A NEW DEAL FOR THE ARTS A NEW DEAL FOR THE ARTS A NEW DEAL FOR THE ARTS
Introduction
About this Exhibit
Rediscovering America
Celebrating The People
Work Pays America
Activist Arts
Useful Arts
Celebrating "the People"
Part 2
PART 1 | PART 2

Folklore and Folk Music

The number of workers employed by the Writers' and Music Projects allowed folklorists and students of folk music to undertake large and comprehensive projects. MORE...

Children's Festival for Federal Music Project pupils

Children's festival for pupils of the Federal Music Project classes held in Central Park, New York City.
By an unknown photographer, New York City Federal Music Project, undated

National Archives, Records of the Work Projects Administration
(69-N-18359)

Poster : "Frankie and Johnnie", Federal Ballet Presents

"Federal Ballet Presents"
Illinois Federal Theatre Project

National Archives, Records of the Work Projects Administration
(Federal Theater Project, Vassar Collection of Programs and Promotional Material
Jericho-PA folder, Box 159)

The Federal Dance Project frequently looked to folk music for inspiration. The ballet Frankie and Johnny was inspired by the blues song of the same name and told the story of love, betrayal, and murder. American Pattern described the difficult choices faced by a modern woman dissatisfied with her conventional life. Both programs sought to appeal to audiences unfamiliar with classical ballet.
Title Page: "These Are Our Lives"

These Are Our Lives
North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia Federal Writers' Project, 1939

National Archives, Records of the Work Project Administration

A groundbreaking work of oral history, These Are Our Lives included the stories of black and white tenant farmers, sharecroppers, mill workers, vagrants, and peddlers. But these sketches of southerners were not limited to work histories. Interviewees discussed family life, education, politics, religion, medicine, and leisure time as well.
Sheet Music for "Walkin Boss"

"Walkin' Boss"
As sung by Tricky Salmon, Johnny Smith, and Alexander Williams
Recorded by Herbert Halpert, Joint Committee on Folk Art, WPA, ca. 1940
Transcribed by Frank Harmon, Joint Committee on Folk Art, WPA, ca. 1940

National Archives, Records of the Work Projects Administration You can also see JPEG images of additional pages of the transcription: Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3.

Recording a Fiddler by Robert Hemmig

Robert Sonkin and Charles Todd recording a fiddler at a Farm Security Camp in California
By Robert Hemmig, 1940-41

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

National Archives and Records Administration

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