Federal Writer's Project

The Federal Writer's Project of North Carolina was started in October 1935 by the WPA to provide work for unemployed writers, journalists, editors, draftsmen and researchers. A major accomplishment of the Federal Writer's Project of North Carolina was the publication of North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, part of the American Guide series. To prepare the Guide, an average staff of 100 worked for three years. Libraries were scoured, old newspapers and other periodicals perused, family records examined, and personal visits were paid to almost every section of the state. About one-sixth of the text is devoted to introductory essays concerning the state at large. Thirteen cities and towns were selected for individual treatment because of their historical, educational, commercial, or other importance. The bulk of the guide is given over to motor tours, following the federal highways and the principal state highways. The work includes a North Carolina chronology, a bibliography and an index so that it also serves as a reference work.

Historical Records Survey

One objective of the WPA was to establish a series of nation-wide white-collar projects to provide employment for workers with professional and clerical skills. In November 1935, plans were approved to undertake a national Historical Records Survey as part of the Federal Writer's Project. In North Carolina, the primary objective of the survey was to list all records of the state's one hundred counties and to catalog the principle manuscript collections as well as listing the archives of state government. After a county's workers completed that county's records survey, the remaining resources were used to begin a survey of church records and tombstone inscriptions. Workers surveyed more than 500 North Carolina churches and collected data from nearly 100,000 tombstones.

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