The history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in New Mexico is the topic of the next Culture Series presentation at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

Dr. Richard Melzer is the speaker for the May 11 presentation in the Museum’s Theater. Admission is free for the 7 p.m. lecture. The monthly Culture Series is organized and hosted by the Friends of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

The title for this presentation is: “Coming of Age in the Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps Experience in New Mexico, 1933-1942.” It is based on Dr. Melzer’s book of the same name.

Dr. Melzer will present how Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) projects impacted New Mexico, its resources, and its population during the Great Depression. The CCC was one of the first New Deal programs, begun by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 and continuing through 1942. During the depth of The Depression, it employed 54,000 young men in conservation projects across New Mexico. Melzer also will describe the value of the CCC in World War II and the post-war era.

Dr. Melzer is a Professor of History at the University of New Mexico’s Valencia Campus. He has published and lectured on a wide variety of topics in 20th Century New Mexico history, including his books “Breakdown: How the Secret of the Atomic Bomb was Stolen During World War II” (2000), “Coming of Age in the Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps Experience in New Mexico, 1933-42” (2000) and “Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History” (2007). His publications have appeared in New Mexico MagazineNew Mexico Historical Review, Western Historical QuarterlyEl Palacio, and Journal of the West. He has been UNM’s outstanding Teacher of the Year and is a past-President of the Historical Society of New Mexico.

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