I happened upon this exhibit of pictures in the display area at the Tropic Cinema. The exhibit itself is on at the Customs House Museum of Art and History on Front Street next to the Westin hotel.
Key West in 1938 was being developed as a tourist destination as a way to revive the economy devastated by the city's bankruptcy in the Great Depression.
Life was not i think a bowl of peaches for people living in Key West, subsisting on public assistance and public works projects. It was so bad the Federal government considered abandoning Key West by forcible evacuation.article reproduced below:
The Museum Web Page