American Guide Series

The American Guide Series was a group of books and pamphlets published in 1937–41 under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), a Depression-era works program in the United States. The American Guide Series books were compiled by the FWP, but printed by individual states, and contained detailed histories of each of the then 48 states of the Union with descriptions of every major city and town. In total, the project employed over 6,000 writers. The format was uniform, comprising essays on the state's history and culture, descriptions of its major cities, automobile tours of important attractions, and a portfolio of photographs.[1]

Many books in the project have been updated by private companies or republished without updating. Although not then a state, a guide for Alaska[2] was published, and also for Puerto Rico (but not for Hawaii).


Titles

States

StateTitleGoogle BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
AlabamaAlabama; a Guide to the Deep South, New York: Hastings House, 1941Google BooksHathiTrust
ArizonaArizona, the Grand Canyon State (4th ed.). New York: Hastings House. 1956.1940 ed. via Google BooksHathiTrust
ArkansasArkansas: a Guide to the State, New York, 1941, OCLC 478887Google BooksHathiTrust
CaliforniaCalifornia: Guide to the Golden State, New York: Hastings House, 1939Internet Archive
ColoradoColorado: a Guide to the Highest State. New York: Hastings House. 1945.1941 ed. via Google BooksInternet Archive
+ 1970 ed. via Internet Archive
ConnecticutConnecticut: a Guide to its Roads, Lore, and People. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1938.Google BooksHathiTrust
DelawareDelaware: A Guide to the First State. NY: Viking Press. 1938.Google BooksHathiTrust
FloridaFlorida: A Guide to the Southernmost State, 1939Google BooksInternet Archive
GeorgiaGeorgia: a Guide to Its Towns and Countryside. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 1940.Google Books Internet Archive
IdahoIdaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers. 1937.Internet Archive
IllinoisIllinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co. 1939.Google BooksInternet Archive
IndianaIndiana: a Guide to the Hoosier State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941.Google BooksHathiTrust
IowaIowa: a Guide to the Hawkeye State, New York: Viking, 1938Google BooksHathiTrust
KansasKansas: A Guide to the Sunflower State, 1939.Google BooksHathiTrust
KentuckyKentucky: a Guide to the Bluegrass State. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. 1939.Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
LouisianaLouisiana: a Guide to the State. NY: Hastings House. 1941.Google BooksHathiTrust
MaineMaine: a Guide 'Down East'. Boston: Houghton Mifllin. 1937.Google BooksHathiTrust
MarylandMaryland: a Guide to the Old Line State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1940.Google BooksHathiTrust
MassachusettsMassachusetts: a Guide to its Places and People, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1937Google BooksHathiTrust
MichiganMichigan: a Guide to the Wolverine State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941.Google Books
MinnesotaA State Guide, 1938Google Books
MississippiMississippi; a Guide to the Magnolia State, New York: Viking, 1949, OCLC 4788871938 ed. via Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
MissouriMissouri: A Guide to the 'Show Me' State, New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
MontanaMontana: a State Guide Book. NY: Viking Press. 1939.HathiTrustInternet Archive
NebraskaNebraska: A Guide to the Cornhusker State, 1939Google BooksHathiTrust
NevadaNevada: a Guide to the Silver State, Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 19571940 ed. via Google BooksHathiTrust
New HampshireNew Hampshire: a Guide to the Granite State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1938.Google BooksHathiTrust
New JerseyNew Jersey: a Guide to its Present and Past. NY: Hastings House. 1946.1939 ed. via Google BooksHathiTrust
New MexicoNew Mexico: a Guide to the Colorful State. NY: Hastings House. 1940.Google BooksHathiTrust
New YorkNew York: a Guide to the Empire State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1940.HathiTrust
North CarolinaNorth Carolina: a Guide to the Old North State. 1939.Google BooksInternet Archive
North DakotaNorth Dakota: a Guide to the Northern Prairie State, State Historical Society of North Dakota, 1938Google Books
OhioThe Ohio Guide, Oxford University Press, 1940Google Books
OklahomaOklahoma: a Guide to the Sooner State, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941Google BooksInternet Archive
OregonOregon: End of the Trail. Portland: Binfords & Mort. 1951.1940 ed. via Google BooksHathiTrust
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania: a Guide to the Keystone State, New York: Oxford University Press, 1940Google Books
Rhode IslandRhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1937. OCLC 691847.Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
South CarolinaSouth Carolina: a Guide to the Palmetto State, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941HathiTrustInternet Archive
South DakotaSouth Dakota Guide. 1938.Google BooksInternet Archive
TennesseeTennessee: a Guide to the State, New York: Viking, 1939Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
TexasTexas: A Guide to the Lone Star State, New York: Hastings House, 1940Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
UtahUtah: A Guide to the State, 1941Google BooksHathiTrust
VermontVermont: a Guide to the Green Mountain State. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Riverside Press. 1937.Internet Archive
VirginiaVirginia: a Guide to the Old Dominion, Oxford University Press, 1941Google BooksInternet Archive
WashingtonWashington: a Guide to the Evergreen State, Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1941HathiTrust
West VirginiaWest Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941.Google Books
Google Books
WisconsinWisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State, 1941Google BooksHathiTrust
WyomingWyoming: a Guide to Its History, Highways and People, 1941Google Books

Cities

StateCityTitleGoogle BooksHathiTrustInternet ArchiveOther
ArkansasNorth Little RockGuide to North Little Rock. 1936. OCLC 11575040.Hathi
CaliforniaLos AngelesLos Angeles: A Guide to the City and Its Environs. 1941.HathiTrustInternet Archive
CaliforniaSan DiegoSan Diego: A California City. 1937.HathiTrust
CaliforniaSan FranciscoSan Francisco: the Bay and its Cities. 1940.1947 ed. via HathiTrustInternet Archive
CaliforniaSanta BarbaraSanta Barbara: A Guide to the Channel City and its Environs. 1941.Internet Archive
DelawareNewcastleNew Castle on the Delaware. 1936.HathiTrust
District of ColumbiaWashingtonWashington, City and Capital. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1937.HathiTrust
FloridaKey WestA Guide to Key West. 1941.HathiTrust
FloridaMiamiPlanning Your Vacation in Florida; Miami and Dade County including Miami Beach and Coral Gables. 1941.Internet Archive
FloridaSt AugustineSeeing St. Augustine. 1937.HathiTrust
GeorgiaAtlantaAtlanta: Capital of the South. 1949.Internet Archive
GeorgiaAugustaAugusta. 1938. OCLC 1411325.HathiTrust
GeorgiaSavannahSavannah. 1937.HathiTrust
IllinoisCairoCairo Guide.HathiTrust
IllinoisGalenaHathiTrust
IllinoisPrincetonHathiTrust
IowaDubuque[3]A Guide to DubuqueHathiTrust
IowaEsthervilleA Guide to Estherville, Iowa. 1939.HathiTrust
IowaMcGregorA Guide to McGregor. 1940.
KentuckyHendersonHenderson: A Guide to Audubon's Home Town in Kentucky. 1941.
KentuckyLexingtonLexington and the Bluegrass Country. 1938.HathiTrust
KentuckyLouisvilleLouisville: A Guide to Falls City. 1940.
LouisianaNew OrleansNew Orleans City Guide. 1938.Google BooksHathiTrustInternet Archive
MainePortlandPortland City Guide. 1940.Internet Archive
NebraskaLincolnLincoln City Guide. 1937.
New JerseyPrincetonPrinceton and its Neighbors.[3]
New YorkAlbanyHathiTrust
New YorkNew York CityThe New York City Guide: A Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the Metropolis; Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Richmond. 1939.HathiTrustInternet Archive
New YorkRochester[3]
North DakotaBismarck[3]
OhioCincinnatiCincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors. 1943.HathiTrust
OklahomaTulsaTulsa: A Guide to the Oil Capital. 1938.
PennsylvaniaErieErie: A Guide to the City and County. 1938.HathiTrustInternet Archive
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia: A Guide to the Nation's Birthplace.Internet Archive
TexasBeaumontBeaumont: A Guide to the City and Its Environs. 1939. OCLC 1386509.
TexasDenison[3]
TexasCorpus ChristiCorpus Christi, a History and Guide. Corpus Christi Caller-Times. 1942. OCLC 2674098.
TexasHoustonHouston, a History and Guide. 1942.University of North Texas
TexasSan AntonioSan Antonio: A History and Guide.HathiTrust
WisconsinPortageHathiTrust

Regions and territories

RegionLocaleTitleGoogle BooksHathiTrustInternet ArchiveOther
NortheastBergen County Panorama. 1941.Internet Archive
NortheastBerkshire HillsThe Berkshire Hills. 1939.HathiTrust
NortheastCape CodCape Cod Pilot: A Loquacious Guide. 1937.
WestDeath ValleyDeath Valley: A Guide. 1939.
WestGhost Towns of Colorado. 1947.
WestGuide to Alaska: Last American Frontier. 1939.Google Books
MidwestGuide to Cedar Rapids and Northwest Iowa. 1937.
NortheastNew EnglandHere's New England! A Guide to Vacationland. 1939.
SouthIntracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Key West. 1937.HathiTrust
MidwestArrowhead CountryMinnesota Arrowhead Country. 1941.
SouthMississippi Gulf Coast: Yesterday and Today, 1699-1939. 1939.HathiTrust
WestMonterey PeninsulaMonterey Peninsula. 1941.HathiTrust
NortheastNew York Panorama. 1938.Internet Archive
SouthOcean HighwayThe Ocean Highway: New Brunswick, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida. 1938.
Midwest; WestOregon Trail, US 30: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. 1939.Google Books
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico: a Guide to the Island of Boriquén. New York: University Society. 1940. OCLC 245805.HathiTrustInternet Archive
Northeast; SouthU.S. Route 1U.S. One: Maine to Florida. 1938.HathiTrust

References

  1. "The American Guide Series" United States Senate. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  2. https://www.amazon.com/WPA-Guide-Alaska-Frontier-Digital-ebook/dp/B00G1SRBNE
  3. Federal Writers' Project (1938). Catalog: American Guide Series. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Further reading

  • Christine Bold (1999), The WPA Guides: Mapping America, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 1578061946
  • DeMasi, Susan Rubenstein. Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force of the New Deal's Federal Writers' Project, McFarland and Co., 2016.
  • Kelly, Andrew. "Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture", University Press of Kentucky, 2015. ISBN 978-0-8131-5567-8
  • Gross, Andrew S. "The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification" Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory. Vol 62 Number 1. p. 85-111.
  • Mangione, Jerre "The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers' Project 1935-1943", Little, Brown, 1972
  • Powell, Lawrence N. "Lyle Saxon and the WPA Guide to New Orleans." Southern Spaces 29 July 2009.
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