: Dated September 19, 1936, this photograph shows women of the Butler County Emergency School's sewing project sewing at someone's home. Butler County Emergency School was a Works Progress Administration program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The photograph's caption reads "Butler County, Middletown, Ohio, Seventeenth Street. Sewing and different types of Needlecraft. Mrs. Thenie Latham, Teacher."
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was a government office that hired unemployed Americans to work on various government projects from April 8, 1935 to June 30, 1943. In the first six months that the WPA existed, more than 173, 000 Ohioans, including both men and women, found employment through this program. More than 1, 500 unemployed teachers in Ohio found work through the WPA teaching illiterate adults how to read. In twelve separate counties, primarily in southeastern Ohio, more than twenty-five percent of families had at least one member working for the WPA during the late 1930s. By the end of 1938, these various workers had built or improved 12, 300 miles of roads and streets and constructed 636 public buildings, several hundred bridges, hundreds of athletic fields, and five fish hatcheries. WPA employees made improvements to thousands of more buildings, roads, and parks within Ohio. WPA artists also painted a number of murals in Ohio post offices.
This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions. The Ohio Guide Collection consists of 4,769 photographs collected for use in Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio from 1935-1939.
View on Ohio Memory. Image ID
: SA1039AV_B02F04_013_1 Subjects
; African Americans
; Works Progress Administration Places
: Middletown (Ohio)
; Butler County (Ohio)