April 14, 2003 -
December 6, 2003
"C.C. CAMP IS A SWELL PLACE FOR A BOY TO LEARN."
Recording Our History: Writers and Artists
Art for the People
Federal Writers' Project
The plan was ambitious: open an office in every state, hire more
than 6,000 hungry people desperate for work, and pay them a
subsistence wage (about $20 a week) to document the culture and
landscape of America and create marketable publications. This was the
challenge issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program when the
Works Progress Administration created the Federal Writers' Project (FWP)
in 1935. The mission of the Federal Writers' Project, in addition to
providing security wages for unemployed clerks, writers, editors,
lawyers, teachers, librarians, and archivists, was the compilation of
state, local, and specialized guidebooks, as well as anthologies of
oral history, folklore, and music.
From 1935 to 1942, the FWP produced temporary employment for and
jump-started the careers of scores of talented writers. At its zenith
in the mid-1930s, the FWP supported more than 6,700 writers and 12,000
volunteer readers and editors in offices in every state, with
additional branches in New York City and Washington, D.C.
A WPA worker binding books
in Suffolk County