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New Deal History: Revisited & Revised

News items that discuss and rethink the New Deal and its impact on America.

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  • Revisiting the Federal Writers’ Project—the Nation’s First Self-Portrait
    • May 1, 2024
    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. Lesser known are the FWP’s interview recordings of everyday Americans ...
  • Writing America’s Story
    • May 1, 2024
    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 of the New Deal-era. The FWP archive, housed at the Library ...
  • Favorite New Deal Site: The Old Santa Fe Trail Building, Santa Fe, New Mexico
    • May 1, 2024
    At end of the 900-mile Santa Fe Trail is the largest adobe building in use in the U.S. A stone’s throw from the wagon-rutted historic trail, the Old Santa FeTrail Building is considered a masterpiece of Spanish Pueblo Revival architecture. Its courtyards, fountain, patio and stone walkways were all built ...
  • Clippers and Quilts: Living New Deal Book Award Winners for 2023
    • May 1, 2024
    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.  This year's book award is shared by Brooke L. Blower, Associate Professor ...
  • New Dealish: May 13, Saint Frances Perkins Annual Feast Day
    • May 1, 2024
    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 women perished, Perkins became a life-long advocate for worker’s rights. ...
  • Book Review: Americans in a World at War
    • April 23, 2024
    Review by Victoria Wolcott Blower, Brooke L., Americans in a World at War: Intimate Histories from the Crash of PanAm’s Yankee Clipper, Oxford University Press Publication Date: August 29, 2023 Blower’s masterfully researched book, Americans in a World at War, tells the story of the NewDeal and World War II in original and surprising ...
  • Book Review: A New Deal for Quilts
    • April 23, 2024
    Review by Scott Borchert Janneken Smucker’s A New Deal for Quilts, University of Nebraska Press Publication Date: December 2023 Janneken Smucker’s A New Deal for Quilts poses a question few might think to ask: what would happen if you organized a study of the New Deal and the Great Depression entirely around the theme of quilts ...
  • New Dealish: The Floating White House
    • March 29, 2024
    The USS Potomac was FDR's retreat from the pressures of the White House. He sometimes hosted advisors and heads of state aboard the Presidential yacht but it also was his getaway for fishing trips, poker games and family gatherings. At least one of FDR’s famed radio chats was broadcast from the ...
  • WPA Music Collector Sidney Robertson Discovers California Gold
    • March 29, 2024
    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 that included yearly trips to Europe in her teens. She ...
  • Favorite New Deal Site: To Preserve and Enhance, Riverside Park, New York, NY
    • March 29, 2024
      As a longtime resident of New York City, it was difficult for me to pick a favorite New Deal site, as there so many possibilities.  I was tempted to choose Orchard Beach, in the Bronx, where my father learned to swim in the 1930s, or the former U.S. Customs House ...
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Living New Deal. Still Working for America.

And the Winners are . . .

FDR delivering one of his fireside chats.

The 2023 New Deal Book Award

The winning titles and authors have been announced. The 2023 Award, with a prize of $1,000, will be presented at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library June 22, 2024.