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Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948

Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948

Federal Art Project (U.S.)


Collection Information

Size: 70 microfilm reels.

Summary: Records cover a broad range of topics relating to the FAP. The bulk are from the Central Files, "States" (50 reels, DC62-111) and "General Subject" (7 reels, DC44-50) series, 1935-1944. Also microfilmed are records series Federal Art Project, Federal Project #1, WPA (11 reels, DC51-61; reel DC53 is exclusively related to the Index of American Design) and Chicago Field Finance office records relating to allocations of works of art (2 reels, DC129-DC130). Each group has been cataloged separately. Search by title: Central Files, Federal Project 1, Chicago Field Finance office.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Federal Art Project (FAP) fell under the jurisdiction of Federal Project No. 1 of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to aid unemployed artists, following the precedent set by the Public Works of Art Project and other Treasury department art relief projects. Holger Cahill was appointed director of the FAP and remained in that position throughout its existence. The WPA was established in May 1935 specifically as a work relief program for the millions of individuals left unemployed during the Depression. Its name changed to the Work Projects Administration in 1939 when it fell under the administrative hand of the newly created Federal Works Agency.


Series and files microfilmed by AAA were selected from the National Archives record group 69, records of the Work Projects Administration. Additional records of the WPA are preserved at the National Archives. FAP series and files not microfilmed by AAA include: additional records of the Federal Art Project (FAP), National Archives boxes, 27-58 and records of the FAP in Ohio, ca. 1937-1940; Division of Information, "Primary File" of the FAP and National Art Week; and photographic prints and negatives in the Still Picture Division, National Archives Building.

Location of Originals

  • Originals in the National Archives, Washington, D.C.; record group 69.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels DC44-DC111 & DC129-DC130 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Patrons must use microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

Federal Art Project of the Work Projects Administration records, 1935-1948. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.