Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Andrew Morris




fwp, schenectady, material, various, city


This thesis examines the unpublished essays, articles and other material from the Schenectady, New York division of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). The FWP was a federally funded project started in 1935 as part of the Works’ Progress Administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The FWP employed writers of various ability levels all across the nation to work on various projects. One of the FWP’s main goals was to produce a guidebook to every state, as well as various county guidebooks, collectively known as the American Guide Series. Other FWP projects included the collection of folklore, life histories, creative writing, and genealogy. Schenectady was granted a small FWP office with the intent of generating a city guide; however, none of the work done in Schenectady was ever published. This thesis inspects this unpublished material and compares it to guides and other pieces which were published in the 1930s and 1940s and also compares it to what secondary sources indicate was produced by the FWP. Previous historians have stressed the Guides’ emphasis on a diverse sense of “Americanism” and patriotism; in the Schenectady material, however, the tone and feeling stress the perseverance and resilience of a city challenged by the Depression.