Creating a Hoosier Self-Portrait

Creating a Hoosier Self-Portrait

The Federal Writers' Project in Indiana, 1935-1942
Blakey, George T.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/20/2005
Format: Hardback 10 b&w photos, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-34569-1
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From 1935 to 1942, the Indiana office of the Federal Writers’ Program hired unemployed writers as "field workers" to create a portrait in words of the land, the people, and the culture of the Hoosier state. This book tells the story of the project and its valuable legacy. Beginning work under the guidance of Ross Lockridge, whose son would later burst onto the American literary scene with his novel Raintree County, the group would eventually produce Indiana: A Guide to the Hoosier State, Hoosier Tall Stories, and other publications. Though many projects were never brought to completion, the Program’s work remains a useful and rarely tapped storehouse of information on the history and culture of the state.

Author Bio

George T. Blakey is Professor (emeritus) of American and Indiana History at Indiana University East.


Blakey asserts that 'ambivalence about unemployment and relief work isunderstandable for the FWP (Federal Writers’ Project) employees, but there need be neither silence nor shame about their legacy' (p. 212). This reviewer enthusiastically agrees.

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Table of Contents

1. The National Context
2. The Hoosier Situation
3. The Indiana Guide
4. Other Publications
5. Oral History
6. Almost Finished Projects
7. Incomplete Projects
8. Research Inventories
9. Conclusions and Legacy
Illustrations follow page 000