1 Reply Latest reply on Apr 25, 2019 11:29 AM by Rebecca Collier

    Follow-up - African Americans and the WPA

    Alexis Hill Newbie

      This is a follow-up from my previous question regarding African Americans and the WPA.  I received a response from LOC's Manuscript Division yesterday and they provided information that I have already looked at.  A reference person informed me that the bulk of WPA records are at the National Archives in Record Group 69.  Is there a guide to those records and will I be able to narrow it down to African Americans?  Thank you.

        • Re: Follow-up - African Americans and the WPA
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Alexis,


          Thank you for posting your original & follow-up requests on History Hub!


          According to a staff member of RDT2, he suggest that you use the University Publications of America’s guide to their New Deal Agencies and Black America microfilm publication. Records of the Work Projects Administration [WPA] (Record Group 69) begins on page 15 (page 24 on the PDF). It hits most of the right places and if you look through those, it can lead you to other places within the records to look. It is very good for Theatre and Writer’s project material, not so good on Art and Music. For the latter two, he suggests spending some time with the paper finding aids for those projects in the Textual Reference Research Room at College Park. The one for Music is good and the one for Art is okay. The Art Project records just are not very good and the finding aid reflects that. The RDT2 paper (two volumes) finding aid on the Theatre Project is excellent and the Writer’s Project one is pretty good too. They’re both worth a look.


          He suggests that If you want the really deep dive, there’s the WPA Central Files in "Preliminary Checklist of the Central Correspondence Files of the Work Projects Administration and Its Predecessors, 1933-44," PC 37 (1946) for RG 69. The first part of the UPA list touches lightly on this. All of these records are arranged by a decimal classification system. In the General Administrative and Operational Correspondence, 1935-1944 (PC-37, Entry 11), also known as the “General Subject Series,” Art is under file classes 211.15 through 211.156 and 211.5 through 211.59,  Music is under file classes 211.1 through 211.13, Theatre is under file classes 211.2 through 211.29, and Writer’s is under file classes 211.17 through 211.178 and 211.7 through 211.79. Then there’s also the State Series (PC-37, Entry 10). The original series has been broken down by state into 110 separate series and arranged by file class.  Art is under file classes 651.315 through 651.3159 and 651.3115, Music is under file classes 651.311 through 651.3113, Theatre is under file classes 651.312 through 651.3129, and Writer’s is under file classes 651.317 through 651.3179 and 3117. File class 651.31 contains general arts program correspondence.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


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