Sunday, March 11, 2007

WPA Guide to the Old Dominion

A search for directions to the birthplace of Matthew Fontaine Maury (father of Betty Herndon Maury, whose diary I am transcribing) led to the discovery of a wonderful internet resource for those exploring the history of Virginia: The WPA Guide to the Old Dominion. It is located at:

The introduction to the internet edition reads:

Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion was originally compiled during the Depression by the workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Virginia. First published in the American Guide Series in 1940, it was sufficiently popular to receive three more printings in 1941, 1946, and 1947. Out of print for nearly half a century, it was finally re-issued by the Library of Virginia in 1992.

The internet edition has been published by the American Studies students at the University of Virginia.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hi Carolyn! I've dropped in to see your blog and been drawn into the WPA survey now for an hour. I got a charge out of the description of Virginia by Douglas Freeman: "When the traveler turns his back on Washington and sees before him the portico of General Lee's mansion, the wheels of the motorcar may turn as rapidly as before, but life itself has a different tempo. It is neither the nervous accelerando of the East nor the common time of the Deep South. Life is more leisured without being essentially indolent. Human relations are somewhat more intimate. Tempered by the reserve of a certain personal dignity, friendliness prevails." Whoa! What decade was THIS written?! The WPA study is now interesting on two counts... opening up the history of this area from the 1600's through the Civil War, and also it's take on life in Virginia in the 1940's. Loved it!