American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Featured Document: 1930s Diaries of Blink and Simple Sam

Published March 30, 2011


Boy hopping freight train, Dubuque, Iowa
Boy hopping freight train, Dubuque, Iowa

During the 1930s depression hundred of thousands of young people took to the road in search of work and adventure, or to help relieve their impoverished families. Thanks to Minnesota sociologist Thomas Mineham, we have excerpts of diaries from two youths nicknamed Blink and Simple Sam. Mineham traveled the freight trains and hitchhiked among the transient youths for three years recording their experiences and words. See this month’s In the Limelight feature on ASHP/CML’s homepage to read diary excerpts and more about youth on the road in the 1930s.


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