Tuesday, September 08, 2009



I am a real sucker for WPA guide books. They give a glimpse of a time in the not so distant, one in which my parents came of age, when federal programs took people off the dole onto the government payroll. Moreover, some excellent writers helped put the guides together, writers like Algren, Ellison, Cheever, Rexroth, Steinbeck, Meridel Le Seur, Zora Neal Hurston, Weldon Keyes, Louis L'Amour, Richard Wright, Benjamin Appel, Jim Thompson, as well as an assortment of hoboes and eccentrics, including the great composer Harry Partch. If one looked into I bet any number of future crime/noir writers besides Thompson, Appel and Algren could be found amongst them. David Taylor's Soul of a People is an excellent history of that period and I now discover that he has a blog devoted to the WPA's writer's project, which I highly recommend. http://www.facebook.com/facebook-widgets/share.php

3 comments :

pattinase (abbott) said...

I especially love the post office murals. Some still exist. Now we just build roads with the money. What a shame.

Woody Haut said...

I agree. I never tired of looking at the mural at the San Francisco post office (Rincon Annex), where I briefly worked in the late 1960s.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband did a book on FDR and we looked at a lot of them via books/slides. I'd like to see them in person.