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August 11 , 2009

The WPA Guide to Texas

The Lone Star 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 American Guide series consists of individual guides to each of the states. Little-known authors-many of whom would later become 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.
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Equaling the massive size of the state, the WPA Guide to Texas is just as expansive at 716 pages. From the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley, The Lone Star State’s landscape is as varied as its political and cultural past. Having been under the control of six different nations’ flags, the history section is particularly rich. The guide also includes a helpful list of books about the state.

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