Work Projects Administration

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Work Projects Administration

Work Projects Administration (WPA), former U.S. government agency, established in 1935 by executive order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the Works Progress Administration; it was renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939, when it was made part of the Federal Works Agency. Created when unemployment was widespread, the WPA—headed by Harry L. Hopkins until 1938—was designed to increase the purchasing power of persons on relief by employing them on useful projects. WPA's building program included the construction of 116,000 buildings, 78,000 bridges, and 651,000 mi (1,047,000 km) of road and the improvement of 800 airports. Also a part of WPA's diversified activities were the Federal Art Project, the Federal Writers' Project, and the Federal Theatre Project. Close to 10,000 drawings, paintings, and sculptured works were produced through WPA, and many public buildings (especially post offices) were decorated with murals. The experiments in theatrical productions were highly praised and introduced many fresh ideas. Musical performances under the project averaged 4,000 a month. The most notable product of writers in WPA was a valuable series of state and regional guidebooks. WPA also conducted an education program and supervised the activities of the National Youth Administration. At its peak WPA had about 3.5 million persons on its payrolls. Altogether WPA employed a total of 8.5 million persons, and total federal appropriations for the program amounted to almost $11 billion. There was sharp criticism of the WPA in a Senate committee report in 1939; the same year the WPA appropriation was cut, several projects were abolished, and others were curtailed. A strike of thousands of WPA workers to prevent a cut in wages on building projects was unsuccessful. Steadily increasing employment in the private sector, much speeded just before and during World War II, caused further drastic cuts in WPA appropriations and payrolls. In June, 1943, the agency officially went out of existence.


See D. S. Howard, WPA and Federal Relief Policy (1943).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Milwaukee in the 1930s: A Federal Writers Project City Guide
Where the funding for such a project -- which Reidy compares to the Federal Writers Project established by U.S.
According to Roosevelt, "the country demands bold, persistent experimentation." (2) Thus began, in July 1935, a broad New Deal program called Federal One, which in turn created five federal arts projects: the Federal Writers Project, the Federal Arts Project, the Federal Theater Project, the Historical Records Survey, and the Federal Music Project (FMP).
According to the Federal Writers Project's 1937 guide to Massachusetts, Shutesbury's claims to fame include lumbering, basket making, and the grave of Granther Pratt , who supposedly lived from 1686 to 1800.
By the middle of 1936 the Federal Writers Project (FWP) provided employment for close to 6,000 writers.
His prominence in the field subsequently won him appointments in the Federal Writers Project, the Works Progress Administration, and the Library of Congress.
Chandler, a worker in the WPA Federal Writers Project between 1936 and 1938.
Part one, on print culture, includes articles on self-improvement literature, life histories gathered by the Federal Writers Project among poor Southern whites, and William Faulkner, among other topics.
One narrative from the Federal Writers Project describes of how a North Carolina slave woman, the mother of fifteen children, used to carry her youngest with her to the field each day and "when it get hungry, she just slip it around in front and feed it and go right on picking or hoeing...,"symbolizing in one deft motion the equal significance of the productive and reproductive functions to her owner (Jones 198).
His analysis relies on archival material representing the perspectives of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Progressive Farmer, Federal Writers Project reports, and memoirs, as well as other evidence.
Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston From the Federal Writers Project edited by Pamela Bordelon W.

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