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New Jersey State Archives Searchable Database


New Jersey Writers' Project Photograph Collection, ca. 1935 - 1942

The Federal Writers' Project was established in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Great Depression-era program to create jobs. The Project produced local histories, oral histories, ethnographies, children’s stories and other written works in monograph form and serially. The WPA set up an office for the Project in each state, which reported to the national office in Washington, D.C. In 1939, Congress transferred primary responsibility for the Writers' Project to the state governments. The work was continued in all 48 states as the "WPA Writers' Program" until all WPA projects were terminated in 1943.

This database indexes and displays nearly 4,000 images produced or collected by the Writer’s Project/Program for use as illustrations in their publications. They include original photography depicting New Jersey sites, people and activities in the 1930s-40s as well as copy work. Subjects include historic buildings, local industry (e.g., factory workers in Paterson; shipbuilding in Camden), recreation, famous New Jerseyans, etc. Some localities are more extensively documented than others depending upon the stories and articles published.

The database can be text-searched through description and place name fields in conjunction with subject headings and/or the image number.

Consult the Reference services page and/or the Guide to Reproduction and Research Services, Policies and Fees for information on reproduction of images included in this collection.


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