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Resources: Abstracts of American Studies Dissertations

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Knepper, Cathy Dee. "The Gospel According to Greenbelt: Community Life in Greenbelt, Maryland, 1935-1990," Department of American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, May 1993. Advisor: Hasia Diner (8, 10, 2)

The town of Greenbelt, Maryland began its existence as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1935, helping the poor in two ways. First, thousands of unemployed laborers gained jobs during its construction. Second, the resulting 885 units housed low-income families. Under Rexford Tugwell’s supervision, Greenbelt’s unique plan emerged, consisting of a physical design based on Clarence Stein’s Radburn, New Jersey and Clarence Perry’s Neighborhood Unit, and a social plan of communal, economic “cooperation.” This study analyzes the effect of time on these goals over the fifty-year history of the town. Based on interviews with residents, manuscript collections, the town’s weekly newspaper, and published material, it is concluded that the maintenance of the cooperative social and economic programs succeeded very well, due to the determination of town residents to keep their cooperation alive.