Home > Collections > WPA Federal Writers' Project (NYC Unit), 1936-1943
WPA FEDERAL WRITERS' PROJECT (NYC UNIT), 1936-1943
materials, photographs; Historical Records Survey.
The Works Progress Administration began in the midst
of the Great Depression of the 1930s. It caused massive
unemployment and overwhelmed the resources of private
charities and state and local governments alike. Pledging
bold action and a "new deal for the American people"
when he took office in 1933, President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt instituted a number of programs to relieve
the country's plight. The WPA was a direct outgrowth
of these early relief efforts.
The Federal Writers' Project was organized in the
autumn of 1935 in order to utilize the skills of the
so-called 'white collar' unemployed. The New York City
Unit was particularly prolific. The Municipal Archives
holds records created for forty-one book projects, some
of which reached publication and some not, among them
the New York City Guide, New York Panorama,
and assorted studies including The Italians of New
York (in both Italian and English versions), The
Film Index: A Bibliography, The Jewish Landsmanschaftn
of New York (in Yiddish), Jewish Families and
Family Circles of New York (in Yiddish), and A
Maritime History of New York.
With assistance from the National
Endowment for the Humanities, the entire manuscript
records of the WPA writer's Project were microfilmed.
Over the course of the project, a folder-level inventory
was created. The Church record survey of the WPA Historical
Records Survey has also been microfilmed. The related
photograph collection has also been microfilmed.