Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Quiz Rules
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/websites/teachinghistory.org/sites/all/modules/date/date_api.module on line 866.
Image, American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project.

Close to 3,000 life histories from 1936–1940, compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project, are presented here. They are part of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA). Documents represent the work of more than 300 writers from 24 states. The histories, usually between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length, take the form of narratives, dialogs, reports, and case histories. Drafts and revisions are included. A typical history may offer information on family life, education, income, occupation, political views, religion, mores, medical needs, diet, and observations on society and culture.

"Voices from the Thirties,” illustrated with photographs of the project's staff at work, interviewees, and their environment, provides contextual information on the creation of the collection. This multifaceted site offers firsthand accounts on subjects such as slavery, 19th-century American folk cultures, and the social history of the Great Depression.