WPA Guide Series

By Fern Nesson

Fern Nesson takes us on the road following the original WPA Guidebooks. Follow along as she re-enacts these journeys, discovering what’s old and what’s new.


Bridgehampton was farmland from the first three centuries of its existence. Settlers in the 1640s displaced the Shinnecock natives (who called the area Sagaponack) and they soon discovered that plowed, flat, farm fields bordering the Atlantic Ocean were perfect for… read more

By on November 25th, 2022

Smoky Mountain Escape Route

                            One of the most shameful episodes in our history was the Cherokee Removal in 1838. The original homelands of the Cherokee consisted of 10 million acres of land in eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia and Alabama.  The Cherokee were… read more

By on May 27th, 2022


No person is mentioned more frequently in the Massachusetts Guide than Paul Revere (At least 12 times, and that doesn’t include the references to the city of Revere and the countless streets, squares, statues, businesses, and schools that bear his… read more

By on April 22nd, 2022


In the first half of the19th century, Massachusetts was the scene of the  intersection of two social movements: Transcendentalism and Utopianism. Best known in the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, Transcendentalism taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity. Emerson, and… read more

By on December 11th, 2021

Thomas Jefferson is one of our most interesting, brilliant, and complicated historical figures. A polymath who authored the Declaration of Independence and founded the University of Virginia, a philosopher and political scientist of the highest quality, a naturalist, an inventor,… read more

By on March 2nd, 2021

   By Fern L. Nesson, June, 2020         In these days of pandemic and civil unrest, lay-offs and economic insecurity, anxiety and depression, the WPA Guides can be a source of comfort. The Guide’s writers would have related to our pain, as it… read more

By on July 24th, 2020