Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940

These life histories were compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form from narrative to dialogue to report to case history. The histories describe the informant’s family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and morals, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts.

In the 1930’s Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal and as a result, the US Works Project, and then later Works Projects Administration, a project designed to put millions of out of work Americans back into jobs created by the Federal Government. Out of that initiative came the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project. The manuscripts describe the subject matters life history as it was in the 1930’s… the occupation, income, education, moral, political and other observations as noted by the writer.

The following manuscripts were submitted to Georgia Genealogy by C.W. Barnum and constitute the entire Georgia collection of manuscripts.

Note: Individuals and places named in the text often have pseudonyms substituted for them. The names below are the people that were interviewed for the project.

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