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New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources

Digitized Materials

Materials from New Deal Programs | Other Materials from the Period | Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

While the majority of the Library's holdings of New Deal program materials have not been digitized, digital versions of selected materials created by New Deal programs, as well as other related materials from the period, are available in the following Library of Congress online collections.

Most of these collections may be accessed from the Library's American Memory Web site.

Materials Produced by New Deal Programs

America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945
The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. More...

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
These interviews or "life histories," were compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. More...

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
This collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933-Present
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories. Administered since 1933 through cooperative agreements with the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the private sector, ongoing programs of the National Park Service have recorded America's built environment in multiformat surveys comprising more than 350,000 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 35,000 historic structures and sites dating from pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century.

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
This collection consists of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Of the 2,000 WPA posters known to exist, the Library of Congress's collection of more than 900 is the largest. More...

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell
This New Deal project was organized and directed by folk music collector Sidney Robertson Cowell for the Northern California Work Projects Administration. A multiformat ethnographic field collection, it includes sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California. More...

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942
This multiformat ethnographic field collection documents African-American, Arabic, Bahamian, British-American, Cuban, Greek, Italian, Minorcan, Seminole, and Slavic cultures throughout Florida. Recorded in conjunction with the Florida Federal Writers' Project, the Florida Music Project, and the Joint Committee on Folk Arts of the Work Projects Administration, it features folksongs and folktales in many languages, including blues and work songs from menhaden fishing boats, railroad gangs, and turpentine camps; children's songs, dance music, and religious music of many cultures; and interviews, also known as "life histories." The online presentation provides access to sound recordings and accompanying materials, including recording logs, transcriptions, correspondence between Florida WPA workers and Library of Congress personnel, and an essay on Florida folklife by Zora Neale Hurston.

The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939
The Federal Theatre Project was one of five arts-related projects established during the first term of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This online presentation includes images of items selected from the Federal Theatre Project Collection at the Library of Congress.

Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog from the American Folklife Center
The card catalog represented in this online database was first created by Work Projects Administration (WPA) workers in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and continued by the Archive of Folk Song (now part of the American Folklife Center) staff into the early 1960s. More...

Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories
The recordings of former slaves in Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories come from several collections held in the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture. They were made by various interviewers working in nine Southern states between 1932 and 1975. Three of the recordings were made for the Commonwealth of Virginia between 1937 and 1940 by Roscoe E. Lewis in affiliation with the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
An online presentation of a multiformat ethnographic field collection documenting the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941. More...

Other Materials from the Period

After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955

Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal

Freedom's Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

"Suffering Under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar

Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959

William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz

The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

The Library's Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) provides access through group or item records to more than 50% of the Prints & Photographs Division's holdings, as well as to some images found in other units of the Library of Congress. Many of the catalog records are accompanied by digital images--about one million digital images in all.

The catalog contains an extensive collection of digitized materials documenting the New Deal era, as well as materials from the Division's FSA-OWI Collection, the WPA Posters Collection, and Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). (The same images and records are available through the Library of Congress American Memory site). See New Deal Materials in the Collections of the Prints & Photographs Division for further information.

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  July 29, 2011
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