During the 1930s in the United States, the Works Progress Administration developed the Federal Writers’ Project to support writers and artists while making a national effort to document the country’s shared history and culture. The American Guide series consists of individual guides to each of the states. Little-known authorsmany of whom would later become celebrated literary figureswere commissioned to write these important books. John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison are among the more than 6,000 writers, editors, historians, and researchers who documented this celebration of local histories. Photographs, drawings, driving tours, detailed descriptions of towns, and rich cultural details exhibit each state’s unique flavor.
WPA Guide to Maine focuses in on the very tip of the Northeastern United States, also known as the Pine Tree State. With a short but comprehensive description of Maine’s history, two of the most enthralling sections of the guide include essays on Maine’s folklore and maritime heritage.