The Work Projects Administration in the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to Archival Records in the Pacific Northwest

 Compiled by Valoise Armstrong
November, 2003

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Introduction

These listings consist of archival records related to the administration and implementation of projects funded by the Work Projects Administration (WPA) or its predecessor agencies, the Civil Works Administration (CWA), Federal Relief Administration and the Works Progress Administration.  The WPA provided oversight and administration for projects that were individually sponsored by Federal, state and local agencies.  The listings in this guide identify project and administration records generated by the sponsoring agencies.  Secondary sources and publications generated by projects are generally not included.  Individual files or letters within larger series of subject files or correspondence are also not included.

The Federal records for the WPA are held, for the most part, by the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, in Records of Work Projects Administration (Record Group 69).  Records for many sponsoring agencies remain within the region and scattered in repositories throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  This guide is an attempt to identify these repositories and to detail the records they hold.  The records of NARA’s Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle, WA) are listed first, because they contain records for all three states.   These are followed by the repositories in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, beginning with state and local government and followed by academic institutions.

Acknowledgements

Work Projects Administration (WPA) projects varied widely in scope and were often carried out in cooperation with state and community resources.  WPA workers constructed public buildings, roads, parks, and bridges.  Skilled artists, writers, and others participated in the Federal Arts Project, the Federal Music Project, the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Writers’ Project and the Historical Records Survey.  Such a wide array of projects in the New Deal era has created a broad range of researcher interest in the twenty-first century.

Researchers frequently contact me here at NARA’s Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle) in search of records of projects of the Work Projects Administration (WPA) or its predecessor agencies, the Civil Works Administration, Federal Relief Administration and the Works Progress Administration.  This is understandable, since the WPA was a Federal agency.  Unfortunately all of the NARA’s  records for the activities of this agency in our region are at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  In an effort to better serve the needs of researchers in the region I decided to try and compile a list of project records remaining with the sponsoring agencies in the area

This inventory would not have been possible without the help of fellow archivists who shared with me the lists of relevant records in their holdings.  I would like to thank Terry Abraham, Terry Badger, Diana Banning, Anne Frantilla, Sharon Howe, Deb Kennedy, Linda Long, Linda Morton-Keithly, Rebecca Pixler, and Joy Werlink for their response to my call for information.

 

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