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

Writing America’s Story

Writing America’s Story Creating thousands of jobs for unemployed creatives, the Federal Writers’ Project (1935-1943) proved a launchpad for some of America’s most celebrated storytellers. FWP workers produced research, writings and recordings that illuminate the historical, cultural and political circumstances… 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