The Library of Congress
[American Memory]

Life History Manuscripts from the Folklore Project,  WPA Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940
People Collage
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The American Life Histories collection has been migrated to an improved presentation and will no longer be updated in American Memory. Please visit the new presentation!


Search by Keywords | Select a state
These 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. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form from narrative to dialogue to report to case history. The histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts.
The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.

The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.


Special Presentation:
Voices from the Thirties: An Introduction to the WPA Life Histories Collection

Understanding the Collection

About This Collection

States: Number of items for each represented

Bibliography

Collection Connections

Working with the Collection

How to view: Text | Images

Editors and Technical Notes

Copyright and Other Restrictions


American Memory | Search All Collections | Collection Finder | Teachers
Please Read Our
Legal Notices
Oct-19-1998