Skip to main content

Digital Exhibits

Image Tour

Recording America's Story

Poster for the guide book series featuring a laudatory quote from Louis Bromfield's review in the New York Herald Tribune.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield whole-heartedly endorses the American Guide Series in this 1941 advertisement.

Zora Neale Hurston, half-length portrait, standing, facing front, looking at book, American Stuff, at New York Times Book Fair

Before writing her acclaimed novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston worked for the Federal Writers' Project in Florida. Here, Hurston holds American Stuff, a compilation of  works by various authors employed by the Federal Writers' Project.

Nevada's guide book sits on display at the Nevada State Fair circa 1938

Nevada's guide book sits on display at the Nevada State Fair circa 1938.

Paul Comly French, State Director of the Pennsylvania Unit, W.P.A. Federal Writers' Project, half-length portrait, seated at desk, writing, facing left, smoke pipe in his mouth

Paul Comly French, shown here at his desk, served as the director of the Federal Writers' Project in Pennsylvania.

Photograph shows Henry Alsberg, director of the Federal Writers' Project from 1935 to 1939, standing on a city sidewalk.

Experienced in publishing, Henry Alsberg served as the director of the Federal Writers' Project from 1935 to 1939.

The Federal Writers' Project had units stationed all around the country but was headquartered in Washington, D.C. Here, Director Henry Alsberg sits with writer Dorothea Hettwer at project headquarters.

The Federal Writers' Project had units stationed all around the country but was headquartered in Washington, D.C. Here, Director Henry Alsberg sits with writer Dorothea Hettwer at project headquarters.

Poster showing stylized eagle and quotation from President Franklin Roosevelt about the Writers' Project.

This poster for the American Guide Series encourages Americans to "Take Pride in Your Country."

This poster promotes the state guide for Illinois. Although the federal government funded the payroll for the writers, each state was responsible for publishing its guide book.

This poster promotes the state guide for Illinois. Although the federal government funded the payroll for the writers, each state was responsible for publishing its guide book.

Poster for Federal Writers' Project of California advertising

This poster advertises "A Guide to the Golden State."

Poster for WPA Federal Writers' Project, 110 King Street, New York City,

The state guides were supplemented by additional publications focused on specific topics and themes. This poster advertises the guide to winter sports in the Northeast.

As the director of the Works Progress Administration, Harry Hopkins helped create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans, including those employed through the Federal Writers' Project.

As the director of the Works Progress Administration, Harry Hopkins helped create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans, including those employed through the Federal Writers' Project.

As Secretary of Commerce, Harry Hopkins continued to advocate for the creation of jobs.

As Secretary of Commerce, Harry Hopkins continued to advocate for the creation of jobs.

Poster advertising WPA Federal Writers' Project illustrated guide to natural history.

The workers of the Federal Writers' Project extended their research to cover natural history in the guide this poster advertises.

Poster advertising WPA Federal Writers' Project illustrated guide to natural history of birds of the world.

This poster promotes a guide presenting the natural history of "Birds of the World."

Portrait of Richard Wright

Mississippi novelist Richard Wright found employment through the Federal Writers' Project during the Great Depression.
He later become known for his renowned 1940 novel Native Son.

Claude McKay, half-length portrait, facing right

A prominent poet of the Harlem Renaissance era, Claude McKay was a writer for the Federal Writers' Project. His poem, "A Song of the Moon," is featured in American Stuff: An Anthology of Prose & Verse by Members of the Federal Writers' Project.

Colonel F.C. Harrington

When President Roosevelt appointed Harry Hopkins Secretary of Commerce in 1938, Colonel F.C. Harrington became the new director of the WPA.

Poster showing a child drawing.

In addition to designing promotional posters, the Federal Arts Project in Illinois instructed art classes for children in the community.

WPA mural, Cohen Building, Washington, D.C.

Adorning public buildings, WPA murals showcased the pride and identity of the community. This painting brightens the walls of the Cohen Building in Washington, D.C.