Author: Kerry Dexter

an independent writer and photographer who specializes in folklore, history, and music

Virginia Writers Project

The Virginia Writers Project was formed in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration, a federal program designed to combat the Great Depression. With a staff of approximately forty Virginia teachers, writers, librarians, clerks, and other professionals, the VWP interviewed thousands of Virginians from all walks of life about their lives, work, and memories. In addition, VWP interviewers collected and checked information about the geography and history of Virginia, a process that resulted in two important books: the 700-page Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion (1940) and The Negro in Virginia (1940), which included oral histories from Virginians who had lived through slavery and the American Civil War (1861–1865). The VWP shut down in 1943, but its material was archived—much of it at the Library of Virginia—where it continues to be useful to those interested in primary resources about Virginia’s past.