Works Progress Administration Recordings, 1935-1940

From 1935 to 1940, folklorists and interviewers employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) traveled around Florida collecting audio recordings of folk songs, children's stories, work songs and Florida's culture. Fieldworkers for the WPA in Florida included John Lomax, Ruby Lomax, Zora Neale Hurston, Carita Doggett Corse, Stetson Kennedy and Herbert Halpert. The original recordings are housed at the Library of Congress. The copies held by the State Archives of Florida were duplicated in 1986 by Florida Folklife Program staff.

About the Works Progress Administration

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935 as a way to provide jobs for unemployed Americans during the Great Depression. The WPA focused especially on projects that could utilize the talents of skilled, white-collar workers such as writers, editors, journalists, artists, musicians and architects.

WPA projects in Florida included a survey of historical records in state, county and church archives; a survey of the state's merchant marine and maritime history; numerous public buildings; murals and artwork; and an extensive effort to collect and publish historical and cultural information about the state.