King County Historical Bibliography, Part 14: WPA

  • Posted 11/23/2004
  • Essay 7156
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This bibliography on the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in King County was prepared as a community history resource by staff of the former King County Office of Cultural Resources, now 4Culture (King County Cultural Development Authority). It was last revised in June 1999.


King County Landmarks and Heritage Program, King County Office of Cultural Resources
506 Second Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98104-2307 (206) 296-7580, 1-800-325-6165 V/TDD


This brief, annotated bibliography provides some basic reference material about the legacy in King County of the Works Progress Administration, a federal public works program established in 1935. Because of the fragmentary nature of WPA records, this paper is a work in process, and will be revised and expanded as additional resources are located.


The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created in 1935 by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and an emergency appropriation of the U.S. Congress to address the severe unemployment problems of the nationwide Great Depression. It was one of the most significant, far reaching, visionary and ultimately controversial of the New Deal "alphabet agency" (so called because they were known by their acronyms) programs created by the Roosevelt Administration. The intent of the WPA was to preserve the self-respect of unemployed workers, conserve their skills, and utilize the vast resources of the country to create wealth and provide public benefits. The WPA was intended to provide real jobs instead of just relief. It paid what were known as "security wages"--higher than relief, but lower than prevailing wages in private business and industry. The emphasis of the WPA was consistently about investment in labor rather than in acquisition of materials.

The WPA consolidated and superseded several earlier programs, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), both of which were established in 1933. In its first six years of existence, the WPA allocated 78% of available funds for projects involved with public works, construction and conservation of natural resources. The remaining 22% was used for a wide range of community services, including: education; recreation and the arts; historical surveys; public health; school lunch programs; vocational training for defense industries; and distribution of surplus commodities.

The evolution of WPA programs was sometimes problematical. Programs were created "on the fly" and were repeatedly reorganized. Confusion and inefficiencies within the WPA led to considerable criticism of the agency, especially among those displaced from positions of power or otherwise disenchanted with the New Deal. Political polarization in the United States in the 1930s was often extreme, reflecting the extraordinary political tensions and sometimes outright warfare around the world. The domestic political arena became a battlefield in its own right.

The year 1939 was to be a crucial one for the WPA. It was then reorganized, renamed the Work Projects Administration and placed in the Federal Works Agency. The WPA absorbed the Public Works Administration, but the National Youth Administration was removed from it, becoming part of the Federal Security Agency. Several of the important programs of the WPA, including Federal Theater and the Federal Writers Project, having been embroiled in bitter controversies, were terminated, Federal Theater outright and the Writers Project by transfer of its functions to local level sponsorship. Harry Hopkins, who had headed the WPA from its inception, was replaced. After 1939, the WPA shifted much of its emphasis--first toward preparation for national defense, and later to the support of U.S. involvement in World War II itself. As defense industries boomed, WPA was no longer a national priority. It was officially abolished in June 1943.

Despite its organizational problems, inefficiencies and the many contemporary criticisms of it, the WPA was more than just an investment in capital improvements and public works. It was also an investment in the human infrastructure, one that has benefited generations of Americans through the arts, the maintenance of skills, the nourishment of community life and the preservation of human dignity. It is estimated that the WPA directly affected over 8 million workers, and indirectly through family and community relationships, many millions more needy citizens. Over half a century after its demise, the WPA legacy continues to enrich our lives in a multitude of ways.


According to primary and secondary sources, some of the specific projects among the many around King County included the following. The list is not complete, but is suggestive of the range of WPA projects.

  • Auburn Post Office, State Game Farm construction
  • King County Airport (Boeing Field) improvements
  • Road construction: Auburn, Seattle, Mercer Island, Vashon Island, etc.
  • Park construction and improvements: King County Parks System Fieldhouses, Dockton
  • Park, Tukwila, Seattle Parks improvements: Camp Long, Washington Park Arboretum
  • landscaping, Lincoln Park, Leschi Boathouse etc
  • Issaquah Fish Hatchery construction
  • Duvall Library construction
  • Renton Fire Station construction
  • Bothell City Hall construction
  • Schools (new construction, improvements and additions): Kirkland, Skykomish, Boulevard Park, Panther Lake, Meridian, Coalfield, Ravensdale, Bellevue, Foster, Highline High School, East Seattle/Mercer Island, Ruth School, Tukwila, Thorndyke, Duvall, Preston, Snoqualmie, Woodinville
  • Canneries: Kirkland/construction and operation, Kent/operation
  • City of Seattle Engineering Survey
  • King County Engineering Land Survey
  • King County Assessors Land Use Survey/Property Record Card Project: Seattle, King County
  • Flood Control: Algona, Enumclaw, Renton
  • Water Systems: Haller Lake, Des Moines
  • Sidewalks: Bryn Mawr, Tukwila,
  • Publications; American Guidebook for Washington, Seattle, assistance with state publications; thematic studies
  • Historical Records Survey: Judicial, Vital Statistics Records: Seattle
  • Community Educational Programs: Seattle and King County
  • Burien Library operation
  • Housework and Childcare Services; King County
  • Nursery Schools: Seattle
  • Sewing Units: Seattle, King County
  • Reader Services (for elderly, blind): Seattle, King County
  • Federal Theater: Seattle and outlying communities
  • Public Art: Marine Hospital (Callahan, Rich, Twohy) and University District Post Office murals (Elshin), Seattle, Renton Library (Elshin), UW Bagley Hall (Inverarity), etc.


The resource listings given below are organized by subject area or WPA Program type. Some primary documents produced by the WPA contain information that relates to a number of program areas and are included in the program summaries section. Where the location of the resource listed below is not obvious from the entry itself, a notation as to location, if known to be in the public domain, is appended following the last sentence of the entry. The key is as follows:

SPL Seattle Public Library

SMA Seattle Municipal Archives

KCA King County Archives

KCLHP King County Landmarks and Heritage Program

OAHP Washington Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

SAKC State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

SPSA Seattle Public Schools Archives

UW University of Washington Libraries

Marilyn Priestley's compilation, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries, has been cited below in several categories because the records collections included in it are important to the understanding of WPA work in several thematic areas.


Bean, Karen, Duvall Library, King County Historic Sites Survey File No. 0840, 1985, Seattle. This building was constructed by the WPA. KCLHP

Boyle Wagoner Architects, The Penthouse Theatre Relocation Study, prepared for the University of Washington, September 1, 1989, Seattle. This document contains a valuable historical study, including a good bibliography, by Candace Jean Kern, a student in the Masters of Art History Program at the University. The Penthouse was not only innovative in design but incorporated an innovative construction technology--that of glue laminated wooden arches designed by Sergius Sergev, an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in the Engineering School's Division of Structure and Mechanics. Boyle Wagoner's Penthouse Slideshow Script is also of value. KCLHP

Bullis, Kay, East Seattle School, King County Historic Sites Survey File No. 0228, 1978, Seattle. WPA constructed an addition to this building. KCLHP

Dorpat, Paul, Building Washington: A History of Public Works in the State of Washington, 1997, Seattle, American Public Works Association, Washington State Chapter. A work in process, contains information on WPA construction projects.

Foster, Malia, Woodinville School, King County Historic Sites Survey Inventory File No. 0184, 1978, Seattle. This building was constructed by the WPA. KCLHP

Garfield, Leonard T., Showboat Theatre, National Register of Historic Places nomination, 1985, Olympia, Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The Showboat Theater was constructed by the WPA. OAHP

Hanna, Barbara, "A Depression Dream Becomes a Reality," Journal American, July 1, 1978 Inside the Eastside Page 32. This article concerns the WPA built and operated cannery at Kirkland.

Hughes, Glenn, The Penthouse Theater: Its History and Technique, 1945, New York, Samuel French. Contains information about WPA construction of the Penthouse and Showboat Theaters on U.W. campus.

Improvement of Green Lake by Dredging, Dyking, Drainage: Additional Water Supply: A Recreational Project. Works Progress Administration, n.d., Seattle, sponsored by the City of Seattle. UW

Lentz, Flo et al., WPA Structures in King County Parks (thematic nomination), King County Landmarks Commission, Seattle, June 1984. The landmark nomination provides information on WPA built fieldhouses that were the nucleus of the Park System in: Bellevue, Burien, White Center, North Bend, Preston, Enumclaw, Des Moines. The construction of the fieldhouses was a unique partnership: King County provided engineering, oversight and materials; the WPA supplied most of the labor; and community groups and individuals donated land and operated programs in the buildings. KCLHP

McDonald, Lucile, "Kirkland Cannery One Post Depression Project", Journal American, February 19, 1979, reprinted (pp. 226-7) in Lucile McDonald's Eastside Notebook: 101 Local History Vignettes, edited by Lorraine McConaghy, 1993, Redmond, Marymoor Museum. The cannery was built and run by the WPA. Several others, including one in Kent, were operated by WPA. King County appropriated funds for the operation of the Kirkland cannery for several years.

McRae, Dr. Dennis and Clo Copass, Skykomish School and Teacherage, Town of Skykomish Landmark Nomination, 1995, Seattle, King County Landmarks and Heritage Commission. The school was built by the WPA. KCLHP

Misener, Roy B. County Assessor, A Chronicle of the Land Use Survey of King County, Washington, A W.P.A. Project, 1941, Renton, Record Chronicle. Gives background on the WPA staffed project which produced an invaluable record series known as the King County Assessors Property Tax Record (or PR) Cards. It contains an estimated 100,000 photographic images of buildings in King County, many no longer extant. Available at the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives. It is an invaluable record of the built environment in King County.

Moir, Patricia, Kirkland Cannery Survives Changing Times, Eastside Journal, May 10, 1997, A1.

Morton, William, engineer, Model Studies of a Proposed Channel Improvement for the Lower Puyallup River, Submitted to the Seattle District and North Pacific Division Engineers of the U.S. Army, A Flood Control Research Project of the WPA Professional Division, 1938, Seattle. Sponsored by the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Washington. UW

Priestley, Marilyn, Compiler, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries. Record Series 1537 on WPA is invaluable. Record Series 1522 relates to the Federal Works Agency, which was created and absorbed WPA in 1939.

Report on Green Lake Algae Control, Works Progress Administration Project 667-4110-5638: The Sanitary Survey, March 1938, Seattle. UW

Report on Street Traffic Survey, Seattle Washington 1936-1937, under the direction of the WPA Projects and Planning Division District #4, Department of Professional and Service Projects, Sponsored by the City of Seattle, For the City of Seattle Engineering Department, Traffic Control Division, 1937, Seattle. SPL

Scovell, H.B. Project Director, Report on Land Use Zoning Survey, City of Seattle, Works Progress Administration Projects Nos. 667, 4110, 5638, 1938, Seattle. SPL/UW

Scovell, H.B., Project Superviser, Report on Sewer Card Correction, Water Pollution, Underground Waters Research, Topography, Green Lake Algae Control, and Other By-Product Studies, Works Progress Administration Sanitary Survey Project Nos. 667, 4110, 5638, 1939, Seattle. UW

Sisler, H.H., Fifth Annual Report of the King County Road Engineer, State Golden Jubilee, Seattle, 1939. Contains numerous references to WPA activities, including projects involving, roads, parks, sidewalks, drainage systems, river channeling and the King County Airport. Annual reports of prior years, although not as detailed in terms of documentation, are also of value in tracing the evolution of WPA programs. The publication of this valuable document elicited criticism of its allegedly excessive production cost.

Spencer, P. D., Examiner, Report of First Examination, Kirkland Processing Plant, King County, Examination File No. 1, September 1 to December 31, 1936, King County State of Washington County Auditor's Office.

Wissel, Jane and William Collins, Renton Fire Station, State Register of Historic Places nomination, Renton, 1978. The building was built by the WPA. OAHP

Fitch, Henry M., WPA Slide Control Drainage Projects, 1935-1941, 1965-7, Seattle, Seattle Engineering Department. SPL


Baerny, Sharon Lee, "Public Art, Public History," Artifact, July-August, 1995, pp. 9-14. Lists post office murals around the region. KCLHP

Cumming, William, Sketchbook: A Memoir of the 30's and the Northwest School, 1984, Seattle, University of Washington Press. Valuable first hand account of a WPA artist. According to author Tom Robbins, "Our artistic coming of age has its beginnings in the WPA art projects in the thirties..."

"Federal Programs Bring Art to the Public", Seattle Times, June 10, 1978, B1.

Goodrick, Gail, W.P.A. Prints: A Catalog, n.d., Bremerton, Kitsap Regional Library. This is a booklet describing several WPA artists. The East Bremerton Friends of the Library also circulated note cards of prints from linoleum blocks by Richard Correll, a Seattle artist.

Hecker, David A., "The Impact of the New Deal on the Arts", Columbia, Magazine of Northwest History, Vol. V No. 1, Spring, 1991, pp. 23-30.

Kingsbury, Martha, Art of the Thirties: The Pacific Northwest, 1972, Seattle, The Henry Gallery and University of Washington Press. Contains valuable information about WPA artists.

Kofoed, Kristian F., "Remembrance of Things Past--Two WPA Artists Rediscovered: A High Society Watercolorist and a Studly Polish Painter," Seattle Weekly, August 20, 1998, pp. 30-1.

Northwest Watercolorist: A Look Back, May 3-June 2, 1991, Seattle, Carolyn Staley Fine Prints. It is a brochure/catalog about the work of Fay Chong, WPA artist.

Priestley, Marilyn, Compiler, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries. The guide lists a number of collections relating to the federal works of art project, especially in its "Archives of Northwest Art Project" records series. Among the papers and oral history transcripts of WPA artists included are: Kenneth Callahan; Fay Chong, William Cumming; Jean (re: husband Jacob) Elshin; and others. Record Series 1881 includes correspondence, financial records, administrative files and press releases from the WPA Federal Art Project from 1938-40.

Scrapbook #193, Art Department Seattle Public Library. This valuable resource contains original correspondence, programs, newspaper and magazine articles, and original documents relating to the WPA and its predecessor CWA art projects. Especially valuable are the rosters of CWA/WPA artists that list their individual artworks and the lists of recreation activities at sites around Seattle and King County. SPL

Tufts, Rae, "Roosevelt's WPA Left More than Just Buildings." Seattle Times, February 2, 1982.


Federal Theater operated out of facilities in Seattle, but also apparently brought a road show to outlying areas. Federal Theater was controversial, and was shut down by the U.S. Congress in 1939. It became a focus of the notorious "un-American activities" investigations by the Washington State Legislature in 1948, with the onset of the Cold War.

Flanagan, Hallie, Arena, 1940, N.Y. Duell, Sloan and Pearce, reprinted 1985, N.Y., Limelight Editions. This is a first-hand, definitive overview of Federal Theater at the national level by the person who masterminded the project and directed it from beginning to end. It contains a brief but informative section on Federal Theater in Washington State, and the production record given at the end of the book shows that many productions were originated in Seattle, Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest.

Hewitt, Gloria, A History of the Washington State Theater, 1931-1941, unpublished masters thesis, 1964, Seattle, University of Washington.

Johnson, Evamarii A., A Production History of the Seattle Federal Theater Project's Negro Repertory Company: 1935-1939, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 1981, Seattle, University of Washington.

Monograph on the Noh Stage of Japan. Works Progress Administration Federal Theater Project, 1937, Seattle, sponsored by the Drama Division University of Washington. UW

Monograph of the Stage, The Passion Play of Valenciennes, WPA Federal Theater Project 813-1, 1936, Seattle, sponsored by the Drama Division, University of Washington. UW

Priestley, Marilyn, Compiler, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries. The guide lists a number of collections of papers of interest to the history of WPA, including the Federal Theater Project. Of value are the papers of: Florence Bean James, Bette Anderson, the Seattle Repertory Playhouse, and the Washington State Theater. See also the Seattle Repertory Playhouse Scrapbook at UW Special Collections, Allen Library.

Rune, Ann, Compiler, Oral History Index, Washington State Oral/Aural History Program 1974-1977, October 1977, Olympia, Department of General Administration, Division of Archives and Records Management. The index includes summary information on interviews with several ethnic/minority groups. The African American interviews contain material about WPA. Those with Sarah Oliver Jackson, Betty Theresa Collins Shelman and Joseph T. Staton contain material on WPA/Federal Theater.

Stevedore. This play, produced in February, 1996 by Valerie Curtis-Newton at the University of Washington Playhouse, was a revival of a play staged in Seattle during the 1936 Dock Strike by the "Negro Unit" of the Federal Theater.

Taylor, Quintard, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 Through the Civil Rights Era, 1994, Seattle, University of Washington Press. See chapter 5, pp. 150-3 for a brief discussion of the Negro Repertory Company of the WPA Federal Theater in Seattle.

Timber. This was a revival/adaptation of a Federal Theater presentation. In September-October of 1990, Seattle Public Theater presented Timber, A Living Newspaper About Deforestation & Reforestation, a work originally written for the Federal Theater Project by Burke Ormsby and Myrtly Mary Moss. It was adapted by Bryan Willis, with music and Lyrics by Edd Key. According to Abel Green and Joe Laurie, Jr.'s Show Biz: From Vaude to Video (N.Y., 1954), "No troupe of the Federal Theater Project aroused the bitter enmity of the Roosevelt-haters as did the Living Newspaper." The authors dismiss the allegations of communist infiltration of federal theater as anti-New Deal propaganda.

Un-American Activities in Washington State, First and Second Reports, 1948, Olympia, Report of the Joint Legislative Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, Albert F. Canwell, Chairman. This astonishing, two-volume set of transcripts include allegations of subversive activities including those associated with Federal Theater at the Seattle Repertory Playhouse of the University of Washington. For an alternative view of the Committee, see Vern Countryman's Un-American Activities in the State of Washington: The Work of the Canwell Committee (Ithaca, 1951).

Williams, Guy, "Seattle's History Making Negro Theater," Federal Theater, 1936, Vol. 2 No.1, PP 7-9.


The Federal Writers Project was terminated as a federal program after 1939; thereafter it had to be sponsored by a "local" or state level agency. Washington State Historical Society finally accepted sponsorship of the project.

Coberly, Jean, Federal Writer's Project in Washington: Western Washington Resources and Opportunities for Research, paper completed for History 481 course, August 19, 1981. This is a detailed and useful study, which looks at source material from the State Historical Society, State Library, State Archives and University of Washington Archives and Manuscripts Division. The Historical Society materials are extensive (17 boxes), while the material at the UW Manuscripts and Archives is said to be somewhat duplicative of them. Material in the Mary Farquharson (former State Senator) Papers at UW also contain WPA/Federal Writers material. WPA and Federal Writers material are also found in the Governor Clarence Martin Papers at State Archives, Olympia. SPL Uncatalogued Northwest Materials, Seattle Room, Box 51.

Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, American Life Histories-- Manuscripts from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940. This on-line document includes a number of interviews with individuals in Washington State. The address is

Priestley, Marilyn, Compiler, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries. Record Series 1523 is an important source of administrative papers for the Federal Writers Project. That there is some overlap between the papers of the UW and State Historical Society at Tacoma has been described above.

Taber, Ronald Warren, The Federal Writers Project in the Pacific Northwest: A Case Study, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, 1969, Pullman, Washington State University. Taber states that the American Guidebook for Washington was the one and only item produced by the Federal Writers Project in the state. It may be the only major publication, if it is understood that the historic records survey was split off administratively from the Federal Writers Project. Taber dismisses the allegations of communist cronyism in the project as "sour grapes" internal politics and anti-New Deal propaganda.

Taber, Ronald W., "Writers on Relief: the Making of the Washington Guide, 1935-1941," Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 61, 1970, pp.185-92.

Washington State Historical Society, sponsor, Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State, American Guide Series, Compiled by the Workers of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Washington, 1941, Portland, Binfords & Mort. Taber says that at one point, the King County Commissioners wanted to sponsor this project. Many of the WPA guidebooks have been through multiple printings and are in print even today. The Washington State guidebook has enjoyed wide popularity and a number of reprints. Extensive records pertaining to the development of the guide are housed at the Washington State Historical Society and the University of Washington Manuscripts and Archives Division.


The Washington Historical Records Survey was initiated in March, 1936 as part of the Federal Writers Project and absorbed the County Records Survey in September, 1937. The WHRS was sponsored by the State College of Washington (later Washington State University). Listed below are only those publications having a direct bearing on King County.

Checklist of Washington Imprints, 1853-1876 No. 44 , Works Projects Administration Project 42-21716, 1942, Pullman, sponsored by the State College of Washington.

Guide to Church Vital Statistics Records in Washington, Preliminary Edition, Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration, Washington Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, February, 1942, Seattle, Sponsored by the State College of Washington. This is a late project of WPA. This publication has a valuable preface on project history by Glen H. Lathrop, State Supervisor of the Survey, as well as useful addenda listing all records survey publications

Guide to Manuscript Depositories in the United States, State of Oregon, State of Washington, 1940, Portland-Seattle, Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration, sponsored by the State College of Washington.

Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Washington, Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration, Washington Historical Records Survey, June 1941, Seattle, sponsored by the State College of Washington.

Heffner, Loretta L., The W.P.A. Historical Records Survey: A Guide to the Unpublished Inventories, Indexes, and Transcripts, 1980, Chicago, Society of American Archivists. . A detailed, state-by-state listing of HRS items in repositories.

Inventory of the County Archives of Washington, No. 17, King County (Seattle), Vol. II Judicial Officers. 1941, Seattle, Washington Historical Records Survey, Work Projects Administration. Sponsored by the State College of Washington. As of February 1942, only 11 county inventories had been published, and four more were in process, despite the fact that published surveys were numbered as high as No. 39. Volume I of the King County number has not been seen and may never have been completed.


Americanization and Naturalization, 6 Nos. in 2 Vols., Works Progress Administration, 1936-1942, Seattle. This is a collection of mimeographed adult education manuals for use by citizenship classes. UW

The Cooperative Roundtable, Special News Bulletin, Nos. 1-2, Works Progress Administration. n.d., Seattle. UW

A Guide in Planning and Conducting Discussion Groups in Parent Education, Works Progress Administration Project Sc-165 #1, n.d., Seattle. UW

A Guide to the Pacific Northwest Regional Newspaper and Periodical Index, Seattle, n.d. University of Washington Libraries. This typescript guide includes a "History of the Index" section describing the establishment of the index as WPA Project 464 in 1936-7. It quotes a WPA report as saying that about 10,000 cards had been typed using indexes of periodicals by NYA workers. UW

Hayner, Norman S. and June V. Strother, Street Index to the Census Tracts of Seattle. 1939, Seattle, Works Progress Administration. Sponsored by the King County Juvenile Court and the Department of Sociology, University of Washington. UW

Introduction to the Course of Study in Consumers Cooperation, parts 1-2. Works Progress Administration Projects Sc-104, 106, n.d. Seattle. UW

Manual for the Department of Education of the Works Progress Administration, n.d. Seattle. UW

Municipal Code of the City of Seattle, 7 Vols., A Works Progress Administration Project, Being a Compilation of the General Ordinances of the City of Seattle to November, 1936, Under Howard A. Hanson, who was employed by the City to Formulate the Plan for the Code and to Superintend Its Compilation, 1936, Seattle. UW

Organizing the Consumer: The Rochdale Plan, Works Progress Administration, n.d., Seattle. UW

Prosch, Thomas W., A Chronological History of Seattle From 1850 to 1897, Prepared in 1900 and 1901. The Prosch manuscript was typed by the WPA. SPL

Recreation, State of Washington, Work Progress Administration Project Sc-166 #1, Division of Education and Recreation, 1936, Seattle. This is a training manual. SPL/UW

Resner, Herbert A., Social Security What and Why: A Survey of Federal and Washington State Legislation, Works Progress Administration Office of Administration, Division of Education and Recreation, 1937, Seattle. UW

Rubin, Sidney, Local Supervisor, Survey of Youth in the Labor Market, Seattle Preliminary Report, Works Progress Administration, Division of Social Research, 1939, Seattle. UW

Spencer, P.D., Examiner, Report of First Examination, Kirkland Processing Plant, King County, Examination File No. 1, September 1 to December 31, 1936. King County, State of Washington, County Auditor's Office. Detailed report of equipment, assets and operation of WPA cannery. King County budgets around 1938-9 also show line item expenditures for the cannery. KCA/KCLHP

The Social Security Program in the State of Washington: A Brief Explanation of the Various Programs Now Operating Under the 1939 Social Security Legislation, Through a Cooperative Plan with 39 Boards of County Commissioners and Federal Agencies, Including the Social Security Board, Children's Bureau, Department of Labor, WPA, etc., revised January 1939, Olympia. SPL

Suggested Material For Inservice or Related Training in the Nursery School, Work Projects Administration, Division of Community Service, 1941, Seattle. This is a training manual. SPL

Work, bulletin, Florence Mayne, ed., Works Progress Administration, Vol. 1 No. 1, February 1936. Seattle. Reports on current WPA activities, including music and drama, woodworking, physical education, etc. UW


The WPA produced a number of translations of historical and scientific documents and books, apparently under the sponsorship of professors at the University of Washington.

Berkh, Vasilii, Chronological History of the Discovery of the Aleutian Islands: Or the Exploits of the Russian Merchants, With Supplemental Historical Data on Fur Trade, translated by Dimitri Krenov. Works Progress Administration Project 5668, 1938, Seattle, J. S. Richards, Sponsor. UW

Blanchet, Francis Xavier, Ten Years on the Pacific Coast, translated by Don Wilkins, Works Progress Administration Project Nos. 4185, 5606, 1937, Seattle. UW

Bolduc, Jean-Baptiste Zacharie., Mission of the Columbia, letters and journals, translated by Tess E. Jennings, Works Progress Administration Projects 4185, 5606, 1937, Seattle. UW

Duflet de Moflas, Eugene, Oregon, translated by Don Wilkins, Works Progress Administration Project 5605, 1937, Seattle. UW

Escarra, Jean, Chinese Law: Conception and Evolution, Legislation and Judicial Institutions, Science and Teaching, n.d., Seattle. Works Progress Administration Project 2799. Translated by Gertrude R. Browne. Sponsored by the University of Washington. UW

Fubini, Guido and Eduard Cech, Projective Differential Geometry, translated by Phillip H. Davis. Works Progress Administration, under the Supervision of Professor A.R. Joubert. 1940, Seattle. UW

Lehman, Jorgen, Contribution on Biological Oxidation Reduction Potential in Systemic Succinate Fumarate Succinaic Dehydrogenase, translated by Edward Midgard. Works Progress Administration, 1941, Seattle. UW

Official Documents Relating to Spanish and Mexican Voyages of navigation, Exploration and Discovery, Made in North America in the 18th century, translated by Mary Elizabeth Daylton, Works Progress Administration, 1939-40, Seattle. UW

Tikhmenev, P.A., The Historical Review of Formation of the Russian-American Company and Its Activity Up to the Present Time, translated by Dimitri Krenov. Works Projects Administration, 2 vols. 1939-40, Seattle. In microform. UW

Titeica, George, Projective Differential Geometry of Nets, translated by Don Wilkins and Bernard Freyd. Works Progress Administration, 1939, Seattle. Under the supervision of Professor J.A. Joubert. UW


Cumulative Index to Opinions of the Attorney General of the State of Washington, 1890-1934, Prepared by W.P.A. Workers for G.W. Hamilton, Attorney General, 1936, Olympia, n.p.

Guide to Items in the WPA Service Division Library Donated to the University of Washington Library, 1943, n.p. SPL Queen Anne/Storage.

A Joint Proposal for the Medical Care of the Resettlement Administration Clients in the State of Washington, Submitted to the Washington State Medical Association by the Resettlement Administration and the Washington State Medical Association Committee on Resettlement Clients, 1934. Tacoma. The data was compiled by the WPA Professional Project for the Tabulation of Medical Statistics WP-5005-5034. The date given may be problematical, since WPA was established in 1935.

Mason, Mrs. Leslie A., Consultant, and Richard Weir, State Supervisor, Our State Washington, WPA Division of Professional and Services Projects, 1939, Seattle. This is a classroom textbook on Washington History.

Melton, Wm. Ray, The Lumber Industry in Washington, June, 1941, Olympia, Belle Reeves, Secretary of State. WPA did folding, gathering, stapling and binding on this project. Melton authored another document with the same title for the National Youth Administration, Industrial Study No. 1, n.d., Tacoma. The NYA was, prior to 1939, part of the WPA.

Nalder, Mae Mark, The Academy Era in the State of Washington, unpublished M.A. Ed. thesis, 1934, Pullman State College of Washington, typescript by WPA. SPL

Organized Camping in the State of Washington, Prepared by the Washington State Planning Council with Cooperation of United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service and Works Progress Administration. 1939, Olympia. UW

Pollard, Lancaster, The State of Washington, n.d., Seattle, Washington State Historical Society, distributed by the War Information Services of the WPA, n.d. This is a booklet on State history by the Society's librarian.

Report of Statewide Testing Program in Washington, School Years 1936-7, 1937-8, 1938-9, 1939-40. Compiled and interpreted by the University of Washington, Sponsor, 1940, Seattle. WPA did tabulations, graphs, tables and typewriting.

Resner, Robert A., Power in the State of Washington: A Survey of Power, Irrigation and Conservation and Their Relationship to the Public Interest, n.d., Seattle, WPA Workers Education, Division of Education and Research. This is an industrial study that documents the massive hydropower projects in eastern Washington. UW

Resner, Robert A., Trees and Men: A Survey of Forests and the Lumber Industry in Washington (SC-108 #1), Works Progress Administration, Division of Education and Recreation. This ornately covered document is an industrial study. SPL/UW

Study of Parks, Parkways and Recreational Areas of Washington, State of Washington. Washington State Planning Council with Cooperation of United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Prepared as a Report on Official Projects 265-6905, 465-93-3-32, 465-93-3-177 and 665-93-3-133. 1939, Olympia. UW

Thompson, Roy M., Water Resources, State of Washington. Miscellaneous Stream Flow Measurements, Works Progress Administration Project 265-6905, compiled under the direction of the Water Resources Division, State of Washington. June, 1938, Olympia. Sponsored by the Washington State Planning Council. UW

Trotter, F.L. et al., eds, Told by the Pioneers, Washington Pioneer Project, 3 Vols., printed by the WPA and sponsored by Dr. Ernest N. Hutchinson, Secretary of State. A publication of the State Library suggests that WPA also did the interviews. Many of the interviews, up to 90% for some counties, were never published. The interviews can be found at the State Library, Washington Room.

Tucker, Wm. P., State Librarian, editor, Washington State Government, n.d., Olympia, Belle Reeves, Secretary of State. WPA did the folding, gathering stapling and binding of this document.

Washington, Its People, Products and Resources, Volume 4, July, 1941, Olympia, Bureau of Statistics and Immigration and Belle Reeves, Secretary of State. WPA assisted in production.

Washington: Its People, Products and Resources, Volume Three, 1938 edition, Olympia, Belle Reeves, Secretary of State. The WPA provided assistance of unspecified nature to this project; the previous edition, Volume Two (1936) was assisted by the FERA.


Most of the material listed below is specific to Washington State. There is a wealth of material available about national WPA activities as well as memoirs by Harry Hopkins and other studies of New Deal programs and administrators. Materials are also available on PWA, CWA and FERA projects. A few general references and bibliographies relating to nationwide WPA activities are included here for further reference and contextual information.

Abel, Don G., State Administrator, Progress Report, Works Progress Administration, 2 Nos., April 20-May 20, May 20-June 20, 1936, Seattle. Contains detailed information about current projects including library projects in schools, school lunches, housekeeping aids, readers, recreation, theater and education. UW

Abel, Don G., State Administrator, Report on Community Progress, January 1937, Seattle, Work Progress Administration.

Abel, Don G, Works Progress Administrator, The Works Program of the Works Progress Administration in the State of Washington, A Narrative Report to the People of Washington State, Seattle, 1937. This contains valuable information about King County. The cover is an ornate graphic depicting the diversity of WPA programs. SPL

Abel, Don G., "Washington State Made New Through W.P.A. Improvements," State Golden Jubilee 1889-1939, Seattle, Work Progress Administration. This a graphic brochure with numerous illustrations of specific projects, a number in King County. SPL Uncataloged Northwest Materials, Box 39, Seattle Room.

Bloxom, Marguerite D., compiler, Pickaxe and Pencil: References for the Study of the WPA, 1982, Washington D.C., Library of Congress, Bibliography Section, General Reading Room. An indispensable guide to contextual studies of all aspects of the WPA, organized by specific programs, including: Arts; Writers Project; Records Survey; Music; and Theater. It contains brief synopses of the various programs, descriptions of major collections, and appendices on doctoral dissertations and biographical data on WPA administrators. At the termination of various WPA programs, some material was sent to the Library of Congress, some to the National Archives and much remained with the state and local agencies which had sponsored projects. SPL

Chaskell, Ruth, The Administration of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Washington, unpublished masters thesis, 1942, Seattle, University of Washington.

Howard, Donald S., The WPA and Federal Relief Policy, 1943, New York, Russell Sage Foundation. SPL

King County Archives Program Record Series Guide, 1992, Seattle, Department of Executive Administration, Records And Elections Division. The guide contains valuable record series, including: County Commissioners Records; Parks Files; Auditor's Reports (one concerns the WPA Kirkland Cannery); WPA Project 110 Records (now at State Archives Regional Branch); Assessor's Property Record Cards and Negatives (also at State Archives Regional Branch); Construction Inspector's Field Memo Books; Bridge Files; Non-road Project Contract Files; Road Engineer's Secondary Road Project Files; and the King County Aerial Survey. The Archives has prepared a brief information paper on WPA and CWA records series. The County Commissioners took an interest in the sponsorship of WPA projects, including the American Guide Book for Washington State. Their resolutions file may be checked for relevant material. Information on their interest in sponsoring the guide is included in the Taber dissertation, listed below. KCA/KCHPP.

Priestley, Marilyn, Compiler, Comprehensive Guide to the Manuscripts Collection and to the Personal Papers in the University Archives, 1980, Seattle, University of Washington Libraries. The guide contains a number of collections of significance to the history of WPA, including the invaluable record series 1537, "U.S. Works Projects Administration." The seventeen page container list for this extensive collection of administrative records gives folder level information on some 31 boxes of material involving public works, federal theater, federal writers, forestry, fisheries, and community projects. The collection includes: folders; letters; bulletins; manuals; notebooks; forms; bulletins; press releases; and other materials. In the same folder as the finding aid is the fifteen page WPA General Letter No. 297 from F. C. Harrington, Commissioner of WPA, on the "Care, Preservation and Eventual Disposition of WPA Records," dated December 11, 1939. It provides some insight as to the rationale for the placement of WPA materials and also describes types of documents, files and records kept. Record series 1529, the U.S. National Youth Administration, may contain some WPA material. NYA was part of WPA from 1935-39. The guide also lists a number of collections of personal papers that contain WPA material.

The Archives and Manuscripts Division also has other finding aids of value, including its Cumulative Name and Subject Indexes. The indexes for Federal Art, Federal Theater and WPA include useful references.

Records of the Work Projects Administration (Record Group 69), National Archives Guide. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. The custodial unit responsible for these records is: Natural Resources Branch (NNFN), National Archives (GSA), Washington, D.C. 10408.

Report of Division of Women's and Professional Projects in Various Counties, 1936, n.p. This document includes detailed information on King County projects. SPL

Seattle Municipal Archives Guide, Office of the Comptroller, Seattle, 1996. The guide, now accessible on the internet, lists a number of records series relating to the WPA, including: 1200-04 City Light Incoming Correspondence; 1801-06 Ordinance Codification Project (WPA # 201); 2601-01 Engineering Department Traffic Engineering Subject Correspondence; 2602-02 Engineering Department Unrecorded Subject Files; 2613-03 Engineering Department 1938 Sanitary Land Use Project (WPA #5638); 2609 Traffic Reports and Surveys; 5701-01 Chief Engineer's Working Files; and 5807-01 WPA Recreation Project Reports (contains extensive and detailed reports on WPA recreation activities, such as music and drama programs throughout the parks system and in some areas of King County). The Don Sherwood Parks History Files 5801-01 (Box 63 contains a WPA Training manual, a list of park improvements by the WPA and other valuable items; other folders include WPA photos.)

Schwantes, Carlos A., "A Visual Record of the Works Progress Administration in Washington: Uncle Sam's Response to the Great Depression," Columbia, Spring, 1997, pp. 14-19.

Sherwood, Don, History of Seattle Parks, contains information on WPA work in Seattle parks. Copies of the Sherwood Manuscript are found at the U.W., Seattle Public Library and the Museum of History and Industry. The Sherwood papers, from which the manuscript was developed, may be found at the Seattle Municipal Archives. They contain original documents, photos, press clippings and ephemera.

A Short Story About Women's Work in Works Progress Administration, State of Washington, Dedicated to American Home Economic Association Convention, July 6th to 9th, 1936, Seattle. SPL Uncataloged Northwest Materials, Box 2, Seattle Room.

Summary of Six Years of Major Work Accomplished by the Work Projects Administration in the State of Washington, Works Progress Administration PR-1440, n.d., Seattle. It contains a wealth of summary statistics for the state and provides some specific information for King County. This is in the form of a lengthy press release quoting George R. Stuntz, State Administrator of WPA. SPL

Revised 6/99

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