Date Original



This collection consists of correspondence, reports, interviews (including the Slave interviews of former enslaved individuals), newspaper clippings and publications relating to Arkansas, its records and its people. Also included in this collection are county records from Tennessee.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Works Progress Administration, which became the Work Projects Administration (WPA), was the largest and most ambitious of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies. It began its official work in Arkansas on July 8, 1935, taking over from the Arkansas Emergency Relief Administration (ERA). Also in 1935, the Arkansas Federal Writer's Project was created to focus on the history of Arkansas as part of the American Guide series. Publications such as these would give points of interest from each state. Topics on agriculture, geography and geology, history, Indians, industry, place names, and transportation were covered. Bernie Babcock became the first director of the Arkansas Federal Writer's Project program and she also served as the first director of the Historical Records Survey in Arkansas, until it became a separate program in October 1936. The Work Projects Administration's final report for Arkansas was completed on March 1, 1943. During its operations, it expended more than $116,000,000 on employment programs, paved over 11,000 miles of roads, built over 600 new public schools, and repaired many others. The Tennessee branch of the Work Projects Administration was organized in July 1935. The Historical Records Survey, which gathered the county records, was established in Tennessee in April 1936, under the division of Women's and Professional Projects and directed by Marshall Jones. The programs were scaled down shortly after the United States' entry into World War II and liquidated in 1943. Arkansas’s records were retrieved by Dr. John L. Ferguson from the basement of the State Capitol building with the permission of Kelley Bryant, Secretary of State, Little Rock, Arkansas, around 1963.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Works Progress/Work Projects Administration (WPA) records, MS.000567


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Works Progress/Work Projects Administration (WPA) records, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


United States History