Revisiting the Federal Writers’ Project—the Nation’s First Self-Portrait

From 1935 to 1943 the WPA Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) employed around 10,000 people across the country to “hold a mirror up to America.” The FWP’s best known work is a collection of city and state guidebooks— the WPA Guides…. read more

Clippers and Quilts: Living New Deal Book Award Winners for 2023

The Living New Deal has named two co-winners of the annual New Deal Book Award, which recognizes outstanding nonfiction works about U.S. history in the New Deal era (1933-1942), a period spanning the depths of the Great Depression through the nation’s entry into World War II. … read more

New Dealish: May 13, Saint Frances Perkins Annual Feast Day

Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve as a US Cabinet Secretary and the nation’s longest-serving Labor Secretary, serving the entirety of FDR’s presidency (1933-45). A witness to New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 146 young… read more

WPA Music Collector Sidney Robertson Discovers California Gold

From 1938 to 1940, Sidney Robertson directed and carried out a remarkable ethnomusicological survey—the WPA California Folk Music Project. Born in San Francisco in 1903, Sidney had grown up in a privileged home punctuated by high cultural activities and training… read more

The New Deal’s Forgotten Song Book

The Resettlement Administration (RA) was a sprawling New Deal agency created in 1935 to oversee a disparate set of government initiatives, most of which focused on providing help in rural areas. This included an experimental program to build new homestead… read more

Advocating for New Deal Art

New Deal art programs ushered in a watershed decade for American art. From 1933 to 1943, federal art programs hired tens of thousands of unemployed artists, producing over 200,000 artworks, and temporarily making the federal government the single largest patron… read more