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Overview

The lives of most people are rarely considered worthy of recording for historical purposes. Only recently have sociologists, historians, and other scholars recognized the qualitative value of such information for obtaining well-rounded historical perspectives on an era.

Federal Writers' Project preserves on microfiche over 12,000 manuscript pages documenting the personal histories of Southerners, which were collected through this New Deal program begun during the Depression. In these life histories, ordinary Southerners speak for themselves, and what they have to say provides a unique view of the world they experienced and helped create.

These people describe how major events affected them--the Civil War, Emancipation, World War I, and the Depression. They speak of growing up, getting married, having children, and getting old. They talk about family life, sex roles, and religious beliefs. And students of American history, African American studies, womens' studies, the family, sociology, and the South will find the stories of these unknown Southern people of great value for research topics such as:

 

  • interrelating specific historical events to their effects at the grass-roots level
  • a study of government social programs and the perceived accrued benefits to the programs' recipients
  • tracing social changes in the family and its structure, in the status of blacks during Reconstruction, and in the roles of women in Southern society

This unique record of oral histories was filmed from the holdings of the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Institutions supporting or beginning a popular oral history program will also benefit from this model, which documents the lives of the normally voiceless, faceless everyday American.

Our Products

Microfilm

A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Eight-volume English edition reprinted in two volumes; two very scarce volumes of the German edition, which were not translated into English, reprinted in a separately available third volume.

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Microfilm

A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas

Romantic. Affirmative. Rhetorical. The poetry of Dylan Thomas urged readers to ponder life as they never had before. Researchers now have access to a concordance and word list keyed to the 1978 printing of Dylan Thomas: The Poems, edited by Daniel Jones.

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Microfilm

A People at War

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

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Blog

Testimony Ignites a New Interest in History and Political Science

Professor Jessica Marglin is passionate about the testimonies of Sephardic Jews in the Visual History Archive, and that passion has rubbed off onto her students as well.

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An Oasis in a Resource Desert: The Lillian Marrero Library

Renovation of a Free Library of Philadelphia neighborhood branch becomes an opportunity to better serve the unique needs of the community.

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