WPA Records

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Institution and Organization Records

This article is part of a series.
Almshouse Records
Civilian Conservation Corps
Coroner or Medical Examiner Records
Hospital Records
WPA Records
School Records
Orphanage Records
Orphan Trains
Prisons and Penitentiary Records
Organization Records

This article originally appeared in "Business, Institution, and Organization Records" by Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, and Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

The WPA, or Works Progress Administration, was another of the federal programs designed to help the country survive the depression of the 1930s. While some workers built bridges and paved roads, others worked on the Historical Records Survey, creating a wide variety of records that are beneficial to genealogists. They range from the Soundex cards, which are a staple of all census research to cemetery inscriptions and oral interviews that are still invaluable even though they may be of interest only to researchers of a particular area.

A collection at the University of Louisville in Kentucky documents medical history in that state. Of special value and interest is the material gathered during interviews with medical providers and their families. The term medical provider included physicians, dentists, nurses, folk remedy practitioners, and even quacks, producing files that detail rural and urban medicine and health practices in mid-twentieth century Kentucky. The collection is available on microfilm at the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library at the university.

One example of records is the WPA Employment Case Files, 1935'1942, with an index available at http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/wpa/laplata.html.

See Also