First Advisor

James Heath

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Federal Writers' Project (Or.), Federal Writers' Project



Physical Description

1 online resource (109 p.)


First, this study argues that the Oregon Writers' Project cannot be used as a measurement for the effectiveness of government subsidy of the arts. The people who ran the program never claimed to be supporting art but to be supporting unemployed writers. In fact, the administrators tried to discourage any freedom or flexibility which would have provided a climate for the writer to flourish in the artistic sense. With this recognition in mind, one may not validly use the Writers' Project as a tool for accurate measurement of governmental subsidization of art.

This study also takes major exception to a previous work presented on the Federal Writers' Project in the Pacific Northwest. That study argued that a project was unnecessary in the Pacific Northwest due to the area's "literary and intellectual backwardness." In Oregon the program certainly had its problems, but the project was generally successful in meeting the major intent of the program--employing the unemployed in their self-selected profession. This program was not only useful but also humane; furthermore, it managed to preserve important history and the skills of people out of work in a time of severe depression.


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