Researching New Deal Sites

For those who are new to the game of hunting New Deal sites, it is a lot like a scavenger hunt – great fun and full of puzzles to be solved. If you go looking for them, or just stumble on them, you are likely to suspect they are of New Deal origin because of visual clues from the architecture and design, a general notion that they are of a certain age, or the memory of a story told by an old timer. If you are lucky, there will be a cornerstone or plaque to tell you that this Post Office, high school or campground was built with the aid of the WPA, PWA or CCC; but more often than not, there is no such marker. So now the (re)search begins!

To help out, we have prepared three guides for aspiring New Deal (re)searchers. The first is a set of Guidelines or Practical Tips for where to look for more information on a site; this should be read by anyone setting out to look for and document New Deal public works. The second is a list of Summary Reports by New Deal agencies on their public works; this is deep background information for serious New Deal researchers. The third item is a very detailed aid for anyone looking into the WPA records at the National Archives in Maryland.

Guidelines for New Deal Research  | List of Summary Reports by New Deal Public Works Agencies |  Research Guide to Selected WPA Records at the National Archives