Deciphering an Individual CCC Enrollment Record

Sample of a CCC Individual Enrollment Record

In May 2024, an exciting notice was posted on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website announcing the digitizing and soon to be available catalog of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Individual Records, A – Z., millions of them.
They are scheduled to be added, on a rolling basis, to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Catalog. Completion is targeted for the end of 2024. There will be a searchable alphabetical roster of names, downloading will be free.

The NARA website has provided a downloaded PDF, “Sample CCC Documents“. The example uses enrollment files for Willard Elton Knight’s second CCC enrollment in 1935 – 1936. The sample contains a brief five pages with a wealth of information. It also provides details on a previous enrollment, in 1934, and intriguing nuggets regarding the character of his last discharge.

CCC Individual Enrollment Record – Willard Elton Knight

* Pages 1 & 2 – C.C.C. Form No. 1,  which answers the General Information and biographical questions asked of enrollees.

CCC Individual Enrollment REcord for Willard E. KnightCCC Individual Enrollment REcord for Willard E. Knight

* Page 3 & 4 – forms with entries made by physicians, commanding officers or the local camp contract surgeon regarding findings during physical examinations, medical treatments and inoculations. Also included in Willard E. Knights CCC file are notations of successful hernia surgery, satisfactory recovery and return to the same CCC camp and work.
When Willard applied the 2nd time he was 20 years of age, use to hard farm work and road construction, but when transferred to a new CCC Co. 2812 in Blackwell, Oklahoma there was a problem. His “refusal to work” resulted in a Dishonorable Discharge.

CCC Individual Enrollment REcord for Willard E. Knight

CCC Individual Enrollment REcord for Willard E. Knight

* Page 5– Application for Enrollment, a form generated under the guidance of the Department of Labor by the Oklahoma Emergency Relief Administration specifically for young “Junior” men, single between the ages of 18 – 28 years.   This Coal County Relief Administration document confirms Knight had satisfactorily served 9 months in 1934 as a regular CCC enrollee, he was Honorably Discharge. After several months, unable to find work he applied again and was approved for CCC employment.

CCC Individual Enrollment Record for Willard E. Knight APPLICATION filed at Coal County Oklahoma Relief Board

___  NARA and other historical records demonstrate and show us just how many government agencies came together to make the CCC the success that it was, and they all had their regulation forms.

How did it all come about? We have Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor, to thank.  Read about the genesis of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  We have Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor, to thank. She was in the room where it happened. It was Secretary Perkins who went to Capitol Hill and convinced Congress of the need and national benefits of what the CCC program could offer, but they had to recruit individual enrollees first and that required applications and forms for administrtion.

“Mr. President, we haven’t got an
employment service.”

See:  New Agency, New Forms – Digitizing CCC Individual Enrollment Records.



C.C.C. Origins & Labor Secretary Frances Perkins

“Mr. President, we haven’t got an
employment service … Make One, Create One.”

New Agency, New Forms – Origin of CCC Individual Enrollment Records

As the CCC Individual Enrollment Records are being digitized the backstory of White House discussions addressing the recruiting, accounting and fundamentals of establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) are legendary.  By establishing this new government agency, which provided jobs for millions between 1933 – 1942, a collection and variety of forms, regulations, and reports were generated. These documents are a part of our national story, a record filled with questions answered by millions who were touched by hardship and need between 1933 – 1942.
By digitizing these CCC records and making them freely accessible another catalog of New Deal history will be open for research, insight and education before the end of 2024, I’m told.

“Mr. President, we haven’t got an
employment service.”

1933-April 10 - Rutland Daily Herald -Secretary Perkins announces enrollments in CCC will begin at local relief offices. Francis Perkins, Secretary of Labor likened President Franklin Roosevelt’s method of getting things done,
“to put dynamite under the people who had to do the job and let them fumble for their own methods . . . This great brainstorm about giving the unemployed relief by taking them out into the woods to do forestry work. I first heard this from the mouth of Franklin Roosevelt, without any preparation at all . . . I thought it was a pipe dream . . . He thought you could just take everybody who was applying for relief and put them in the forests . . . He just thought of all the unemployed, not just of the young men. The young men were my idea later . . . ”

I said “how are you going to recruit? If you are going to pay them money, how are you going to get them:.” He said “Use your employment service” I said “Mr. President, we haven’t got an employment service.” . . . He said “Make one. Create one.”

Which she did.
On April 5,1933 Executive Order No. 6101, issued by the President, set in motion a new government agency, originally called the Emergency Conservation Works (ECW), but better known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
As Secretary of Labor, Perkins was in the rooms where it happened. Her vivid recollections, from the first 100 days of FDR’s first administration, describe the genesis of the CCC and the vital role played by the Departments of Labor, War and other government agencies. There was a remarkable coming together of government agencies to devise and  implement a system, as mandated by FDR, which allowed for the inductions and placement of over 250,000 junior CCC recruits in yet-to-be organized reforestation camps by early summer of 1933.

Local relief offices were swamped with applicants, in some cities they were told to return; forms and guidelines had not arrived from DC.
The Army, in anticipation of the CCC program, was prepared with new regulations dividing the country into nine Corps areas for administrative purposes. Upon induction, either at the camp or Army recruitment center, new enrollees were examined, swore to the Oath of Enrollment, assigned a CCC company, fed, clothed and transported to their  newly organized reforestation camp. Before they climbed into their assigned bunk that first evening they had answered questions, signed forms and passed examinations, all, presumably, in compliance with C.C.C. Form No. 1.

Continue reading “C.C.C. Origins & Labor Secretary Frances Perkins”