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Citizen HoboHow a Century of Homelessness Shaped America$
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Todd DePastino

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226143781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226143804.001.0001

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Forgotten Men

Forgotten Men

(p.195) 7 Forgotten Men
Citizen Hobo
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the New Deal for the American hoboes and folkloreness of homelessness. Three weeks after a buoyant Franklin Roosevelt rode to his inauguration with a dour-looking Herbert Hoover seated beside him, Nels Anderson supervised a one-day census of the nation's homeless population. Catching those who fell between the cracks of local and state relief systems became the mission of the federal Transient Program, one of the most imaginative and ambitious measures of the early New Deal. Despite the relative familiarity of the transient population, the publicity campaign orchestrated by the NCCTH, a campaign that included congressional hearings and numerous journalistic exposés, gave rise to sensationalized accounts of lady hoboes and wild boys wandering the nation. The easing of the homelessness crisis and the dissolution of the Transient Program paved the way for a popular revival of hobo folklore at mid-decade.

Keywords:   New Deal, American Hoboes, homeless, hobo folklore, lady hoboes

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