New Deal Programs: Selected Library of
Congress Resources was
created to serve as a starting point for research using Library
of Congress collections of New Deal program materials.
While this guide is by no means comprehensive, it provides
an overview of special collections held by the Library of
Congress and links to digitized materials and selected resources
relating to New Deal programs in Library of Congress divisions.
The guide also links to major collections of New Deal
program materials held at other institutions.
Researchers are encouraged to contact individual
divisions directly for further assistance with these materials.
"The New Deal" refers to a series of domestic programs
(lasting roughly 1933-39) implemented during the administration
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat the effects of
the Great Depression on the U.S. economy. In addition to certain
key economic programs, several of the most prominent New Deal
initiatives focused on providing work relief to unemployed
workers from all segments of U.S. society--from unskilled
laborers to highly skilled artists, craftspeople and technicians.
The Work Projects Administration (1935-43; known 1935-39 as
the Works Progress Administration) was the coordinating
agency for many of these activities. The WPA
was a large and complex organization and its programs
were often coordinated at many different levels--by the Federal
government and to varying degrees by state, regional, and
local entities. The Final
Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43, produced by the Federal
Works Agency in 1947, provides a useful summary of WPA activities
over the course of its existence.
The Library of Congress holds significant collections of materials
produced by WPA cultural projects. Four major cultural projects
were initiated in the early years of the WPA, in 1935, and
these were known collectively as Federal One. These
included the Federal Art Project (1935-43), the Federal Theatre
Project (1935-39), the Federal Music Project (1935-39, succeeded
by the WPA Music Program, 1939-43) and the Federal Writers'
Project (1935-39, with some activity continuing at the state
level until 1943). In many cases, corresponding administrative
records for these projects are held by the National
Archives and Records Administration in Records
of the Work Projects Administration [WPA] (Record
Group 69) or by state or local institutions.
The Library also holds significant collections of materials
from non-WPA programs such as the Farm Security
Administration -- Office of War Information Photographs, the Historic
American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, and Resettlement
Administration and Farm Security Administration field recordings
and related documentation in the collections of the American
New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources was
prepared in conjunction with the Library of Congress symposium Art,
Culture, and Government: The New Deal at 75 (March 13-14,
Please send any corrections, additions, suggestions, and
comments to the Digital Reference Section.
Compiled by Laura Gottesman, Digital Reference