These titles are mostly first-person accounts of life in New York City collected during the Great Depression. The WPA project categories include: PULLMAN PORTERS' AND DINING CAR WORKERS' STORIES; RELIGIOUS CULT OF FATHER DIVINE; YIDDISH SONGS AND SUPERSTITIONS; BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS; UNCLE STEVE ROBINSON STORIES and MEDICINE SHOW TALES.
Subjects include: RELIGION, including cults, revivals, music, preaching, Pentecostals, Jews and Catholics; ETHNICITY AND IMMIGRATION, including dialect, slangs, jargon, rellgion, folklore, prejudices, Russians, Germans, Poles, Irish, Afro-Americans, "old country" stories, food, neighborhoods and gangs; FOLKLORE AND FOLKTALES, including tall tales, ghosts, leprechauns, children's games and rhymes, sea chanties, hucksters' cries, gambling, quilting, and union song; OCCUPATIONS, including peddlers and hucksters, store clerks, musicians and artists, bartenders, restaurant workers, seamen, mariners, cab drivers, newspapermen, telegraph operators, shoeworkers, fishermen, domestics, housekeepers, laundry workers, day workers, employment agencies, union organization, strikes, songs and poems, jargon and hospital; DAILY LIFE, including transportation, entertainment (theatres), hospitals; LOCAL HISTORY, including prohibition, World Wars I and II, Marcus Garvey and baseball.
Places described include Harlem, the Bronx, and Union Square.
Interviews were conducted by project workers Sidney Ascher, Earl Bowman, Frank Byrd, Sylvia Diner, Ralph Ellison, Augustine Fitzpatrick, R. P. Gray, Marion C. Hatch, Bishop Hathaway, Levi Hubert, Saul Levitt, Arnold Manoff, Vivian Morris, Irving Nicholson, John E. O'Donnell, Herman Partnow, Theodore Posten, Partrick Quinlan, Fred Romanofsky, Terry Roth, Sam Schwartz, Herman Spector, May Swenson, Joseph Vogel, Emanuel Verschleiser, Wayne Walden, Clarence Weinstock, Dorothy West, Ruth Widen, Ellis Williams and William Wood.
WPA Life Histories Home Page