Federal Writers' Project collection
Scope and Contents
Topics covered include religion and social life, customs and celebrations, civil rights and legal status, language and literature, education, folklore, music, and song. Other subjects include occupations, labor, and the Reconstruction era. Highlights of the collection include interviews with formerly enslaved African Americans in Florida conducted by field workers between 1935 and 1939.
- Created: 1933-1948
- Other: Majority of material found within 1933-1938
- Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1991
- United States. Florida Works Progress Administration (Organization)
Biographical or Historical Information
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal program. The primary function of the WPA was to create jobs for the millions of Americans unemployed as a result of the Great Depression. Through a series of projects called Federal One, the WPA became the largest federal relief program, employing nearly one-third of the nation’s jobless. WPA Projects included the Federal Arts Project, Federal Music Project, Federal Theater Project, and the Federal Writers’ Project.
Originally intended for publication, the materials in this collection were generated by the Federal Writers’ Project in an effort to document Florida folk life and culture. The oral history interviews, folktales, songs, and other ethnographic materials gathered by fieldworkers provide first-hand accounts of daily life in Florida during the Civil War era. Many of these accounts recorded the lives and experiences of African American residents who had prevously been enslaved in Florida and other southern states.
1.88 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Federal Writers Project consists of selected records used to develop books and pamplets for the American Guide Series. The materials in this collection primarily document the experiences and lives of African Americans, many of whom had previously been enslaved, and includes interviews, typescripts, and other materials photocopied from a collection at the Florida Historical Society.
Alphabetically by subject and type of material.
The Federal Writers' Project collection, previously referred to as the "Florida Negro Papers," is the property of the Florida Historical Society. In 1991, the Society gave permission to the USF Libraries Special Collections Department to photocopy the collection for the purpose of making it available to researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
The Florida Historical Society is the rightful owner of the original materials represented in this collection and retains its rights regarding publishing and credit ownership.
Other Descriptive Information
This collection was reevaluated in 2021 to reflect Special Collections' conscious editing initiatives. After conducting the assessment, Special Collections personnel reprocessed and renamed the collection to more effectively reflect the content contained therein.
- African Americans -- Florida -- Interviews Subject Source: Usfspeccol
- African Americans -- Florida -- Social life and customs Subject Source: Usfspeccol
- Federal Writers' Project of the Works Projects Administration for the State of Florida
- United States. Works Progress Administration Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Federal Writers' Project collection
- JA; JM
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description