Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library

WPA Records - Dallas District Four

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Dallas District Four - Works Progess Administration
Title: WPA Records - Dallas District Four
Dates: 1935-1942
Accession No.: MA91.3
Quantity: 7 Boxes
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Texas/Dallas History & Archives, Dallas Public Library 1515 Young St  Dallas, TX 75201

Historical Background

The stock market crash of 1929 began an unprecedented economic decline in the United States. It precipitated a business depression that closed factories, put millions of people out of work, ruined many banks, and tested the collective will of the country as the "Roaring Twenties" gave way to the "Depressing Thirties."

With several million men and women looking for work, with jobs not to be found, the federal government intervened. Under the leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Congress laid the legislative groundwork for the New Deal, a program aimed at the Three R's: relief, recovery, and reform. In 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) began to put people back to work.

During it's eight-year existence, the WPA provided jobs for nearly nine million people at a cost of $11 billion for blue and white collar workers, both skilled and unskilled.

In the State of Texas, twelve districts ultimately were designated to coordinate and manage the WPA activities. The Fourth District of Texas, referred to as Dallas District Four, comprised fourteen counties, including Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Rains, Rockwall, and Van Zandt.

Development and implementation of the multiple works of the District were effected through programs of this Division of Professional and Service Projects, including:

(1)District-wide projects: Public Records, Adult Education, Library Service, Nursery Schools, School Lunch, Recreation, Housekeeping Aide, Sewing Rooms, and the distribution of Surplus Commodities; and:

(2)Local projects: Population and Mobility Survey, Water Meter Records and Water Rate Study, Municipal Tax Research, Building Manual, Vital Statistics, Technical High School Records, Museum Service, Music, Shoe Repair, Matron Service, Household Worker Training, Occupational Research, and Writing.

For skilled craftsmen and common laborers, as well as many engineers and draftsmen, there was no lack of work for which they were suited. Almost every city was clamoring for roads and sewers, schools and public buildings, parks and playgrounds for which there were no adequate local funds to meet the labor cost. Many construction projects, through WPA's Public Works, were quickly and easily set up.

However, the Public Works did not provide for an almost equally large class of unemployed workers, including clerks, stenographer, bookkeepers, teachers, artists, writers, musicians, handicraftsmen, seamstresses, and housewives. This class head suffered from the depression almost as much as mechanics, laborers, and engineers. It was for them that the Division of Profession and Service Projects was created.

Scope and Contents

This collection is divided into two series: general information topics and photographs pertaining to the work of the Works Progress Administration in Region Four. This region includes Dallas County, as well as 14 other North Texas counties, from the years 1935 through 1942. It includes scrapbooks, monthly narrative reports, and documents concerning sewing, canning, surveys, home hygiene, library, book mending, tax survey, school survey, and clerical aid programs. Documentation of the WPA Day at the Texas Centennial Central Exposition at Dallas is included as well as the WPA Sewing Room Song (sung to the tune of "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You"). Information about key people in the projects in included. Bound monthly narrative reports as well as a book outlining the techniques for conducting the school lunch program. The collection contains approximately 600 photographs that chronicle the training and social service projects that took place and include photographs of nursery school, recreational, school lunch, employment training, and heath service programs. Photographs of the headquarters and staff are also included. The collection and the programs depicted are ethnically diverse as it documents programs for African-Americans and Hispanics.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Works Progress Administration
Dallas (Tx)
WPA Records - Dallas District Four

Administrative Information

Custodial History

This collection was a gift from Mrs. Evelyn Nash McKinney, who worked for the WPA.

Preferred Citation

MA91.3 WPA Records - Dallas District Four, Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library

Processing Information

Processed by Max Largent

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box Folder
1 1 Miscellany 1935-1936

Box Folder
1 2 Miscellany January-June 1937

Box Folder
1 3 Miscellany July-December 1937

Box Folder
1 4 Miscellany January-November 1938

Box Folder
1 5 Miscellany 1940-1942

Box Folder
1 6 Data for monthly report (not bound) January 1936

Box Folder
1 7 Data for monthly report (not bound) February 1936

Box Folder
1 8 Data for monthly report (not bound) December 1936

Box Folder
1 9 Blue Print, Social and Administration Building, Project TEX. 9-1/October 1940 (for Housing Authority - City of Dallas)

Box Folder
2 1 Community Services Programs Monthly Narrative Report Aug. 16 - Sept. 15, 1940

Box Folder
2 2 Community Services Programs Monthly Narrative Report Sept. 16 - Oct. 15, 1940

Box Folder
2 3 Community Services Programs Monthly Narrative Report Jan. 16 - Feb. 15, 1941

Box Folder
2 4 Community Services Programs Monthly Narrative Report May 16 - June 15, 1941

Box Folder
2 5 Community Services Programs Monthly Narrative Report Dec. 16, 1941 - Jan. 15, 1942

Box Folder
2 6 Operation of school lunch programs (Techniques for conduction the school lunch program) October 9, 1940



List of photograph descriptions is available, please contact staff.
Box Folder
3 1 Photographs 1 - 38
2 Photographs 39 - 74
3 Photographs 75 - 108
4 Photographs 109 - 148
5 Photographs 149 - 188
6 Photographs 189 - 223
7 Photographs 224 - 271
8 Photographs 272 - 306
9 Photographs 307 - 343
Box Folder
4 1 Photographs 344 - 377
2 Photographs 378 - 405
3 Photographs 406 - 437
4 Photographs 438 - 465
5 Photographs 466 - 488
6 Photographs 489 - 511
7 Photographs 512 - 537
8 Photographs 538 - 564
9 Photographs 565 - 587
10 Photographs 588 - 612
11 Photographs 613 - 631
Box Folder
5 Original photographs captions and worksheets
Box Folder
6 Negatives.

Box Folder
7 Scrapbook entitled: "Presentation of Professional and Service Projects"