Research


Writers' Program (New York State) Working Files for the Historical Album of New York State

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series contains completed forms, control sheets, and some correspondence collected for preparation of a Historical Album of New York State. The album was intended to contain data and photographs of every significant historic site in the state and data on important New York natives and residents. The project was a cooperative effort between the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) New York State Writers' Project and the Division of Archives and History.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
6.75 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
1941-1944
Bulk Dates:
bulk 1941-1942
Series Number:
11891

Arrangement

Organized into three subseries: 1. Geographic File ("Suspense File"); 2. Name File; 3. Administrative Files.

Subseries 1: Alphabetical by county, then by type of form (HA-1, HA-2, HA-3, HA-4), then alphabetical by name.

Subseries 2: Alphabetical by name of historic person.

Subseries 3: By general subject (e.g. Procedures, Publicity, Forms, etc.)

11891-78A: Unarranged.

11891-10: Alphabetical by name of historic person.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains completed forms, control sheets, and some correspondence collected for preparation of a Historical Album of New York State. The album was intended to contain data and photographs of every significant historic site in the state and data on important New York natives and residents. The project was a cooperative effort between the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) New York State Writers' Project and the Division of Archives and History. It began on 1 January 1941 and ended, incomplete, on 1 April 1942 when the Writers' Project ceased operating.

Subseries 1, Geographic File: This file contains a form for each historic person or site identified in each upstate county and New York City. Four forms were used: HA-1 for persons; HA-2 for markers, monuments, plaques, sites, and statues; HA-3 for engineering works (e.g. aqueducts, bridges, canals, dams, locks, tunnels, and railroads); and HA-4 for buildings (e.g. churches, forts, homes, public buildings, taverns).

The form for persons (HA-1) gives name, date and place of birth, education (New York State only), occupation and accomplishments, residence, place of death, and place of burial. Blanks are provided for information on the existence and location of the person's residence, school, historical objects, monuments or statues to the person, and remarks. If photographs of these sites or objects were made, they are noted on the form.

The forms for markers, engineering works, and buildings (HA-2, HA-3, HA-4) have blanks for name or classification, location, directions to location, owner, description, historical significance, photographs, and remarks. The amount of information beyond basic identification varies greatly on these forms depending on the extent of field research completed before the project was discontinued. Some forms have attachments with lengthy narratives about the person or site while others merely identify the name and location. Each file also contains a "control sheet" on which is noted the dates each form was sent to the field and returned.

Subseries 2, Name File: This file contains copies of HA-1 forms only for the entire State.

Subseries 3, Administrative Files: These include correspondence of the WPA staff, copies of blank forms, procedural instructions to field workers, narrative weekly reports of the project photographer and WPA supervisors, and project publicity.

11891-78A: This accretion (1941-1942) contains miscellaneous forms (HA-1, HA-2, HA-3, HA-4) from several counties. The forms were sent to the Division of Archives and History in 1942 as the Historical Album project was winding down.

11891-10: This accretion consists of records nearly duplicating those in Subseries 2 of 11891-78. The name file in 11891-10 likewise consists solely of copies of HA-1 forms covering the entire state. The forms in this accretion contain edits that do not appear in the forms in 11891-78, making it likely that these are working copies used to produce final versions contained in 11891-78. Whereas the forms in 11891-78 indicate counties (or New York City) to which copies were to be sent, those in 11891-10 do not have any such notations.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A0245 Photographs of Historic Sites and Structures, contains photographs intended for use in the Historical Album

Series A3272 Biographical History Cards on Prominent New Yorkers, contains related records

Series A0551 State Director's Publications Working Files, contains related records.

Other finding aids

Container list is available at the repository.

Custodial History

11891-78 was accessioned as boxes 21-25 (part) of accession -315, old collection #515. 11891-78A was transferred to the State Library at an unknown date. It was subsequently transferred to the Archives as box 51 and part of box 107 of accession -372, old collection #551.

11891-10: This accretion was transferred to the State Archives by the State Library and originally accessioned as Box 3 of series A0413, Biographical sketches of famous individuals, [ca. 1930-1939]. Upon closer review, the records were found to more closely match series 11891 in content and provenance. Therefore, they were accessioned as an accretion to series 11891 in 2010.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Function(s):

Detailed Description

Contents Box

Accretion: 11891-78
Geographic File ("Suspense File"): Albany County - Monroe County 1
Geographic File ("Suspense File"): Nassau County - Yates County 2
Geographic File ("Suspense File"): New York City; Administrative Files 3
Name File: All Counties and New York City 4