses, farms, and battlefields, costumed interpreters bring both daily life and great events back to life. Up to now, however, the CCC story has rarely received the same treatment.

This handbook attempts to answer a simple question: what would it take to create an accurate living history impression of a CCC enrollee? Can we know with precision what the boys wore, and how they were equipped?

The answer, emphatically, is yes we can!

Some of the fine details of daily life in the Corps have been lost. But when it comes to tactile sensations--the touch and feel of clothing, tools, and accessories--much can still be brought to life. It is my hope that, by learning exactly how the boys of the CCC were outfitted and equipped, park-based public historians may be inspired to try their own hand at first-, second- or third-person costumed interpretation of this memorable aspect of the American experience.

ACKOWLEDGEMENTS

The author wishes to thank Mark Headlee, an experienced living history interpreter and militaria collector in Colorado. Mark discovered this project in draft form and contributed mightily to its completion. He also wishes to thank the US Militaria Forum, its moderators and members, notably the nonpareil historian who posts as "World War I Nerd." The research of Charles Lemons, retired curator at the Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry, provided an essential foundation; his incomparable multi-volume series on Uniforms of the U.S. Army Ground Forces 1939 – 1945 is the definitive reference work in this field. Lastly, the author acknowledges with gratitude the work of Quartermaster Corps historian Erna Risch.

IMAGE DISCLAIMER

Civilian Conservation Corps Uniforms Handbook is a nonprofit, non-commercial research project. Images for this Handbook were gathered from a wide variety of online sources and are reproduced here for scholarly and teaching purposes. In every possible instance I have attempted to provide the source title and a link back to the source page for images used. Any individual or institution objecting to the use of an image from their archive in this project is welcome to contact the author at the address below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Ledbetter is a Park Ranger and living history interpreter with the Maryland Park Service. He welcomes your comments via email at eledbetter@steamsafari.com.

Please note that the views and opinions expressed in Handbook are those of the author, and should not be attributed to the Maryland Park Service or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

LICENSE

Civilian Conservation Corps Uniform Handbook by Erik Ledbetter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.