Local History and Such

American Life Histories
Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project


These titles are mostly first-person accounts of life in Georgia collected during the Great Depression. The WPA project categories include: OCCUPATIONAL LIFE HISTORIES and DEPRESSION VICTIMS' STORIES.

Subjects include: OCCUPATIONS, including midwives, bill collectors, educators, watermen, merchants, ministers, insurance companies, florists, hairdressers, laundries, patent medicine, paper mill workers, soldiers and WPA employees; RELIGION, including Catholic, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, marriage ceremonies and gambling; POLITICS, including voting (blacks and women) and military service; DAILY LIFE, including home furnishings, motherhood, working single mothers and education; LOCAL HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, including Civil War reminiscences, former slaves, early aviation, "Gone with the Wind," and the immigrant experience.

Interviews were conducted by project workers A. G. Barie, Leola T. Bradley, Ina B. Hawkes, Sadie B. Hornsby, William Jenkins, Mabel V. Jones, Grace McCune, Homer L. Pike, Ada Radford, Annie A. Rose, M. Russell, Minnie Stonestreet, Daisy Thompson, Geneva Tonsill, and Jacques Upshaw.


An Air-Minded Family

Bargain House

Bea, the Wash Woman

The Boarding House

The Capital City Insurance Company

A Change in Vocation Brings Success

Cindy Wright

Cosmetics and Coal

Cotton and Horseshoes

A Day in a Store

De Troubles I's Seen

The Depression Was a Republican Trick

E.W. Evans

Edward Walcott

Elam Franklin Dempsey

From Around the World to a Georgia Farm

The Family of an Automobile Worker

A Farming Preacher-Prophet

God Helped Us

A Good Investment

Honesty and Fairness to the Bitter End

...Hopes 'At Somebody Will Come Along to Talk to

The House of Flowers

I Ain't No Midwife

I Am Reaping in Tears What I Sowed in Fun

I Been 'Voted to Horses All My Days

I Got a Record

I Is a Baptist

I Manage to Carry On

I Saw the Stars

I Want to Die in Peace

I Wanted to Be a Merchant

I'm Planning to Make a Come-Back

I'se a Fast 'Oman

In Lieu of Something Better

It Wasn't So Easy


Jilson Littlejohn

Life During Confederate Days

Making the Best of It

The Man Who Out-Thought the Other Fellow

Merchandise on the Toboggan

Mildred Lawson

The More Modest Among Us

Mr. Doolittle

Mr. Richards

Mr. Thomas J. Henry

Mr. Trout

Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Janie Bradberry Harris

Mrs. Lelia Bramblett

Mrs. Margaret Davis (Original)

Mrs. Margaret Davis (revised & expanded)

Mrs. Marguerite R. Thomas

Mrs. Sam E. Whelchel

My Ups and Downs

Negro Life on a Farm

New Way Dry Cleaning and Laundry

The Orchid Beauty Shop

The Patent Medicine Vendor

The Poppy Lady

Principal of Grammar School



Reminiscence of a Negro Preacher

Reminiscences and Recollections of Old Savannah

The Successful Farmer

The Sunshine Lady

Unable to Stage a Comeback

The Unwelcome Caller

A Visit to a Flower Shop

A Visit with Aunt Joe

Women and the Changing Times

Text from: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA Federal Writers' Project Collection

"These life histories were written by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form from narrative to dialogue to report to case history. The histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts."

NOTE: The life histories and articles presented here have been read and compared to images of the original pages, and then edited to place them in a more readable form.  Handwritten notes have sometimes been deleted, transcriptions errors have been corrected, and many questionable transcriptions have been clarified. Some misspellings have been left as they were originally typed.

On occasion, at the beginning of an article under the title, I will include a section I've called 'Tom's note:'  These are personal observations that may or may not add value or expand the meaning of the article for you.


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Historical and Community Content

NEW!! DeMotte, Indiana History (1997)

New project: American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
      (This will be an ongoing project with entries added frequently.)

Churches in DeMotte, Indiana

City Methodist - Gary's Sacred Ruin
     Selections from 1967 City Methodist Church Directory (January 2004)
     Historic Gary Church Set for Wrecking Ball (June, 2005)
     Aerial Photos of City Methodist (August, 2005)

Photographs of Historic Places in Jasper County, Indiana
     Jasper County Courthouse  (February, 2002)
     Rensselaer Carnegie Library (February, 2002)
     St. Joseph Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall) (February, 2002)
     Independence Methodist Church (October, 2002)
     Fountain Park Chautauqua (October, 2002)
     Remington Water Tower (February, 2005)

Memorial to Victims of Flight 4184 (February, 2002)

Lake Michigan Vistas (May, 2002)

Door Prairie Auto Museum (LaPorte, Indiana) (September, 2002)

Northwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene former Campground (San Pierre, Lomax Station)
     Aerial Photos of former Campground (August, 2005)

Who's Who In the District (Northern Indiana Church of the Nazarene, 1939-40)

Nazarene Album (Northern Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, 1934)

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