Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Works Progress Administration Iowa Records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1935-1943
Creator: Works Progress Administration Iowa (1935-1943)
Extent: 9.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0447
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Project records for public service employment in Jefferson and Van Buren Counties in Iowa.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Mrs. John Scott in 1985.

Preferred Citation: Works Progress Administration Iowa Records, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established by the United States government in 1935 as part of the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act to create jobs for the unemployed. In 1939, its name was changed to the Works Projects Administration. The WPA, under the direction of Harry L. Hopkins, created millions of jobs for those who could work and responsibility for the unemployable (children, elderly, and disabled) was returned to the states. The WPA was mandated to choose projects which would not compete with the private sector while at the same time making genuine contributions. Consequently, many WPA projects concentrated on physical improvements such as building schools and highways, rural electrification, and reforestation. It also gave work to students, artists, musicians, and writers. They produced a series of state travel guides, public murals and sculptures, and brought music and drama to many small communities. Always controversial, the WPA was accused of waste, political manipulation, and even subversion. As the Great Depression drew to a close, so did the Works Projects Administration. The agency was dissolved in 1943.

The records of the Works Projects Administration: Iowa dates from 1935 through 1943, and measures six linear feet. These records are arranged in three series: 1) General files, 2) Jefferson County, Iowa, and 3) Van Buren County, Iowa. The general files contain such items as administrative orders, finance memoranda, and supervisor's guides relating to the overall operations. The Jefferson and Van Buren County records concern specific projects, such as school lunch programs, county road work, and farm data surveys. These are documented with personnel records, time reports, inventories, payrolls, progress reports, and more.

WPA materials relating specifically to the Federal Theatre Project can be found in two additional collections held by the University of Iowa Libraries: the Don Farran Papers and the Edward C. Mabie Papers.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL FILES
Series 2: JEFFERSON COUNTY
Series 3: VAN BUREN COUNTY

  • Series 1: GENERAL FILES
  • Box 1:
  • Administrative letters - 1941-1942
  • Administrative orders - 1939-1941
  • Bulletins - 1936
  • Correspondence - 1938-1943
    John Scott, county timekeeper
  • Daily time reports: All projects, February - 1939
  • Employment letters - 1941-1942
  • Finance letters - 1940-1941
  • Finance memoranda - 1940-1942
  • Identification cards - 1940-1942
  • Memoranda - 1939-1943
  • Mileage reports - 1940-1943
    John Scott
  • Miscellaneous - 1940-1942
  • Operations memoranda - 1936-1941
  • Project descriptions (#4204-5911), undated
  • State procurement office - 1940-1942
  • Supervisor's guides, undated
  • Supervisory payrolls: All projects - 1942
  • Supply fund letters - 1940-1942
  • WPA roster, undated
  • Weekly employment reports: Jefferson and Van Buren Counties - 1940-1943
  • Series 2: JEFFERSON COUNTY
  • Sub-Series: Project #5484. County roads, August-December 1942
  • Box 1:
  • General
  • Sub-Series: Project #5744. County roads, April 3-July 6, 1942
  • Box 1:
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Production reports
  • Property consumption reports
  • Receipts
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5911. Distribution of surplus commodities, April 22-July 20, 1942
  • Box 1:
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6006. School lunches, April 20, 1942-January 26, 1943
  • Box 1:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project # 6049. Rifle range, April 8-July 6, 1942
  • Box 1:
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6114. Library, April 22-October 6, 1942
  • Box 1:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Series 3: VAN BUREN COUNTY
  • Sub-Series: Project #130. Gravel pit, December 1935-March 1936
  • Box 1:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Sub-Series: Project #149. Grading Roads, November 11, 1935-March 10, 1936
  • Box 1:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Inventories and requisitions
  • Payrolls
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #1092. Gravel pit, January 25, 1936-March 27, 1938
  • Box 1:
  • Allotment details
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Daily time reports
  • Injury reports
  • Inventories
  • Lost time explanations
  • Payrolls
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Purchase orders
  • Rental equipment and safety affidavits
  • Time reports
  • Yardage tally sheets
  • Sub-Series: Project #1529. Gravel pit, January 25, 1936-April 28, 1937
  • Box 1:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Injury reports
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Rental equipment and safety affidavits
  • Time reports
  • Truck tallies
  • Sub-Series: Project #2043. County roads, June 25-August 31, 1936
  • Box 2:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Equipment rentals
  • Injury reports
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2107. Grave registration, February 28-April 28, 1938
  • Box 2:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2206. County roads, September 1-November 5, 1936
  • Box 2:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Equipment rental
  • Inventories
  • Payrolls
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Purchases
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2231. Survey maps, May 13-October 12, 1938
  • Box 2:
  • Injury reports
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2287. Educational, February 28-August 12, 1938
  • Box 2:
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2517. County roads, November 10, 1936-July 12, 1937
  • Box 2:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Equipment rentals and safety
  • Injury reports
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Purchases
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2582. Commodity, March 12-November 28, 1938
  • Box 2:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #2877. Library, February 28-July 28, 1938
  • Box 2:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3053. Grading roads, July 13-August 28, 1937
  • Box 2:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Forms for transferring workers
  • Injury reports
  • Miscellaneous
  • Payrolls
  • Time reports
  • Weekly reports of materials
  • Sub-Series: Project #3253. County roads, July 13-December 7, 1937
  • Box 2:
  • Certification of sponsor's contribution
  • Daily time reports
  • Equipment rental and safety affidavits
  • Personnel records
  • Progress and inventory reports
  • Time reports
  • Truck tally sheets
  • Sub-Series: Project #3324. Farmington Park, May 13, 1938-February 28, 1939
  • Box 2:
  • Injury reports
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3353. Sewing, February 28, 1938-February 28, 1939
  • Box 2:
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
    3 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #3366. Old age assistance, July 13-August 28, 1938
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3630. Town hall, April 13-October 27, 1938
  • Box 3:
  • Injury records
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #3706. Housekeeping aid, February 28, 1938-June 12, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3715. Grave registration, April 28, 1938-April 19, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3845. County roads, June 13-September 27, 1938
  • Box 3:
  • Equipment rentals
  • Injury reports
  • Inventories
  • Payrolls
  • Personnel records
  • Progress reports
  • Purchase orders
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3992. Federal writers, August 9, 1938-June 30, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Equipment inventory
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #3993. Historical survey, September 16, 1938-August 31, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4015. Cemetery, July 13, 1938-June 13, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Personnel schedules
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4048. Library, July 28, 1938-April 28, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4062. Educational, August 12, 1938-March 27, 1940
  • Box 3:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4100. County shop, August 13, 1938-July 28, 1939
  • Box 3:
  • Expenditures
  • Injury reports
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4193. Recreational, March 28, 1938-September 12, 1939
  • Box 4:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4249. County roads, March 4-November 10, 1941
  • Box 4:
  • Certification of sponsor's contributions
  • Daily time reports
    4 folders
  • Individual time reports
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Production and distribution report
  • Property consumption reports
  • Purchase orders
  • Receipts
  • Time records
    3 folders
  • Time records, rented equipment
  • Sub-Series: Project #4367. Town hall, October 28, 1938-July 22, 1940
  • Box 4:
  • Injury reports
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Purchase orders
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4408. Commodity, November 28, 1938-March 28, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4419. Cemetery, November 14-December 27, 1938
  • Box 5:
  • Equipment inventories
  • Injury reports
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4633. Library, April 28, 1939-March 17, 1941
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
    2 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4700. Sewing, February 28-April 13, 1939
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4768. Sewing, April 13, 1939-April 28, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
    3 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #4785. Grave registration, April 19, 1939-July 22, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4812. Land tax, September 28, 1939-March 28, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4888. Housekeeping aid, June 13, 1939-August 19, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4945. Federal writers, July 1-September 15, 1939
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #4960. County shop, August 28-December 28, 1939
  • Box 5:
  • Expenditures
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5002. Recreational, September 1, 1939-September 30, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5009. Federal writers, October 2, 1939-January 15, 1941
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5025. Historical records, November 13, 1939-July 22, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5169. Farmington water system, March 13-September 30, 1940
  • Box 5:
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5185. Educational, March 28, 1940-July 8, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5188. Commodity, March 28, 1940-July 8, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5289. Sewing, April 28, 1940-July 8, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
    3 folders
  • Sub-Series: Project #5200. Recreational, October 1, 1940-November 10, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5536. Farmington water system, October 29, 1940-November 10, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Inventories
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5717. Library, March 18, 1941-August 17, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedule
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5782. Farm data survey, May 27-December 22, 1941
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #5911. Commodity, July 28, 1941-July 20, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6013. Recreational, November 11, 1941-June 30, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Schedules
  • Time reports
  • Work authorizations
  • Sub-Series: Project #6021. County roads, November 11, 1941-November 14, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Equipment cost tickets
  • Inventories
  • Mileage reports
  • Miscellaneous
  • Production and distribution reports
  • Property consumption reports
  • Receipts
  • Sub-Series: Project #6033. Birmingham cemetery, December 9, 1941-July 20, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Certifications
  • Personnel records
  • Requisitions
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6040. Farm data survey, December 23, 1941-March 17, 1942
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6100.Scrap drive, October 27, 1942-February 1, 1943
  • Box 6:
  • Correspondence
  • Equipment operating reports
  • Inventories
  • Receipts
  • Sample forms
  • Time reports
  • Sub-Series: Project #6114. Library, August 18, 1942-January 4, 1943
  • Box 6:
  • Personnel records
  • Time reports