If a person is writing in the time period of 1935 through 1939, or a few years on either side of these dates, you might gain some insight as to what it was like for the average American by studying the photos, I have attached to the following link.
We must remember these were extremely trying time for many of our parents and grandparents. Not only were they in the throws of the Great Depression, but throughout the west, they were having the dust bowl.
These photos ( about a dozen of them) are reminiscent of John Steinbeck's, "Grapes of Wrath". By studying these photos, a writer of this period should be able to gain enough heartfelt anguish to write a deep felt story. Look at the conditions. Look into the eyes of the people. Can you say despair?