"Utah Indian Archaeology," report of Elmer R. Smith, Curator, Museum, Snow College, Ephraim, Utah, May 19, 1936
American Guide books combined the work of many writers, whose contributions were reviewed and honed, and sometimes rejected, by state and regional editors. Writers worked on topical assignments in different ways—some interviewed scholarly authorities, such as archaeologist Elmer R. Smith of Utah; others did field work or reported on local sites and folkways.
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
The Federal Writers' Project
Congress created the Federal Writers’ Project in 1935 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency that employed millions of Americans on public-works projects during the Great Depression. Active until 1943, the Federal Writers’ Project enlisted more than 6,000 writers, historians, and other scholars in producing useful publications. Its American Guide series highlighted historical, cultural and geographical features of U.S. states, territories and cities. The Federal Writers’ Project also compiled oral histories that, like the American Guides, remain valuable resources for studying the nation’s past.