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"A series of volumes that ably illustrate our national way of life..."

This morning’s New York Times has an article about the WPA Federal Writers’ Project. It seems the Library of Congress is now presenting their collection of manuscripts from the Folklore Project. The article focuses on the American Guide series, where a guidebook was put together for each state, as well as for Alaska (not then a state, of course), cities, regions and a few hundred other things. “State by State the WPA Writers Projects Describe America to Americans” says a poster for American Guide Week. It turns out that a variety of American writers who are now famous were, you know, dirt poor during the Depression, and got government jobs in the Project. This encouraged them to write, and gave them practice and editing and so on, and then later they became Great American Writers.

To Your Humble Blogger, though, the interesting thing is that we did the Guides in the first place. How cool is that? If they were good, and many of them seem to be, they are a terrific source of information about the country the way it was. Even better, here’s a thing that was good to do, involved hundreds of people across the country and tremendous expense, and we did it. We just did it. Boy, a country that could do something like that could put a man on the moon. Or rebuild Iraq.

Redintegro Iraq,