WPA Guide to Florida
The Sunshine State
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 WPA Guides to America series consists of individual guides to each of the states. Little-known authors—many of whom later became celebrated literary figures—were 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.
The WPA Guide to Florida, published in 1939, exhibits a rural and quiet place, focusing on its Seminole roots and Spanish influence, as well as its lush, diverse landscape. The guide gives an interesting perspective on the Sunshine State before its explosive growth starting in the 1950s.